Gamjatang (Pork Bone Soup)

Gamjatang is definitely in my top 5 favorite Korean soups, and if you know anything about Korean culture then you know it’s the nation of broth! Soup is fundamental to Korean cuisine & culture- there are so many to choose from and I would choose gamjatang every time! 

Made with pork neck bones, this soup is hearty, spicy, and so comforting especially on a rainy day. 

Why is it called gamjatang?

 “Gamja” means potato and “tang” means soup in Korean, so up until I started my r&d for this recipe, I thought gamjatang meant potato soup. Apparently thats not the correct translation!

“Gamja” is also a Korean word that refers to part of the pork spine. Some readers have also told me that the original gamjatang didn’t even have potatoes in it, but restaurants started adding them because of the confusion over the name.

I know I can’t be the only one who didn’t know this. I avoided this dish on Korean menus for most of my life because I didn’t grow up eating it, so I didn’t know what it was. When I would see gamjatang on a menu, I really thought it meant potato soup and just wasn’t interested in it, so I never ordered it.

Funny enough, my mom thought the same thing even know she actually grew up in Korea. She didn’t try gamjatang until she was in her late 40’s! So we learned how to make this dish together and this is the recipe we came up with 🙂

Ingredients 

  • Pork neck bones- gamjatang is best made with pork neck bones. These have a lot of flavor and the meat is so delicious and tender! Look for bones that have the most meat on them.

  • Aromatics– onion, large green onion, ginger, garlic, & dried shiitake mushroom.

  • Seasoning paste- gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), perilla powder, fish sauce, plum syrup, black pepper, and Knorr chicken bouillon.

  • Young radish greens- this is actually my favorite part of this dish, besides the soup! The radish greens take on the flavor of the broth really well. You can also use napa cabbage instead if you prefer. 
  • Perilla leaves- even if you don’t really like perilla leaves, you should definitely add them because it is really delicious with this soup!

  • Potato– one large russet potato cut into 6 pieces.

More soup recipes

If you like this recipe, try some of my other soup recipes on the blog! 

Gamjatang (Pork Bone Soup)

5 from 51 votes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs pork neck bones
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 2 tbsp doenjang (fermented soybean paste)
  • 1 oz sliced ginger or 3 bay leaves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 daepa (large green onion) or 2 green onion
  • 10 perilla leaves
  • 1 large russet potato peeled & cut into 6 pieces
  • 1/2 lb young radish greens or napa cabbage
  • 1 serrano pepper or Korean spicy pepper if you can find it

Seasoning paste

  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp perilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp plum syrup
  • 1 tbsp Knorr chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions
 

  • Soak the pork neck bones in cold water for an hour, changing the water once or twice.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the minced garlic, chopped green onion, sliced ginger, sliced onion, and washed young radish stems.
    Tip: Potatoes oxidize when peeled, so you can either wait to peel it until you need it, or peel and cut them and hold them in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning.
  • Make the seasoning paste: combine the garlic, gochujang, gochugaru, fish sauce, perilla powder, black pepper, plum syrup, water, and Knorr chicken bouillon. Set aside.
  • After 1 hour of soaking the pork neck bones, drain and add them to a pot with enough room temperature water to cover them. Bring it to a boil- this will take about 10-15 minutes, and once it starts boiling, only let it boil for a couple minutes. This is an asian technique for blanching meat. It gets rid of the gaminess and impurities in the pork.
  • Drain and rinse the pork bones thoroughly, making sure to get all the gunk out of the crevices of the bones.
  • Put the pork bones back in a cleaned pot. Add 8 cups of water, ginger, onion, dried shiitake mushroom, and fermented soybean paste. Bring to a boil, skim off any remaining impurities that float to the surface, then reduce the heat to medium and cover for 90 minutes.
    Tip: thoroughly mix the fermented soybean paste with 1/2 cup of water before adding it into the pot, so it mixes in easier.
  • In a separate pot, bring water a boil then blanch the young radish greens for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  • After 90 minutes, throw away the ginger and take out the shiitake mushroom to slice it.
  • Add 1 to 2 cups of water to the pot, then add the seasoning paste and mix well. Then add the potatoes, green onion, blanched radish greens, sliced shiitake mushrooms, and sliced serrano pepper. Cover for another 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes the potatoes should be chopstick tender. Add the sliced perilla leaves last to finish, and thats it!

*This post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use & recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through these links.

This Post Has 51 Comments

  1. Lisa

    5 stars
    Love this soup! Super tasty. Easy to follow recipe. Stews take a bit longer so this is great for when you have more time. The meats come out tender and rich in taste.

