Jang Choong Dong’s Jokbal Lunch Special Will Make You a Pig’s Feet Convert


Los Angeles Times’ The Find column has been on fire lately!  Two weeks ago it was falafel in West L.A., before that it was Cocina del Camaguey in Culver City, and Flavors of Belize on La Brea looks amazing.  But the one place that stood out to me the most in the past few months was their discovery of Jang Choong Dong Wong, a jokbal place in Koreatown.  Braised pig’s feet isn’t exactly on everybody’s must try list, but if you like pork you have to admit that looking at the L.A. Times photo must have stirred up something in your belly.  Having already fell in love with bo ssam (aka pork belly) courtesy of Kobawoo, jokbal seemed like the next logical step… so I was pretty excited to read in the Times’ article that even though the dinner order is over $20, they offer a $10 lunch special version.

How could I not?

Despite the ridiculous number of random out of the way restaurants in this city (especially in places like Koreatown), finding a truly hidden gem is practically impossible.  Between Yelp, Chowhound, blogs and pros like Jonathan Gold, there is some sort of public record about practically every restaurant worth eating at in L.A.  Which makes Jang Choong Dong Wong that much more amazing.  I’m not sure if you can tell from the photo above, but this place is about as hidden as it gets.  Even with the address, I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes wondering if I was in the right place.  It wasn’t until I got out of my car that I even noticed the small restaurant tucked into the corner of the strip mall at 425 Western.


If you are not Korean and enjoy being in restaurants where you are the only non-Korean person you will love this place.  Thankfully the menu is translated into English, and you should have no problem ordering what you want.  As promised the lunch menu features a number of items for $10 and less, including the $9.99 jokbal (which is the very first item listed.)


The L.A. Times described the portion as “dainty” compared to the $25 dinner version, but that is definitely a plate half empty way of looking at it.  If the lunch portion is “dainty”, I shudder to think what a monstrosity the dinner portion must be.   If you like pork, but don’t think you like pig’s feet- forget everything you have ever thought you knew about trotters, close your eyes and take bite.


There are no bones, or cartilage in these slices of porky goodness.  Just delicious meat, held together by collagen, like a perfect pork terrine.  Because it’s braised, the skin doesn’t get crunchy, but it’s not chewy and gross either (like poorly boiled pork skin can get.)  It’s cooked to the point of perfect tenderness, making each slice of jokbal a singularly great bite of food.  Dipped in sauce and wrapped in lettuce (with a kimchi topping perhaps?) it’s delicious and fun.


But meat isn’t all you get for your $10.  You also get a better than average of bean paste soup (doenjang jjigae), rice, and a nice selection of banchan…


… which includes 3 kinds of kimchi, a bean sprout dish, and two standouts: a delicious fried tofu and sliced zucchini in a sesame oil vinaigrette.  For $10 the whole thing is a complete steal.


Still not convinced that pig’s feet is for you?  They also do a $10 bossam (Korean pork belly) lunch special, which comes with a raw oyster topped kimchi.  The portion is twice as large as what you get at Kobawoo (the reigning bossam champ), and the slices are thicker, but it’s also way chewier.  And, when eaten side by side with the jokbal- which is clearly Jang Choong Dong Wong’s specialty- there is no competition.  It’s a fine lunch, and more than worth the $10, especially when you consider the portion and the oysters- which are left off of Kobawoo’s lunch special. But if I want pork belly I’ll probably just go to Kobawoo, and leave this place for when I want pig’s feet.


The one other dish worth ordering at Jang Choong Dong Wong Jokbal is their soondae, or Korean blood sausage.   Sadly, though, even on the lunch menu soondae is over $10, unless you order it as part of this $8 soup (#3 on the lunch menu.)  I’ve always believed that soondae is one of the most mild, easy to eat forms of blood sausage (a gateway blood sausage if you will) but Jang Choong Dong’s version is pretty funky.  And since the milky white broth is pretty mild, you’re left with no flavor buffer to temper the sausage.  Recommended only for hard core fans.

Jokbal on the other hand is something I’d recommend everyone try at least once.  Well, not everyone.  But everyone who loves pork.  Seriously.  If you like pork belly, or pork terrine, and enjoy a good bossam, jokbal is the natural next step.  And Jang Choong Dong Wong does it in a way that anybody could love.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Oooh… I love jokbal and this is the best version in K-Town
  • $10 for all that food is a steal
  • The banchan and soybean stew you get for free is way better than average
  • I really love bossam, and didn’t think I liked pig’s feet… but this is really good
  • Did I mention the portions are huge?

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Sorry, but I’m not eating pig’s feet
  • The meat is actually kind of bland, and I don’t love the Korean accompaniments.  Pass.
  • The quality of the cooking (especially the pork belly) is better at Kobawoo

Jang Choong Dong Wong Jokbal, 425 S Western Avenue (btw. 4+5th), 213-386-3535


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