Gamjatang (감자탕) Pork Bones Stew with Potatoes and Vegetables

While I do have a large love of DUKKBOKKI (Korean rice cakes), one of my all time favorite Korean dishes is gamjatang. I have never ever made it before today, but it has always held a fond place in my heart. My grandma made THE BEST gamjatang, and as a child, when I needed a little pick me up, she would make this soup for me. NOW, many years later, in a separate continent away from my grandmother, I still crave this soup when I am feeling sad, stressed, heartbroken, or tired.

Gamjatang is so nutritious and hearty! This dish actually dates back to the 1800s, when the construction of the Gyung-Ui Railway began in Incheon and the harbor. Because of the nutritional value of gamajatang, it really spread in popularity, so much so that it has become one of the iconic dishes of Incheon (my hometown!).

I would describe it as food that is good for the heart, body, and spirit.

Matty describes it as “Food that tastes so good, you feel it to the bones!”


Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • Pork Neck Bones (1 lb)
  • Onions (2)
  • Garlic (8 cloves)
  • Ginger (1 tbsp, 5 slices)
  • Enoki Mushrooms (1 packet)
  • Napa Cabbage (1 cup)
  • Potato (2)
  • Asian Chives (BuChu)
  • Green Onions (4 stalks)
  • Perilla Leaves (10 leaves)
  • Hot Pepper Flakes (2 tbsp)
  • Soybean Paste (3 tbsp)
  • Hot Pepper Paste (1 tbsp)
  • Dried/Toasted Perilla Seeds (3 tbsp)
  • Fish Sauce (3 tbsp)


  1. Soak the pork neck bones in cold water (in the fridge) for at least 2 hours. IMG_4137.JPG
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast 1 onion, chopped into quarters for 20 minutes. IMG_4142.JPG
  3. After 2 hours, rinse the pork neck bones in cold water, trim the excess fat off, and put them in boiling water with the ginger, roasted onion, 2 stalks of green onions, and the soybean paste. Bring to a boil. Simmer  for 1.5hours. img_3620
    1. Strain the soup out.
  4. Chop napa cabbage into bite sized pieces. Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain.
  5. Prepare the vegetables:
    1. Chop perilla leaves into 1/2 inch slices.
    2. Chop chives into 1 inch slices.
    3. Chop ends off mushrooms and separate into little clumps.
    4. Cut potatoes into 1.5 inch chunks. IMG_4147.JPG
  6. Prepare sauce: minced garlic, hot pepper flakes, hot pepper paste, fish sauce, and perilla seeds.
  7. Place these veggies & sauce in the pot with the soup & pork. Cook for 30 more minutes.
  8. If desired, you can also add some sweet potato noodles. Cook noodles in accordance with the instructions on the package. IMG_4155.JPG
  9. To serve:
    1. Place in pork, vegetables, and soup in bowl. Garnish with some green onions & chives! Optional: Bowl of Rice. img_4160
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