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It may seem crazy to fix it when it ain’t broken, but I’ve Koreanized burgers and thrown in some pancetta to boot. Since pancetta is pork belly and a beloved cut in Korea, it just seemed to make sense. To me, at least. Sometimes you have to take these risks to come up with something phenomenal.

Pancetta can vary greatly in saltiness. If your pancetta isn’t very salty, sprinkle some extra salt on the patties before cooking. Like most burgers, this one is good with chips, but instead of the typical potato variety, try Lotus Root Chips.



  • 3 small cloves garlic
  • 1 (1 cm/1⁄2 in) knob fresh ginger, peeled
  • 115 g (4 oz) thinly sliced pancetta, roughly chopped and kept cold
  • 1⁄2 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
  • 4 tsp doenjang (Korean soya bean paste)
  • 4 tsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 700 g (11⁄2 lb) minced beef chuck
  • 2 tbsp soda water, chilled
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Sea salt (optional)

To Serve



  1. With the motor running, drop the garlic and ginger into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the pancetta and pulse until finely chopped. Add the onion, chilli flakes, soya bean paste, chilli paste, sugar and pepper, and process until fairly smooth. Set the pancetta mixture aside.
  2. Crumble the beef into a large bowl. Add the soda water, sesame seeds and pancetta mixture and mix together with your hands, being careful not to overwork the mixture. Form it into four patties, each 2.5 cm (1 in) thick and 10 cm (4 in) wide. Make a depression in the centre of each patty, as burgers tend to rise in the middle during cooking. This will help them come out flat. If not cooking immediately, cover the patties and refrigerate.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Lightly season the burgers with salt, if necessary. Put them in the pan depression-side up and cook for about 7 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a two-burner griddle/stove-top grill pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Spread both sides of the buns with the butter and cook cut-side down for a minute until lightly toasted. If working in batches, toast the bottom buns first. Transfer to individual plates.
  5. Put a burger on each bottom bun and top with lettuce and then the cucumber kimchi. Smear some Korean ketchup and doenjang mayonnaise on the top buns and place on the burgers. Secure with a bamboo skewer or long toothpick, if you like, and serve immediately.

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