James Park’s Spicy Korean Pork Belly (Duru Chigi)

updated Jun 8, 2023
Spicy Korean Pork Belly
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Spicy Korean Pork Belly
Credit: Lauren Volo

At age 13, I came to the United States from South Korea all by myself. I was going through puberty and confused about my identity, and I never felt like I could talk to any of the host families I stayed with. They didn’t understand many aspects of my life — be it my high-pitched voice or my fitted jeans. After years of feeling misunderstood and moving from host to host, I finally found an American family I could open up to, the Naumanns.

Mrs. Naumann, who became my new mother, played a significant role in my coming of age. She never questioned my taste, and always empowered me to be authentically myself. She was the first person who ever heard me say, “I am gay.”

After coming out to her, I began sharing more about my life, especially during dinnertime — we would discuss things I could never talk to my Korean parents about because I have not come out to them.

This spicy pork dish was the first thing I ever made for the Naumanns, and it became our new go-to dish to cook together. I thanked them for welcoming me into their family by cooking for them. It’s fatty, spicy, savory, and full of flavor. Now every time I visit, I make this dish.

This recipe is reprinted from Tasty Pride, a cookbook compiled by Jesse Szewczyk (one of our brilliant studio food editors!) and BuzzFeed’s Tasty. The book is a collection of delicious recipes that celebrates the vibrant queer food community.

Spicy Korean Pork Belly

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    pork belly, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)

  • 4 tablespoons

    gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)

  • 2 tablespoons

    soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons

    mirin (sweet rice wine)

  • 2 tablespoons

    honey

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 6 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 3

    large white onions, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon

    canola oil

  • 2 to 3

    scallions, trimmed and chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • Toasted sesame seeds

  • Cooked white rice

  • Butter lettuce leaves, separated

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, season the cubed pork belly with the ginger and black pepper and massage until well coated.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, mirin, honey, sesame oil, and garlic and mix well to make the seasoning paste.

  3. Add the onions and the seasoning paste to the bowl with the pork belly and massage with clean hands until the pork is evenly coated. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

  4. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add two-thirds of the scallions and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pork belly and sauté for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through and any moisture released from the onions has evaporated. Season to taste with salt.

  5. Transfer the pork to a serving bowl and garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and the remaining scallions. Serve with the cooked rice and offer butter lettuce leaves to make wraps.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Communityby Jesse Szewczyk and BuzzFeed's Tasty, copyright© 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.