It’s currently 1:41 am in Paris, and I’m lying in bed wide awake because of falling asleep too early around 8 pm and the good old jetlag. I have the TV turned on to a channel playing a French movie that I barely understand with my beginner’s level of French. I really wished I went into French immersion during my highschool years, but that’s another story. So, what better to do on a sleepless night abroad than to pick up finishing my trail of restaurants in Korea that I had put off for 2.5 months now. (Lazy bum!)
“Ohyang” means five spices and “jokbal” means pig trotters. I am guessing “manjok” is a name? The five spices help to reduce the intense odour of the pig trotters while giving it a distinctive aroma and flavour.
We picked the 48,000 Kwon set on the top right. I circled the two parts on the menu to show that they are actually the same dish – jaengbanguksu or cold buckwheat noodle. When I first looked at the menu, I thought the smaller one on the left was just a salad or a side dish. But in fact, they are the same , except the 10,000 Kwon extra means you get a super huge plate of buckwheat noodles. So, my suggestion is, unless you have a party of 4 or more, I wouldn’t get the bigger size.
Based on Google translate, B ordered the circled supposedly “egg custard”, which he later discovered to be something totally different.
In hindsight of reviewing my photos, they actually had a page on the menu that taught you how to eat the jokbal. However, at the time, I was too overwhelmed with all the delicious pictures on the menu that I did not realize this. Instead, I frantically googled “how to eat jokbal” or “how to eat manjok ohyang jokbal”. To my surprise, I found this review of the restaurant, which gave me a detailed breakdown of how to eat jokbal. I was very thankful, as this saved me from looking like a creep who kept staring at our neighbouring customers to observe how the locals ate their trotters.
They start you off with a complimentary tteok mandu soup, which is chewy rice cake and dumpling soup. Although there was only 1 dumpling in the soup, it was still very delicious! It kind of reminded me of the general Asian egg drop soup, but it was much more savoury and the broth helped to rinse out your palate later on if you find the trotters too greasy. They do serve it on a burner, so you have to be mindful of it not drying out. The server also pours out some house made sauce in a bowl for you. This sauce is sweet, tart and garlicky. See that big mountain of shredded cabbage on the top right? You’re supposed to add some cabbage into your sauce bowl, and eat the sliced trotters with them both.
The ohyang jokbal were nicely sliced for ease of consumption. They were tender and braised to perfection. Salty but with a hint of sweetness and that unique five spice taste. Their layer of skin and fat underneath can make them appear oily, but surprisingly they were not greasy at all. I do have to add, that is only with the first few bites. If you kept on eating just the trotters, it can still feel a bit overwhelmingly thick. I really did appreciate how you eat the trotters slices with the refreshing shreds of raw cabbage and dipped in the tart sauce.
This was the jaengbanguksu or cold buckwheat noodles covered in spicy sweet sauce and served with arrays of different shredded vegetables. The plate was bigger than our plate of trotters, which was already a sizeable amount. They will give you a single plastic glove to mix the noodles yourself. You can ask them for scissors as well for more thorough mixing.
Ta-da! I know, not the most presentable. I liked the noodles, but there was so much left over, if only I ordered the smaller one.
B ordered this originally thinking it was a dessert like egg tart filling because Google translate interpreted it to be “egg custard”. In reality, it was just steamed eggs in a stone pot. Nothing out of the ordinary for the taste. I wouldn’t order it again.
B had found this place from Michelin’s guide of restaurants with the best value in Korea. I found their serving size on the bigger end. We weren’t even close to finish. Mind you, I did unnecessarily order a larger sized buckwheat noodle. The restaurant was very busy and packed with locals as well, so that definitely tells you something about their food. I would totally come back again to try their spicy trotters.
Manjok Ohyang Jokbal
134-7 Seosomun-ro (near City Hall), Jung-gu, Seoul
Jokbal set with big plate of buckwheat noodles – 48,000 Kwon
Steamed egg – 4,000 Kwon