The hotel I stayed at in Rotterdam was warm, with large desk that I could comfortably work on. Wifi was free, breakfast was delicious, the location was good, what more do I need? It was a perfect choice.
I had 2 shoots in Rotterdam: one with Reinier and the other with Susanne. Once I hooked up my computer, I emailed them: “Hey, I’m in Rotterdam! If you have free time tonight, come visit me!”
The next day was filming at Reinier’s house and also a meetup in the evening. Reinier and Susanne met through my website and they became good friends! I’m always very happy to see my readers make friends through my website. They both love delicious food, they both love cooking, and they both love Korean food. No wonder my readers can easily become good friends. When they meet for the first time, they can say: ”I found really good napa cabbage at the farmer’s market near my house!” or: “I don’t know what to do with very sour kkaktugi!” Unlike the usual conversation when you meet someone for the first time: “So, uh, how are you? Oh, nice meeting you” “Today’s weather is so good…”
They came to my hotel in the evening. I met Reinier a couple of times when he visited New York, but this was the first time for me to meet Susanne face to face. We greeted Dutch style: 3 times kissing on the cheek. Right cheek, left cheek, and right cheek again. : ) “umm ppa” “umm ppa” “umm ppa” : )
We planned the timelines for filming, cooking, and meetups for the next few days, until it was time for them to go home.
He made kimchi 5 days in advance of my arrival so that the kimchi would be at the most delicious stage of fermenting. Kimchi made with 5 kilograms of napa cabbage! I was very excited to taste his kimchi. There are more than 130 homemade Korean food photos of his on my website. Before eating his Korean dish, he always takes some photos to share with my other readers. His marvelous Korean food photos have impressed many many people who visit my website.
The next morning I went to his house and as soon as I arrived, I tasted his kimchi. He had a massive container of kimchi, just like a Korean housewife.
The kimchi was absolutely delicious! “Does it taste like pop soda?” I asked. “If so, your kimchi making skill is perfect”
He said: “Yes, that’s right! My kimchi tastes like pop soda!”
Reinier borrowed Dutch farmers’ costumes and traditional Dutch wooden shoes for us to wear for the video. I changed into the costume and so did he. He didn’t look like Reinier anymore! We laughed at each other. “Ah ha ha ha!” His traditional hat looked similar to a baseball cap but much smaller in size. The wooden shoes were too big for me, so I borrowed 2 pairs of his socks so I could fit into the shoes
Me and Reinier
Filming went well. We went to a windmill to shoot a few intro scenes. It was fun because there was no script. We improvised on the spot. I was standing in front of the door of the windmill and Reinier approached and pretended to see me by chance.
“Oh are you… Maangchi?”
“Oh Reinier, oh my goodness!” I was thinking of something to say but couldn’t come up with anything, so I just kept saying “Oh my god, oh my god”
He said: “ What are you doing here?”
“I’m living here now.”
“You are living here?”
“Yes, I like to grind all kinds of grains.” My quick answers must have surprised him. He burst out laughing and said: “Oh you wanna learn how to make Dutch food?”
“Sure, teach me please!”
“Ok, let’s go to my house!” And we walked together side by side in the wooden shoes making loud noises on purpose “Dadaak dadaak dadaak…”
He made traditional Dutch stamppot endive and meatballs. I had never seen or tasted the dish before. The way of presentation was unique! Mashed potato mixed with chopped endive is formed like a mountain on a serving plate first, and then a well is made on top and filled with gravy from cooked bacon. It’s served with a huge meatball. The gravy looks like a crater on top of volcano. The meatball was very delicious! I will make it when I go back home. Reinier said that stamppot is winter food. After playing outside in cold day, he was always happy when his mother made stamppot. He said, “If there are 4 family members, mom makes 5 meatballs. Each family member gets one meatball, and the leftover meatball goes to the fastest eater.”
We finished filming and Reinier changed from his costume to his normal clothes, but I wanted to keep wearing my costume. I wanted to surprise and entertain my readers who would be coming in a few hours. Actually the costume was very comfortable. Of course it should be. It’s a farmer’s wife’s costume with an apron!
Reinier prepared for all the ingredients in advance. We made baechu doenjangguk and rice. Yes, we were ready to have a party with rice, kimchi, and soup! This is hearty, humble food made with lots of love!
Cutting cabbage to blanch. These napa cabbage was very good quality: the leaves were thin and juicy.
We made 2 large pots of rice!
My lovely readers came at 5pm. Strangely, almost all of them are silent readers! A few of them were my Facebook friends and their names were familiar to me. “Oh, you are Sungsook!” “oh, you are Minke!” Some of them came from far away, with one couple (Minke and her husband Kim) coming all the way from Brussels.
Qonita said: “I love Korean dramas and food! I made your yangyeom tongdak for my friends, everybody loved it!”
Rini asked: “Maangchi, I made kimchi 3 days ago, now it gives off a little weird smell.” I said: “no problem! your kimchi is being fermented. It will be delicious!” Everybody welcomed and greeted me warmly. All of them love cooking. Of course they all laughed at my costume.
Soup and rice plus kimchi for dinner.
Rini is using culinary torch right before serving her homemade dessert. Delicious!
Nanja and me
Kim and Minke living in Brussel Belgium. They drove 3 hours to join the meetup! Such passionate readers!
Nanja brought these beautiful homemade cupcakes! Amazing!
Susanne got 1 daikon from Reinier when she left home. I said, “yay, daikon ninja!” cute!!
Smoking Arabic hookah pipe
Good people, good food, and we filmed a great video too. I can’t wait to show it to you!