Dear Mom,

I made gamjatang for the first time! I feel like the last time we had a family dinner, you made it for us and it inspired me to give it a try at home. I feel like I learned a lot making this dish. First, we have never bought pork neck bones before. And then, I never soaked, washed, or parboiled bones before!

Gamjatang (spicy pork bone soup)
Recipe adapted from Koreatown
(Makes about 4 servings)

2 pounds pork neck bones
1 onion, halved
5 garlic cloves
1 ginger
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon gochugaru
1 tablespoon doenjang
1 tablespoon gochujang
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon mirin
1 cup kimchi
Rice, steamed

  1. Place the bones in a large pot and soak in cold water for an hour. You can refresh the water by pouring it out and adding new ones every 15 or 30 minutes.
  2. Next, drain the water and pour in enough to cover the bones. Boil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  3. Now it’s time to add in the aromatics! In a clean large pot (I use a Dutch oven), add the bones, onions, whole peppercorn, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Add about 7 cups of water and then bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer on low with the lid covered.
  4. In another pot, boil the potatoes until softened, about 90-95% done. Drain the water and wait for the bone broth to finish simmering.
  5. When the bone broth is done, remove the bones and aromatics with a tong or chopsticks. This will prevent splashing when you pour the broth through a strainer or sieve to remove any other small items your tongs couldn’t get. Keep the bones and the broth, discard the aromatics.
  6. Add the bones back into the broth in a pot and also include the potatoes. Boil over medium heat until the potatoes are 100% done.
  7. Time to add the seasoning! Mix in gochugaru, doenjang, gochujang, soy sauce, minced garlic, and mirin. I also add kimchi at this point. Let everything dissolve and simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Ladle the bones, broth, a few potatoes, and kimchi into a bowl. Serve with a separate bowl of steamed rice.

I love ginger, don’t hesitate to put the biggest piece you can find!

Look at how golden that broth is!

So comforting! Perfect bowl for cold winter nights. I’ve also been craving Korean food lately – you would think it’s because of all the k-dramas I watch – but it’s actually from seeing the wholesome goodness of Sophia Chang’s videos on YouTube with her family.

You’ll be able to find many different seasoning variations for this dish. But up to the broth and potatoes, it should be about the same. So try experimenting to see which combination of seasoning is your favourite!


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