English Title: Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody
Original Title: 한국 삼겹살 랩소디
If you told me Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody was paid for by some Korean pig farmers association as an attempt to get people to eat more pork, I would 100% believe you. That being said, it easily accomplishes that goal. Unless you’ve sworn off swine for religious reasons, if you’re able to watch both episodes without desperately wanting any of many different kinds of pork detailed, you probably should swear off pork completely. Despite the show’s title only the first of two episodes focuses solely on pork belly, the second is more of an exploration of the underutilized cuts of pork, both of them will make you hungry.
In the US we tend to use out pork belly for bacon, and—this might get my passport revoked—we might be doing it all wrong. Episode One of Pork Belly Rhapsody dives into every aspect of pork belly in Korean culture, from its rise to popularity in the 1970s to its importance in social situations, and of course, the many different ways that it’s cooked. It’s both fascinating and mouthwatering to learn about the invention and evolution of tabletop grills that brought people together to cook the thinly sliced strips of pork belly. They also show some of the rarer ways for cooking it like over the open flames of burning rice straw. It’s all the information about Korean pork belly you didn’t know you wanted to know. It’s also all incredibly delicious looking.
Going into Episode Two I thought there couldn’t possibly anything more to tell us about pork belly and thankfully I was right because as fascinating as the first episode is, the second one might be even better. Did you know how much meat you can get just from a pig’s head? It’s a lot, and this episode will show exactly where it all comes from. It also goes into some of the more traditional Korean pork dishes like blood sausage and pork knuckle, both of which I normally wouldn’t want much to do with but now will definitely eat if I ever make it to Korea.
Both episodes are hosted by Korean chef, Jong-Won Baek who seems to have a reverence for pork that is almost impossible. He spends a lot of time explaining different cuts of pork and why some are more popular that others. He also ends both episodes cooking and tasting different types of pork with group of people from both inside of outside of Korea, which is mostly worth watch because it’s fun seeing French and German people speak Korean.
Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody could very well be propaganda created by the Korean pork industry. It does seem to be created for no other purpose than to make you want to eat pork and it certainly has nothing negative to say about the stuff. Maybe if I was Korean or more familiar with what the episodes covered my cynicism would stop me from enjoying this show as much as I did but as an initiation into the world of Korean pork it is more than entertaining enough to be worth 90 minutes of your life.
Subs & Dubs: There’s no dubbing. I can’t imagine anybody would being willing to pay voice actors for this show.
Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix worldwide.
Trailer: Well there’s no trailer, but here’s a clip previewing the first episode with no subtitles.