A Happy Accident: Jeyuk 제육볶음


Time to wipe the cobwebs off my blog and start writing again. It’s been a while. How one maintains a travel blog after years of travel comes to a halt has floated in and out of my mind lately, but I’m not going to dwell on it too much and just see where things go. 

Last weekend we were supposed to have a potluck dinner with our friends and I was going to make “Korean Pork Bulgogi Baozi” from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Baozi or bao is more of a Chinese dim sum dish and I was intrigued by the title of the recipe. Bulgogi in my experience is usually a beef dish served over rice. I didn’t realize until I started cooking that I was most definitely not making bulgogi, but jeyuk -something I haven’t eaten since living in Seoul.

I spent way more than I wanted to on a nice cut of pork loin at Whole Foods (I refuse to buy low-quality meat, so prices are usually higher than my wallet likes) and began the cooking process. Halfway through I found out the potluck was off so I chose not to make the dough for the bao buns and put the filling over rice instead, as one would with jeyuk.

For those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to have feasted on jeyuk, let me give you a hint as to what it tastes like. It’s spicy. Really spicy. When we ordered it in Korea we would only order one serving and split it over extra rice to make it milder. I can handle spicy food, but only to a certain extent. 

Once I realized I was making jeyuk, I needed to alter the recipe I was going off just a tad bit to make it taste more authentic. Here’s what I came up with:


jeyuk ingredients

  • 0.75 to 1 pound pork loin (cut into thin slices)
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced in half moon slivers
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for cooking
  • 1/4 Cup Sake or Soju


marinatingThe original recipe calls for 1 pound pork. I only used 0.75 pounds and it was plenty for four servings. Combine soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds, honey, gochujang, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl. Add the sliced pork and marinate for at least one hour.

Heat vegetable oil in a pan over med-high heat. Saute onions until soft, then add pork, marinade and sake/soju. Cook until sauce is thick.

This serves four and I suggest making white rice to go with it. People who don’t like spicy food as much can just add more rice to tone it down. Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Beer cuts the spiciness quite well. I chose to have a whiskey ginger instead and I have to say, it was a delicious complement.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *