15 Aug2011

There are a lot of Koreans who live and/or visit Cebu. Several have come into Zubuchon and stared clueless at our pictureless menus. Waiters and customers struggle to communicate, but in the end, food makes it to the table… I do feel for them, having recently ventured into a hole in the wall noodle place in Hong Kong where I had to resort to pointing at dishes on other tables to place an order for dinner. So I was recently having lunch with a Korean friend, the wife of a college roommate, when I had a momentary lightbulb over my head and thought I should try experimenting with a lechon kimchi jigae

As college students, we had rather modest food budgets, some $50-60 a week if I recall correctly. And we ate a lot of chicken wings, spaghetti, cheap vegetables, and other low-priced food items. My Korean roommate always had good kimchi in stock (made by his sister) and when funds were running low, he used to make this easy soup/stew (kimchi jigae) that nourished us for very little cost. In Korea, I understand this is sometimes made with spam, or hotdogs, a sort of off-U.S. base dish. Otherwise, it is made with pork, often pork belly. There are dozens and dozens of ways to do this, but I read a few recipes and tried my hand at a kimchi jigae for the first time to reasonable results!

I sauteed some onion, garlic and defrosted lechon. Took that out of the pot. Took half of a bottle of kimchi (purchased) and added a few drops of sesame oil (friend’s suggestion) and sauteed this in the pot until quite fragrant. I added back the meat and onions and garlic, a little sliver of ginger and some water. I also added in the other half of the kimchi in the bottle, along with all the juices. I had no korean chili paste on hand (probably essential) but added some dried chili flakes for more heat. Oddly, bottled kimchi isn’t actually that incendiary, so the soup is rather mild at this point. Add some mirin and a bit of soy sauce. Let this simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pork is soft and the kimchi has rehydrated a bit. Season with salt to taste. It should have a slow burn on the spiciness quotient. I also added in some chopped green onions or small leeks, some firm tofu and it was good to go… Probably just a 7/10 at this point. I think I could easily get this up to a 8/10 if I added korean chili paste, some miso to thicken the broth and maybe some lechon broth instead of water… The soup was spicy and sour, meaty and flavorful. The veggies and bean curd added texture and flavor as well. You will need lots of rice on the side. Not sure I am going to go any further with this dish, but it’s interesting how pork plays such a pivotal role in many global dishes, and substituting lechon does seem to work nicely every once in a while. :)



  1. PJ says:

    I am not a fan of Korean food, but any dish that has lechon in it instantly gets my attention. How about lechon meat and liver sauce for a siopao filling? Is that possible? More power MM!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 7:10 am


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  3. Betchay says:

    Looks yummy but I think it would emphasized the “lechon” if you just added chopped fried, crispy lechon on top instead of cooking it with the soup. :)

    Aug 15, 2011 | 7:42 am

  4. Jeff says:

    must try! but i love kimchi the way it is….as a side dish specially with chicken or pork barbecues…namnam! :)

    Aug 15, 2011 | 8:02 am

  5. Maki says:

    never tried kimchi.. but this one seems like reasonable to try… it has LECHON!!! my fav.. hahahah good morning.. :D

    Aug 15, 2011 | 8:40 am

  6. tenbreedmountaindog says:

    SUS juice mio!
    Marketman should do a fund-raising raffle.
    The winner he will visit, raid the fridge and cook up a meal.

    Aug 15, 2011 | 8:41 am

  7. natie says:

    haayy–now i’ll go to the fridge, get a small bowl of kimchee and have that with my left over pork sinigang–ka gutom ang post ni MM

    Aug 15, 2011 | 9:06 am

  8. Mary Kim says:

    MM, kimchi stew is also great with canned tuna.
    Pork belly is fatty so they also use shanks and other meaty parts with less fat.

    The best stew is often from a kimchi more than a year old.
    I’m craving for lechon paksiw whenever i eat kimchi stew here~.

    Aug 15, 2011 | 9:10 am

  9. millet says:

    crispy lechon flakes would be yummy on bibimbap and in kimbap (korean maki)!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 11:58 am

  10. Ryan says:

    This is a very timely post! I’m actually making kimchi now!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 2:59 pm

  11. Footloose says:

    An assembly of three of my favorite food items: Taofu, kimchi and lechon. What’s there not to like?

    @Tenbreedmountaindog, juice mio, now that’s taking blaspheming to a whole new succulent level.

    Aug 15, 2011 | 8:05 pm

  12. EbbaBlue says:

    All these dishes “con lechon” is really pushing me to order a small lechon de leche that this family boast is Cebu style – and then I myself is going to try different dishes too.

    Many chinese/vietnamese stores here sells lechon everyday, but it’s Chinese style seasoning makes it taste like strong Peking Duck flavor. There’s a spice in it that I don’t favor much.

    Last weekend I was watching Pinoy Foodie on my GMA channel and they made some “bagnet salad (with bagoong)”. It looked yummy… so I was wondering if Zubuchon salad will be good? Maybe I will try it when my order of lechon comes.

    Aug 15, 2011 | 8:56 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    EbbaBlue, we do a lechon “kinilaw” style meaning cooked lechon marinated in the vinegary dressing of the visayas… it’s interesting, and served chilled… As for a bagnet salad with bagoong, I think I have a similar dish though not a salad in the archives…

    Aug 15, 2011 | 9:01 pm

  14. sur says:

    like you, i had a korean roomate in undergrad school and this brings back olfactory memories of a tiny dorm apartment with jars of homemade kimchee of many varieties. and the soups — and the permeating steam resulting from the creation thereof.

    the jarred vietnamese chili paste now serve as my base for creating kimchee– using mostly daikon or napa or reg cabbage or bean sprouts for quick ‘un-aged/un-riped’ kimchee.

    your version sounds like the intersection of two distinct korean soups: the chigae and the soon-doo-bu.

    notwithstanding that i am a pinoy, i think the comfort i find in korean food [in the form of a dozen banchans spread on a table with steaming rice] would consist my last meal on earth.

    [reference: chang rae lee’s essay NYTimes: http://tinyurl.com/3gv44mt ]

    Aug 16, 2011 | 1:12 am

  15. Kasseopeia says:

    I developed a taste for kimchi when I spent 7 weeks eating different types on a daily basis on a trip to Seoul.

    … and if that dish makes it to Zubuchon’s menu, you can bet your last Korean won I am trying it. Hehehe…

    Aug 16, 2011 | 1:59 am

  16. Bob says:

    Two cents: I’d suggest that you remove any bubbles on the soup when shooting such dishes. It looks like it went sour already. Enjoyed your blog nonetheless.

    Oct 10, 2011 | 11:41 pm


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