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January 03 2015

Pork Belly and Kimchi Soup

By Worker Bee
36 Comments

Soup 1A steaming bowl of pork belly and kimchi soup is like sipping a restorative tonic. It warms you right the core, filling your belly with a good dose of healthy bacteria in a surprisingly delicious way.

It’s likely you already know that fermented foods such as kimchi add helpful probiotics to your gut.

If you find the flavor of kimchi to be overwhelming when eaten straight, fear not, it mellows when simmered in soup. A little bit, anyway. It still has a spicy, garlicky kick but in a less aggressive way.

In this soup, kimchi + pork belly + water quickly creates a flavorful and just-spicy-enough broth. A dash of coconut aminos and sesame oil (or a pat of butter) round out the flavor. If you like, crack a raw egg into your finished bowl of pork belly and kimchi soup for a meal that’s even more nourishing.

Servings: 2, with leftovers

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour

Ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 pound pork belly, sliced thinly and lightly salted (150 g)
  • 2 cups kimchi, chopped (475 ml)
  • 1 cup kimchi liquid, or close to it (240 ml)
  • 6 cups water (1.4 L)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos (10 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or 1 tablespoon butter (10 ml)
  • 4 to 6 scallions, thinly chopped
  • Optional: A raw egg for each serving

Instructions:

Add pork belly to a large, heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Once fat starts to render off the pork belly (this won’t take long) add the kimchi. Sauté 5 to 8 minutes until it begins to brown around the edges.

Primal

Add the kimchi liquid and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes uncovered.

Primal

Steaming Soup

Add coconut aminos and sesame oil or butter. Add salt to taste. Garnish with scallions.

If you like, crack an egg into your hot bowl of soup right before eating.

Soup 2

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36 thoughts on “Pork Belly and Kimchi Soup”

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  1. This looks awesome! Wouldn’t boiling the kimchi kill the probiotics though?

  2. This looks good, similar to a sparerib-and-sauerkraut soup I make. I don’t think I’ve ever seen pork belly in the store, but maybe that’s because I haven’t looked for it. We have a couple of good butcher shops in the area that would surely have it.

    I often buy kimchi by the quart from a nearby Korean restaurant where they make it from scratch. It’s very spicy and delicious (better than what I’ve made) and would be terrific in this quick and easy soup. You could also beat the egg and swirl it into the broth, as with egg drop soup.

    1. Good point. I don’t see why you couldn’t add the kimchi last, with the stove turned off. If the kimchi is at room temperature when you add it to the soup, the heat of the broth would be enough to warm it through. Serve lukewarm versus piping hot. Might not have as much flavor without the long simmer, but I agree that boiling and simmering would probably kill all the good bugs.

  3. This sounds delish! Kimchi is one of my favorite things, but I, too, was concerned about the high heat so I decided to “google” it. The consensus of opinion from the links that came up was that cooking would indeed kill off the good bugs so add the kimchi to the soup just before serving.

    Maybe add regular shredded cabbage and kimchi-type spices to the pork belly when cooking, and when the soup is done add a spoonful (a big spoonful) of kimchi to the finished soup before serving — sorta/kinda would be the best of both worlds—–just a thought.

  4. Hush on the probiotics dying talk and just eat it this delicious dish!

  5. Hush on the probiotics dying talk and just eat this delicious dish!

  6. The probiotics predigest some of the sugars and starches as part of the fermentation process. They make the nutrients more bio available than the raw vegetable. The organisms still have plenty of nutrient value when sterilized in a broth. However, I will not be able to resist sampling some live kimchi before cooking, just in case.

  7. Why not split up the kimchee– add some to the broth to flavor the simmer, the rest just before serving to retain the probiotics? That’s how I would do it. Sounds yummy!! 🙂

  8. Looks very good, but 1/3 lb pork belly is two servings plus leftovers???? Sounds like (a very tasty) lunch

  9. OR you could just reserve the kimchi liquid and add it before eating. That would preserve some probiotics without perceptibly altering the taste of the recipe.

  10. Yes, all the bacteria (good and bad) will perish after boiling this soup for even 1 minute (it’s basically pasteurization).

    Having said that, it would still be good to eat and you could serve extra fresh kimchi on the side.

  11. Do you remove the skin from the pork belly first, before slicing thin?

  12. I cooked this last night – incredible! Super easy too. I added a raw egg (pastured of course) too, what a great dish. Oh well about the probiotics, just eat raw kimchi while you are making it!

    Also a tip – I used probably 2X the amount of pork belly called for in the recipe, definitely a good call.

  13. 1. Remove pork belly skin.
    2. Use thicker pork belly slices.
    3. If you use bacon, shame on you.
    4. You have to boil the kimchee to make kimchee jigae.

    This from a (half) korean.

  14. Never heard of this soup or kimchi. Anything that gives me a good dose of healthy bacteria in a delicious way sounds fantastic. What culture is Kimchi from?

  15. I made this wonderful soup too! I started the day before with a little sauteed onion & some cabbage then added about 1/2 the kimchi. I took pot off the heat after 1/2 hour simmering and when it cooled a bit, added the rest of the kimchi. Then, refrigerated overnight and reheated just to hot, not boiling. Figure it kept a little more of the good stuff and gave the soup more time to develop the flavors. Thanks for another terrific recipe!

  16. Making this now. Anyone know if this would be better with Japanese or Korean kimchi?

  17. Definitely use Korean kimchi – Japanese kimchi is more like pickled cabbage with spice. Koreans like to use old kimchi for soup like this pork belly soup, which is called kimchi chigae.

    As real fermented kimchi ages, it gets more sour and pungent. Time for making chigae! You can also sautee the pork belly with onion and garlic, then add kimchi for a non-soup dish.

  18. Making this at this point. Anybody realize in the event this will possibly be much better together with Japan or perhaps Korean kimchi?

  19. My worry, as Jodan’s above, would be that the solid microorganisms would be slaughtered off from the bubbling procedure.

  20. Made this for breakfast on a hot and humid summer day using all leftovers with instant Anjimoto Hondashi broth. Very satisfying