If you are a foreigner in Korea and you enjoy eating gopchang (곱창: cow’s small intestine) then I say your taste buds have almost “Koreanized”. Many Koreans enjoy grilled or boiled gopchang but some people on the other hand dislike its peculiar smell.
The beef small intestines is filled with protein and enzyme that create the unusual smell. The internet says that tip is to let fresh gopchang sit in the water for hours then wash thoroughly with flour and other deodorants such as alcohol and spices. I remember reading about an urban myth several years ago regarding how some restaurants wash gopchang with detergent. The rumor spread like wild fire and gopchang consumption has hugely dropped. Nowadays, the beef intestine is back as a popular peasant food and you see gopchang BBQ joints everywhere on the streets of Korea. I guess in the end the rumor was a rumor indeed.
I love gopchang but I try not to eat it too often as it is high in cholesterol and fat. But tonight, mom and I found a neighborhood joint that serve freshest beef organs so we had to give it a try. My mother, who is not a fan of gopchang or any other organ parts, fell in love with the signature gopchang jeongol (곱창전골: beef intestines hot pot). If my mom loves something then it is almost guaranteed that fresh ingredient is used. As a proof, we witnessed some patrons at the other table ordering uncooked liver and omasum to be consumed as is.
Best part about the hot pot we had today was the amount of fresh organs in a pot that was meant to serve two people – the huge pot was filled with them! The broth was savory and not too spicy. Perfect to go with a shot of soju.