  2. @thekorombians

    5 stars
    I love gamjatang and you have one of my favorite recipes for it! So flavorful and easy to make – love all your recipes ❤️

  3. @hyejleeee

    5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE so many recipes but this recipe made me smile from ear to ear! Recently, one of my favorite restaurants permanently closed, and they had the BEST gamjatang and dakdoritang, so thick, savory, and spicy. I was so disappointed, but then, this recipe popped up and I couldn’t be happier to be able to enjoy this yummy, comfort food at home!

    Thank you!

  4. Ellie Hong

    5 stars
    This is what you need on a rainy day!

  5. Paul Guiao

    5 stars
    This has always been a favorite of mine, I went to Korea last year and tried it there and have been obsessed with this ever since. Even now that it’s been raining a lot in California I’ve been making this all the time and sharing it with friends and family.

  6. LaTisha

    5 stars
    i love how tender the meat is. The flavor is amazing.

  7. Chelsie B

    5 stars
    I made this last night and OMG it was so tasty!! Definitely book marking it!

  8. Nestor

    5 stars
    Gamjatang soup was phenomenal . The recipe was so easy to follow and I was able to taste the amazing recipe that transported me right to Korea with every bite.

  9. @Sandylchiang

    5 stars
    My absolute go to stew during the cold seasons. I love pairing this with rice or clear noodle. Simple recipe to follow and comes out perfect every time! I like adding more perilla powder and some green peppers at the end when serving. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us.

  10. Anonymous

    5 stars
    I’ve always thought the same, that this was just potato soup! But you’ve changed my mind, thank you for the recipe!

  11. Amisha

    5 stars
    Tried making this after craving some good homemade Korean soup and it was so easy to follow and turned out amazing!

  12. Eugene

    5 stars
    My dad would always make this in a HUGE pot when my brother and I were growing up. I remember how much love and sweat was put into the dish each time he made it. Super nostalgic dish for me ❤️ No one quite makes it as good or as dank as my pops did, so I’m excited to try yours 누나! We put extra extra 들깨 🙆‍♂️

  13. Tina

    5 stars
    Aloha Stella! I’m multicultural as well, but Korea is my soul!! This soup always hits the spot!! Mahalo for all your ONO recipes!!

  14. Michael Stoughton

    5 stars
    This recipe is very concise and easy to follow along with, the dish leaves no stone unturned as you find yourself enveloped in a cloak of joy. I’d give it a higher rating if I could but alas 5 stars will have to do.

  15. Melissa

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite Korean soup dish. It’s similar to Philippines neck bone soup called Nilaga except for spiciness. When I saw Gamjatang when I was leaving in Seoul, I fell in love 🥰 😍. THIS recipe is FANTASTIC and a keeper

  16. Keila

    5 stars
    I love all your recipes but my fave right now is the grapefruit cheong!!!!! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼🥰👍🏼 keep doing your thing!

  17. Karmacycle1

    5 stars
    This looks delicious. I find it so hard to find perilla leaves any substitute? Thanks!

  18. Christina Lee

    5 stars
    The heartiest and most delicious soup. Literally soothes the soul!

  19. Jada Bu

    5 stars
    I enjoyed watching the Paleta videos. Homemade delish-ness. So easy to make and refreshing!

  20. @sophielikestoeat

    5 stars
    I loooooove ordering this at restaurants but seeing your recipe makes me feel like I can make it just as good as they do but at home! I make a lot of noodle soups at home and I bet this will be awesome as a noodle soup base even though a lot of people eat with rice.

  21. Adriana Vining

    5 stars
    One of my favorite soups and an easy recipe to follow along!

  22. Jayne Chung

    5 stars
    Comfort food delicious, your recipe helped cook and now my kids love your foods thank you

  23. James

    5 stars
    One of the best recipes. Thought it would be harder to make but you made it simple.

  24. Faye

    5 stars
    It’s my favorite . i love gamjatang so much. This recipe is solid and authentic.

  25. Stephanie Chan

    5 stars
    This is seriously delicious. I have a lot of your recipes bookmarked for my weekly meals. Thank you!

  26. @cup_of_chas

    5 stars
    I made your gamjatang tonight! I doubled it because I knew my husband would ask for more. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was the chicken bullion and it still tasted amazing! So easy and the pork is fall off the bone perfect. Thank you so much, Stella!!! I can’t wait to try the raw crab recipe soon.

  27. Wing

    5 stars
    Omg! This recipe was actually easy to make. Delicious and very flavorful. It’s cold right now, so it’s the perfect weather for soup too! Thanks for sharing!

