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Lunch with the First Lady of Korea

By Maangchi

From the left: me, the First Lady Ms. Yoon-ok Kim, Joon-su Bae (student of The Culinary Institute of America), Marja Vongerichten (host of The Kimchi Chronicles), and Young-han Kim (owner of Ham Ji Bach restaurant)

Today was an awesome day! Korea’s First Lady Ms. Yoon-ok Kim invited me and some other cool Korean food-related New Yorkers to Danji in Manhattan. She wanted to thank us for spreading Korean food and culture and also to get our ideas on how it can be spread even further.

I didn’t want to miss a word of what she had to say about cooking. When she has foreign guests in the Blue House, it sounds like she often makes some dishes for them. I got a few good cooking tips from her, and some ideas for future cooking videos! One interesting thing she told us is that many of her guests love fried dried kelp and royal court stew (called sinseonlo in Korean). She developed her own sinseonlo by adding seafood. She sounds like a very creative cook, and she’s also very down to earth and approachable.

I told the First Lady about some of my website readers, and what kinds of Korean foods they make. She was really interested to hear about you guys.

The lunch we had was prepared by Hooni Kim, the chef and owner of Danji. I was tempted to take a photo of each dish to show all of you but decided not to. I took a picture of the menu instead. : )  Even though it was a comfortable atmosphere, there were lots of people surrounding us during the lunch including Korean media, so taking photos might not be polite.

danji menu We were served:

  1. Hobakjuk (butternut squash soup with sweet rice cake chunks)
  2. Tofu coated with sweet rice flour mixture and fried
  3. Scallion pancake
  4. Braised pork belly, cabbage, and spicy dried radish
  5. Braised cod and beef short ribs
  6. Doenjang jjigae, rice
  7. 3 kinds of kimchi

All of the dishes were fantastic! Hooni’s doenjang jjigae was like a Korean countryside housewife’s doenjang jjigae. I’ll have to ask him where he gets his doenjang. His restaurant will be very successful.

I also got a chance to meet and talk to Marja from The Kimchi Chronicles, who I had never met, but seen on TV. She said she was a big fan of my website! She is really so beautiful and well-spoken.

It was a delicious lunch, with some interesting people, discussing something I’m passionate about: food. Today couldn’t be better!

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