Korean cooking forum topics:
You know, Korean customs are very difficult to navigate.
I grew up in a very traditional Korean home. Sure I was born here in the US but my parents were very strict.
Some of you might know.. but generally men don’t cook in Korean culture. Sadly this means that but for a few recipes I will not be able to enjoy my mother’s cooking when she passes on. Almost ALL that is useful and good in Korean culture comes from cooking.
And no, she will not teach me. And yes, my wife is hopeless in the kitchen. We’ve been together 15 years. It’s ok to be honest! :-p)
On top of this what few times we did manage to convince her, She basically ‘withheld’ key bits of info. This thinking is very common amongst traditional Koreans. Sadly, I wanted to be able to enjoy cooking from my mothers region and even pass this knowledge down to my kids but not going to happen.
What’s worse is todays Koreans know as little as I do. Sometimes less. When my mother leaves this world what she knows goes with her. I keep telling her they don’t have napa cabbage in hell but she doesnt believe me! :-)
Seriously folks, this website is amazing because it serves so many subcultures in the Korean Community.
1) Caucasian spouses who’ve had to endure following recipe books and getting laughed at for legitimate effort. :-)
2) Mixed-race offspring who wish to learn more about 5000 years of food.
3) Adoptees from Korea who are estranged from their culinary birthright… indeed from their entire culture.
4) Young Korean Girls looking to carry the next generation of their Confucian responsibilities.
We all owe an incredible debt of gratitude to Maangchi… which includes recognition of how much we save!! A large jar of Kim Chi here in AZ is like $18 dollars!!!! This is crazy.
I can make 5 of same large jars for about $25 dollars in ingredients. And I have 5 jars of it. You don’t have to be Asian to do that kind of math! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I’m even trying bossam kimchi now. I am the Overlord of Kimchi.
Maangchi I have tried several of your recipes and I have to say you cook very similarly to my mom. It brings back a lot of memories for me.
This website is wonderfully professionally done too.
My 4 dogs thank you too. They LOVE kimchi.
Keep making recipes. Especially ones from Jeolla-do province. And any southern seafood dishes. I like recipes for those little crab kimchi. Do you have one?
Tony in AZ
Great post we share the same frustration trying to learn how to cook Korean food. I am a white guy from the South. So it assumed that there is no way I can learn how to cook Korean. During my time in the Navy I was lucky to have visited Korea 12 times (late 80’s). I was in Busan during the Olympics. While in Korea I always ate local. What I mean is you were more likely to find me at a Haeundae Beach soju tent than at fancy Hotel.
Once me and a friend were out and we got hungry. We were drawn to a small restaurant that looked good and had some great smells coming from it. We went in and sat down. The waitress gave us menus in Korean (she had a worried look on her face). We randomly picked 4 items from different sections of the menu. She could tell that we were guessing (she shook her head no on one item and we followed her advice). When the food came out it was really good and we were eating like crazy (with chop sticks, slurping our soup ect). Now everyone in the restaurant was watching us smiling and laughing. Then more dishes started coming out of the kitchen. Some were Banchan but most were more like samples of main dishes. We had four ladies taking care of us almost like we were kids. So Yes I love Korean food and I am not scared to try anything.
Anyway after the Navy I missed Korean food. I can cook so I looked for Korean cook books (in English). Let’s just say that the results were not that good. The Korean ladies I met who were from the last generation of make it from scratch assumed that there was no way I learn.
But now with You Tube we can watch Maangchi step by step cook Korean food. I watch for the techniques more than the recipes. By learning the techniques I can experiment with other recipes. I will never be as good as my wife’s Aunt who passed away last year. But I can make some good stuff.
wow.. I havent been to Korea in over 20 years. When I watch Korean movies I cant believe how much it has changed. Just last nite I watched:
My Mighty Princess
Both are set in modern day Korea. When you see all those grammas with those huge things of soup on their HEADS walking around…they really work hard to deliver food.
Yeah, white folk get a bum rap in Korean culture. Perhaps its payback for what racism Koreans felt/feel as immigrants here. Personally I think its more that Korean people are very Confucian and very clannish.
