Here is my interview with Roberth and some photos of Korean dishes that he made! When you read his interview and look at the photos, you’ll see what an adventurous person he is.
What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Roberth (pronounced “Robert”) Rodriguez. My family is from Peru. I was born and raised here in NYC. I currently live in the Bronx.
What do you do and how many family members do you have?
My grandmother was the first one to come to the U.S. She came here in the late 50’s with her employers. After attaining legal status, she petitioned for my mother to come. My mother brought my father over in 1981. One year later, my sister was born. Two years after that, it was my turn.
I have an aunt, uncle and many cousins here in the U.S., all of them in New York. Once you count all my aunts, uncles and cousins in Peru, Spain and Italy; it becomes almost too may to count.
My father works in a luxury residence building in Tribeca as a concierge. My mother works for a conference hotel in Times Square in the employee cafeteria. I follow suit by working at a Midtown boutique hotel’s front desk. My sister works on the Upper West Side.
When did you find my website?
One thing I love to do is travel. When I travel, one way I immerse myself in the culture is to try the local cuisine, especially if it’s something I can’t get in the U.S. I’ve had blowfish in Japan, tofu in Hong Kong, variety meats in China, ful in Egypt, apple tea in Turkey, tapas in Spain, moussaka in Greece and limoncello in Italy.
In the Spring of 2010, I visited Korea on a tour. For the first time, I had kimchi, musaengchae, dog meat, mung bean jelly, soju and even fish pancakes. But what really grabbed me was this dish they called “cold noodle soup.” I found out later its name was naengmyun. I had to find the recipe.
Google led me to Maangchi and the rest is history.
How often do you cook Korean food following my recipes?
I started cooking Korean food only on special occasions. For example, last Thanksgiving I made hobakjuk. This Thanksgiving, I made jjinppang mandu. Lately, I’ve been making something every week. I even mix in some Peruvian and Japanese dishes into my routine, like lomo saltado (Peruvian-Chinese fusion beef stir-fry) and dango (Japanese tofu dumplings).
If anything, I have to thank Maangchi for showing me the benefits of cooking at home vs. ordering out all the time. 감사합니다!
jjajangbap: He replaced noodles with rice
What are your favorite Korean dishes? Choose 3, please!
- Kimchi – the very first of Maangchi’s recipes that I made
- Jatjuk (pine nut porridge) – simplest of all her recipes… and delicious too!
- Bibimbap – the first dish I ordered on my first visit to Koreatown (at Kum Gang San)
What’s your best Korean dish, the one that everybody compliments you on when you make it?
Japchae – I’ve made this twice so far and, this weekend, I’ll be making this for a third time. Despite the many ingredients needed, making this dish comes very easily to me. It reminds me of tallarin saltado, a Peruvian noodle stir fry.