Glistening under soy-glazed skin, slices exposing alternating layers of rosy meat, creamy fat and opaque gelatin, pig's foot at Koreatown's Jangchung-Dong Wong Jokbal arrives to the table on a silver platter, looking like a prop from the feast scene of a Robin Hood movie. One look at the slices tumbling over each other like pig dominoes, resting on gigantic bones, and you realize that this isn't really pig's foot at all.
This is an entire pig leg. Jokbal — braised pig's foot — specialists abound in Jangchung-Dong, the district of Seoul the restaurant is named after, but Angelenos unfamiliar with it may be surprised to find that jokbal pieces are surprisingly meaty and substantive, its texture reminiscent of a holiday ham. Naturally, it demands absolute attention, wrapping hunks of leg in romaine lettuce, dabbing Korean fermented soy paste and applying jalapeño and garlic slices that are both raw and slightly thicker than comfortable. No matter how wantonly you assemble and dunk these porcine packages, though, you'll finish your meal with sticky, greasy hands and a plate still piled high in slowly cooked meat. After a Korean auntie double wraps the bulging doggie bag, you realize that here, a pig's foot feast is of the ideal, never-ending variety.
Jangchung-Dong Wong Jokbal: 425 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles; (213) 386-3535.
Yes, it's that time of year again, or almost. This is one of over 400 pieces that will be appearing in our upcoming Best of L.A. issue, out October 6th.