36 hours in Philadelphia

By Maangchi

A few months ago, one of my readers on Facebook told me that I shouldn’t miss the Korean exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I have some friends who live in Philadelphia, so I figured that going on Memorial Day weekend would be a good chance to take a break from finishing my upcoming cookbook, explore Philadelphia, visit my friends, check out some treasures from Korea, and of course taste some delicious food!

I am happy to report that my trip was successful in every way!

First stop, as soon as I got off the train, was to check out a local Korean grocery store : ), so I went to the H Mart in Upper Darby!

Hmart PhiladelphiaHMartHMart1Koreangrocery

It was great! I could stay there hours and hours, checking all the cooking ingredients, new brands of sauces and pastes, and inspecting the quality of each ingredient. That store is well stocked, clean, large, and had a wide variety of Korean ingredients, from fresh napa cabbage and Korean radish, cucumber, to packaged and dried vegetables, grains, powders, sauces, and even sticky rice syrup. I wish we had a Korean grocery store like this in Manhattan!


Afterwards, I was looking around the kitchenware section. Someone approached me: “Are you Maa..?”

Before she finished, I said: “Yes!” It was real surprise!

She said: “Oh my god! I came here to shop for groceries to make your recipes!” Her name is Linda and she came with her son, Preston.

“Wha? what are you going to make?” She showed me some photos on her phone: “Maangchi, look at these, I’m saving all your recipe photos here!” She and I had never met before but I really felt she was like one of my old friends or relatives, or my younger sister. You know what I mean? I felt really connected to her.


In the food court upstairs I had nakji-bibimbap (bibimbaop with octopus), which was really delicious & fresh, and very cheap.

Philadelphia museum of art

The Korean exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art was the best Korean exhibit I’ve ever seen in North America. It had many beautiful pieces from Korea, many of which I had never seen, myself. My American friends were very impressed and in particular were interested in the King’s seal, which was made of gold and in the shape of a turtle!

I thought the white porcelain was especially beautiful, and the traditional clothing on display was remarkable for how bold, colorful, & sophisticated it was, never gaudy. I’d love to have a hanbok like that someday.

Treasures of korea


It’s too bad they wouldn’t let me take photos in there, I’d love to show you guys what’s inside. Also, the exhibit is now finished, so if you didn’t go already, you missed it. But it will be at LACMA in LA from June 29 to September 28, and then MFAH in Houston from November 2 to January 11 (2015). If you get chance to go, definitely check it out!


That museum is also famous for the movie Rocky, because part of it was filmed there, when rocky was training and running up the steps. There were a lot of people reenacting the movie, running up the steps and holding their hands above the air when they reached the top. It was fun to see!

Rocky shoes

When Rocky got to the top, he stood in this spot.


We were all hungry after the museum, so we went looking for food and ended up at the Dandelion pub where I had this handsome hamburger.


We had kind of beer party until 2 am, chatting and listening to music. I can’t drink much, so whenever my friends asked me: “How much shall I pour into your glass?”
I answered: “Maybe 1 tablespoon.”
“Oh that’s delicious so give me 2 tablespoons, please! ” : )


These airy crispy macarons were made by my friend. It was perfect match with delicious coffee!

Soon my short visit was over, but I will definitely be back to Philadelphia to check out more. Next time I’ll try to plan a meetup with some of my Philly readers!
See you soon!



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