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No joke: jokbal is great

There is a special pork dish with a different flavor than what you'd get at a barbecue joint: pig's feet, known in these parts as jokbal.

Jokbal is one kind of meat you won't find at a regular barbecue restaurant, which makes it a unique delicacy.

Jokbal is boiled in a marinade made with soy sauce, garlic, ginger and herbal ingredients. The color and soft texture of the dish is reminiscent of duck, and the taste is fantastic. There are plenty of ways to enjoy it, whether wrapped in vegetables or with saeu-jeot (salted tiny shrimps). Of course, jokbal is delicious enough on its own with no aid needed whatsoever. The meat is also high in nutritional value, with protein, dietary fiber and vitamins B1 and B2. 

Jokbal has long been a food associated with good times. Koreans often pack it for outdoor activities and picnics, and it is frequently enjoyed with soju and good friends. Here are a few places where you can try this great spring treat.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy it, whether wrapped in vegetables or with saeu-jeot (salted tiny shrimps).

Wonjo Hanyang Jokbal (원조한양족발)

Wonjo Hanyang Jokbal is one of the oldest restaurants in a special street in Bupyeong-dong (neighborhood) that specializes in jokbal. The street is also the birthplace of naengchae jokbal, which is made with a mustard sauce and, since its inception, has become a very popular kind of jokbal in the country. 

The restaurant cooks its jokbal in a special broth that is made with herbal ingredients like cinnamon, licorice, jujube, pepper, garlic and green onions, among others. After cooking the jokbal at a high 150 degrees, it comes together for a delicious taste and light, chewy texture.

Diners can choose between basic and naengchae jokbal. Those who wish to taste the classic example of jokbal can order the basic version. For something with more of a kick, the naengchae jokbal is the way to go. Prices at Wonjo Hanyang Jokbal range from 30,000 won for a small order, 35,000 won for medium and 40,000 won for the largest size. 

How to get there: Jagalchi Station (metro line 1), exit 5. Walk two blocks through BIFF street until you find Wonjo Hanyang Jokbal.

Hours: 10 1 a.m. 

Address: 13, Junggu-ro 23beon-gil, Jung-gu

Naengchae jokbal with mustard sauce and salad.

Pyeongan-do Jokbal (평안도족발)

Pyeongan-do Jokbal is a 40-year-old jokbal restaurant in Haeundae and is a popular spot for beach to-go orders. A side of salad made with fresh radishes is a great accompaniment and enough to keep any customer staying for more meat. Prices are 30,000 won for a small order, 35,000 won for a medium one and 40,000 won for a large.

How to get there: Haeundae Station (metro line 2), exit 1. Go straight to Haeundae Beach. The restaurant is located across from Golden Tulip Haeundae Hotel & Suites. 

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight 

Address: 14, Dalmaji-gil, Haeundae-gu

Buljok is the hot and spicy variant of traditional jokbal.

Bulnanbuljok (불난불족)

Bulnanbuljok grills its jokbal on oak firewood, which results in an incredible texture. Diners can choose from different styles, including basic jokbal, in the naengchae fashion, served spicy and with cheese. Prices go from 27,000 won to 37,000 won for regular jokbal. The price of spicy and cheese jokbal is between 25,000 won and 35,000 won. 

How to get there: Dongnae Station (metro line 1) exit 4. Go straight for five minutes. Turn right at Coffee Daily and turn left at Manjuk Juksujip. 

Hours: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Address: 42-11, Myeongnyun-ro 139beon-gil, Dongnae-gu