Blog, Gapshida

Going to Rotorua

By Maangchi

My next itinerary after filming with Jamie in Wellington, New Zealand was Rotorua, to cook and film with Mere Marshall.

At the end of my last post I told you about some surprises coming in this one. Well, the big surprise was that instead of leaving Jamie behind in Wellington, he was going to come with me with his friend Ryan to Rotorua!

You see, Jamie was the one who first introduced Mere to Korean food by sending her a package of Korean ingredients. Ever since then she’s been crazy about Korean cooking. But Jamie never met Mere face to face, so when he found out she was part of my Gaspshida project, he told me he would want to come along and meet Mere and her sister Jill. Isn’t it amazing how their love for food brought all these different people together?

I suggested to him: “How about a Korean food themed tour? We’ll stay in Rotorura for 5 days and we’ll eat home cooked Korean food just like I would with my family!” He loved the idea. Deal!

Jamie and Ryan drove the five hours to Rotorura, and I flew. Because they drove, they could bring all kinds of things in their car: rice, side dishes, kimchi, and all the Korean spices we needed (hot pepper paste, garlic, soy sauce, soy bean paste, vegetable oil, hot pepper flakes, flour, sesame oil, etc).

The day before leaving Wellington was one of the busiest days of my life. There was a lot of shopping and preparation, but also we had to start Jamie’s 2 projects, making gochujang and makgeolli (Korean rice wine). The second project came about when I was investigating Jamie’s pantry and I discovered a package of nuruk.

I asked Jamie: “What are you going to do with this?”

“I’m going to make makgeolli.”

“Do you know how to make it?” I asked.

“No, but I’m going to check on the internet.” I thought this was funny . He can find anything on the internet!

So I decided to show him how to make it. I warned him that we’d need to take care of it for 7-10 days while it ferments. We’d need to watch it carefully, and couldn’t leave it behind. But we were supposed to leave for Rotorua next day!

“Jamie, can you bring the fermenting makgeoli with you in your trunk?”

“Sure.”

His trunk would be full of Korean food!

So we made our own makgeolli and gogchujang, as well as mustard green kimchi and some side dishes.

Gochujang (hot pepper paste): It’s being fermented in Jamie’s house now. The recipe video will be posted in 3 months after it’s well fermented.

Makgeolli (Korean rice wine): I never heard about the final result from Jamie but I’m sure it was delicious and it made many people in Wellington drunk and in a good mood. : )

Makgeolli: Jamie’s friend must have come to this empty house to give it a stir. : )

While I made anchovy side dishes I asked him to make ojingeochae muchim. I was surprised when he brought out his own version of my cookbook, which he had downloaded from my site and enlarged so he could read it easier. This was not the first time that I saw someone do this - Renier had the same idea!  I was impressed by how he followed my recipe exactly, and his ojingeochae muchim came out perfectly.

He is making ojingeochae muchim with his homemade cookbook!

Stir-fried dried anchovies (myeolchi bokkeum) and seasoned dried shredded squid (ojingeochae muchim)

We were so busy that we didn’t have time to prepare lunch. There was a lot of leftover gimbap from the meetup the night before, so I showed them how to make day-old gimbap delicious again, by dipping it in egg batter and frying it. They loved it!

“Ooh, fried gimbap is very delicious!”

We separated after a long day of preparations. The next day we would meet again in the hotel in Rotarura.

The morning of my flight, I called Jamie with a last minute request.

“Good morning Jamie! Can you bring the small jar of gochujang we made? I want to watch it every day in Rotorua, to see how it looks.”
“Good idea!” He said, “I’ll bring it.”
“Does your makgeolli fit in the trunk?”
“Actually it didn’t fit, so I asked my friend to come over every day to stir it.” His friend would come to the empty house every morning simply to stir the rice wine! I couldn’t help laughing when I imagined that.
“See you soon!”

Then I decided to go out for breakfast. In my usual life, I rarely eat breakfast. But when traveling I’m never sure when I can eat again, so I eat breakfast as often as possible.

The hotel in Wellington where I stayed had a really nice bathroom on the main floor. Clean, bright, white, warm, and cozy.  Behind me, can you see the rolled white towels?  They prepared small cotton towels for their customers for drying their hands with, instead of paper towels. It’s a bathroom but it doesn’t look like a bathroom, so I took this photo.

I boarded the plane for Rotarura, and as you can see the plane was very small. The pilot was sitting right in front of me.

