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photo credit: Hojokban

Hojokban image
7.9

Hojokban

Korean

KoreatownNomad

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight Dinner
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Eating bone-in galbi served atop a wooden pedestal is infinitely more fun than picking at short ribs off a regular plate. Everyone at Hojokban, a homestyle Korean restaurant from Hand Hospitality (see: Ariari, Moono), knows this. There's an order of the house specialty served with scallion salad on every table. In fact, the couple drinking soju in matching sweatpants next to you won’t even bother looking at the menu, which is a mistake seeing as Hojokban's tender, braised pork jowl is just as good as the galbi.

Hojokban image

photo credit: Hojokban

The casual restaurant with an original location in Seoul is useful when you want hearty, comforting food and don't care much about charm or ambiance beyond a blue-patterned banquette and some rice frying in the open kitchen. Service is polite and business-like, and the long dining room feels comfortable but not particularly memorable. You can easily be in and out in under an hour. So bring a friend and order both the short ribs and the pork jowl, and maybe some shrimp dumplings topped with crispy bits of beef or Spam-laden budae jjigae. Just make sure that friend is really in it for the food, and they're not trying to lounge around for hours sipping cocktails.

Food Rundown

The Hojok Galbi at Hojokban.

photo credit: Hojokban

Hojok Galbi

These nicely seared, on-the-bone short ribs are sous vide for 16 hours and arrive at your table sliced, covered in scallions, and awaiting your chopsticks. Everybody in the whole goddamn restaurant orders this beef on a pedestal and everybody orders it for a good reason. The meat is tender and sweet, and the scallions are fresh and cold, with just a little bite.

Ramyun Fried Rice

Hojokban does indeed have an Instagram-approved order involving the hojok galbi and this photogenic ramyun fried rice. The combination of chili oil-laced fried rice and cup noodles tastes good but basic, in the way any salty, starch-oriented dish would. If you’re okay with missing the photoshoot, skip this.

The pork jowl at Hojokban.

photo credit: Hojokban

Garlic Pork Jowl

Instead of the ramyun fried rice, go for the pork jowl. It gets outshined by the galbi, but the thin, melty slices of pork topped with a garlic paste that’s lost all of its bite are equally as delicious, if not better.

Tiger Budae Jjigae

If you’ve had a not-great day, Hojokban’s version of budae jjigae should absolutely be on your table. It won’t just make today better. With its Spam, cheese, and assortment of sausages, it’ll make tomorrow better too.

Ssook-Got Salad

We always appreciate the presence of a chrysanthemum green in a salad. But you can bypass this. For something fresh and crunchy, just eat more kimchi.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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