  28. Sophath tin

    5 stars
    I love love love your content and recipes! Love that you share recipes for both Mexican and Korean. Two of my favorite foods! I tried out your raw marinated crab recipe and it exceeded my expectations. Also tried out many of your side dish series and none of them disappointed.

  29. Arron Joseph

    5 stars
    The Best recipe I’ve ever made! Its so tender and delicious! I went to Seoul last November and I had plenty of soups and this was one of them. I cant believe I made it as close to what I had back there. Thanks to your masterpiece! A true genius, indeed.

  30. @ro_ose

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times! It has never failed me!

  31. Kimi @christinayee

    5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe!!! Can’t wait to make it again~

  32. Whoschewy

    5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe! I love how easy it is the follow the instructions, the step by step and pictures are so much appreciated💕

  33. @christinemorganrealestate

    5 stars
    It’s been so cold in so cal with too much rain and too little sun, so gamjatang sounded like the perfect recipe for this weather! The recipe was easy and the results were too delicious. (I’m eating leftovers for the third night in a row!) Yummmmmmm.

  34. Janet Davies

    5 stars
    I have to say when I started following you on IG I was so juiced to find you and your cooking style is amazing. I have cooked & tried a lot of your recipes and recently I tried this and it was Fantastic, Fabulous, Flavorful f*%^~ing Bomb.com better than a restaurant. Your instructions are easy to follow and you can find all the ingredients that you provide. I’m so happy to found you!

  35. Suzy

    5 stars
    Love your recipe for gamjatang! One of my favorite Korean dish! My family enjoys it every time!

  36. Lisa

    5 stars
    I loooove gamjatang. The first time I had this was in Seoul the morning after a long night of drinking and clubbing. It resurrected me, so warm and inviting – my hostel owner who took us called it a hangover remedy and I ate it like 5 more times on that trip. I love sucking out all the meat and chewing the cartilage on those pork neck bones like a Neanderthal but can’t waste any of those tasty bits !! Thank you for a wonderful reminder and recipe I will surely try soon for these colder days.

  37. Shy - (IG: shynacio)

    5 stars
    I love this! I used short ribs instead (because that’s what I have lol) and it’s really amazing! I love that your recipe is really easy to follow and most importantly, they all taste authentic! Like you’re eating at ahjumma’s haha or a good korean restaurant. 🙂

  38. Nikki C

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorites! So simple and so satisfying!! My kids loved it, too! I love all your recipes so so much! Cannot wait for more!!

  39. Maggcakes

    5 stars
    So happy to see you have a recipe for this!! It’s me and my husband’s new favorite soup! I’m really excited to make this.

  40. Esther @_estherjw

    5 stars
    one of my favorite korean dishes, & i’m so glad Stella did a recipe on it so now i can eat it forever & ever!!! 🤩 love you Stella, keep doing what you’re doing!!!🫶🏼

  41. Janelle

    5 stars
    Love how you cook things that are close to your heart from both heritages. All your recipes look delicious and not too intimidating. Can’t wait to try this one!!!!!

  42. Willshin87

    5 stars
    I can see the authenticity and hard work put in to each detail of this post. Each step was meticulously notated with extremely detailed instructions that makes it easy for anyone to make Gamjatang.
    You can see the passion through the writings on the page. Keep up the great work, you are an inspiration!

  43. Kristine

    5 stars
    My all time favorite soup! It’s great for hangovers too. Always brings me back to life. Personally, I add a little extra potato cause I just love anything potato.

  44. Annie (@randomalities)

    5 stars
    I’ve literally been craving 감자탕. This is a great recipe to follow!

  45. Matae0

    5 stars
    Best gamjatang recipe ! Normally don’t make it with mushrooms and the radish greens but was a nice treat . Korean soul food at its finest !

  46. Colin

    5 stars
    This looks amazing. Gathering ingredients!

  47. Samantha Prom

    5 stars
    Love love Korean soups and have yet to try this recipe/ dish out. Will give this a shot in my kitchen because who doesn’t love soups during cold winter days. I also love the combination of the potatoes with the pork bones. I feel like pork has great umami so it sounds like it pairs well with all the flavors in this dish!

  48. @FatimzahraBoushit

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite korean stews ever, It’s a long process, but it tasted so good and so its so worth it. I put the leftovers in the freezer for when I get a craving😁😁
    Thank you. 🥰

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Hi, I'm Stella!

I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. My recipes are tried and tested, many of them passed down through family. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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