In Rotarura I took a shuttle to my hotel and checked in.

Once I got into my room, I called Mere and let her know I got in ok. I was getting hungry so I decided to go outside and find some food. Just as I stepped out, Jamie’s car pulled up.

I was very happy to see them again! “Hey you guys look familiar!” I joked. “I can never get away from you.”

We decided to have samgyupsal for dinner, so we started preparations.

Jamie brought our gochujang. When I opened the lid,  I said, “Hello, my baby!”

Every day we checked this gochujang and talked to it and saw how it was doing. Everytime I went over to his room, I could check in on the gochujang and taste it. Ryan and Jamie always joined me in tasting. All of us say  “Mmmm!” at the same time.

That night we had samgyupsal gui like a real traveling Korean family. We bought fresh pork belly at the local grocery store, and green onions. I made doenjang jjige, rice, and some side dishes. Jamie made ssamjang. We had wine, too, it was a really great dinner.

Already we were having a wonderful time, and we hadn’t even started filming in Rotorua yet! Soon we would meet Mere and have even more fun!

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9 Comments:

  1. bo Hawaii My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted December 5th, 2011 at 11:13 am | # |

    Emily…. you are the Energizer Bunny!!! I’m exhausted just reading about all your travels! Sounds like it was a wonderful experience for both you and your followers. Wish I could have met Jamie and sweet Mere!

  2. pcmimi malaysia My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 23rd, 2011 at 9:38 pm | # |

    thank you for the great idea on leftover kimbap. in fact, last nite i was thinking if i make kimbap at nite and what if i cannot finish it, what am i going to do? can it be eaten the next day? but it will not taste nice. now, i know i am definitely not wasting any leftover kimbap! thx so much :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 23rd, 2011 at 11:27 pm | # |

      Great! Actually one of my Facebook friends asked for more details. Here they are:

      “Beat eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Heat up your pan and add some cooking oil. Then dip each piece of kimbap into the egg and fry it until all sides are crunchy. Dipping sauce: mix soy sauce and vinegar. Enjoy it!”

  3. DominiqueEchard North Carolina My profile page joined 5/09
    Posted November 23rd, 2011 at 3:29 pm | # |

    How beautiful those earthenware crocks are. I’m running low on store bought gochujang, I think I’d like to get a crock and make my own as well. And yes, what a great idea for leftover kimbap – I’ll make a vegan batter and fry them up next time I’ve got some to use. Nice photos and stories, I enjoyed them very much.

  4. korea4me South Korea My profile page I'm a fan! joined 10/09
    Posted November 23rd, 2011 at 6:40 am | # |

    Love the idea what you do with day old kimbap. I’m gonna remember that one!

  5. JamieF New Zealand My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/11
    Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 7:25 pm | # |

    Oh – I forgot to say the Makgeolli was delicious (of course!) I have the precious recipe tucked away in my homemade Maangchi cookbook and I will be making it again very soon!

    • bookyung california My profile page joined 12/11
      Posted December 10th, 2011 at 4:19 pm | # |

      wow, jamie, i am amazed at your talents! you should open up a restaurant over there :)

  6. JamieF New Zealand My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/11
    Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 7:23 pm | # |

    This post brings back so many wonderful memories! It seems like it was only yesterday that we were in Rotorua cooking every day! I miss you Maangchi! You need to come back so we can do more cooking :) All of my friends miss you too – they loved meeting you. Even though I won a trip to Korea this year, the best part of 2011 for me was Maangchi Gapshida! Oh – by the way, the gochujang is looking great! It is starting to go a little darker in color and the top has dried in the sun. Every day when I go outside I have to go to the gochujang and look inside and smell it and feel how warm the earthenware pot is – it is my new obsession! In three months when it is ready to eat I will send some to Mere and Jill too.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 8:48 pm | # |

      Yes, so did I! When I wrote this story, my good memories came back again! Did it really happen to me? Every single moment during my Gapshida tour was a “dream come true” experience. I don’t think many people in the world can experience this enjoyment.

      Thank you Jamie! I was honored to meet a cooking genius like you. I learned a lot from you, too! I love your approach to attain perfection.

      “Every day when I go outside I have to go to the gochujang and look inside and smell it and feel how warm the earthenware pot is – it is my new obsession!” Jamie, if the top of the gochijang is dry, give it a good stir.

      And the next time you make makgeolli, let me know how it comes out and who drinks it ; )


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