I’ve personally been on the ‘outside’ and I’m half Korean. The other half is Scots-Irish, English and Danish nearest I can tell…. all told that means I’d really LIKE to drink but I can’t!!!
You know, I was channel flipping and I passed the Disney Channel. they have a thing called ‘Pass the Plate’ where kids from around the world introduce different dishes and how to cook them. Wow!! If only they had that when I was a kid. What a great way to be positive about opening doors to new cultures. Fascinating that the Disney Channel takes on racism, not in a negative way, but in a positive, culture promoting way. As if to say the best way to take on a subrosa topic like racism is to deal with it the same way.
I really am thankful to Maangchi for her site. Koreans have sheltered and kept to themselves for 5000 years. What was once necessary(sheltering, secretive-ness) to keep their culture constant is now getting in the way. Maangchi has a great heart for our culture and is doing it right. By giving her culture away to all who will listen she is in fact SAVING it…..one spoonful at a time.
I went to Korea last summer for a vacation. It was way different than my first trip. I remember on my first trip to get a decent cup of coffee you had to look for a dunkin donuts (which were hard to find) or go to a very expensive hotel. Now American coffee is every where.
It maybe slow but one thing you can count on is change. Some of it is good and some bad. But Koreans have been adapting to hardship and change for a very long time and they will continue to do so.
Thats wrong…..but funny!
well, maybe the secretiveness that you describe does exist, but not in my korean mom’s case. true, i haven’t gotten any recipes off of her, but this is because she and i don’t use the same units of measurement. i like teaspoons and cups, she likes finger tips and hands. i like minutes and hours, she likes “when it smells ready” or “until it’s done.” whenever she’s tried to relate a recipe of her’s there’d be a lot of sighing and holding of forehead and then, “nevermind” from either me or her or both.
i do agree with thanking maangchi for doing what she does, though. i was able to cook great and authentic-tasting korean food for the first time using her recipes. my mom was muy excited about the whole thing and couldn’t say enough good things about maangchi and her website – so talented!, what a great teacher, they should give her an award, etc., etc., etc.
just thought i’d add my two cents…
I agree, maangchi rocks! My friend jung-min used to cook for me and I never thought to ask her to teach me and now she’s back in seoul. I’m so glad that there are so many recipes for such delicious food. My family loves all the food I’ve been making for the past week. And I’m very happy that there are videos to go along with the recipes. I learned much better cutting techniques and it’s very helpful to know what the food should look like at each stage of the cooking. 감사합니다!
I’d like to join that very long list of grateful viewers of Maangchi’s. She is not only generous in sharing her knowledge, but a calm spirit who guides us w/wit, too! I like her funny bits, whether spoken or added on the video. I can hardly wait to tell my daughter about this site. She was lucky enough to visit Korea about 9 months ago, so I know this will be more meaningful to her.
that starburst comercial was funny btw. Had me rollin.
hey I included maangchi’s website on my personal blog. satorivillage.blogspot.com
Annabanana… yeah my mom is the same way. But she actually would throw stuff in that she won’t tell me about, or not.
Moreover she would change the recipe measurements and it would taste different between the times I was watching and the times I wasnt.
She just really believes that men shouldnt learn how to cook.
In some ways I agree. After all i was raised that way. But, how can I ensure my children grow up the same way I did… with all that good Korean food? So my stomach outweighs my desire to be an alpha-male and now I’m wearing an apron!!!!
So yeah, my mom does the hands and fingers thing…but it isnt hard to translate that into meaningful measurements. She’s just devious when she wants to be.
Like most Korean moms… its her way or else. She makes Palpatine look like an amateur at manipulating. It’s kinda cute now that Im older…but when I was younger I definitely resented it.
I guess it’s ‘or else’ then because I’m hungry!!!
satorivillage.blogspot.com is my blogsite. I plug this one there. everyone should do the same to get the word out about the greatness of maangchi!!!
Oh and one last thing. Does anyone remember the scene in ‘Ratatouille’ where Anton Ego first tastes the soup and it throws him back to the time he was eating his mothers cooking?
That’s what it was like to make my own kimchi and have it come out right. I find with this kimchi recipe it takes about 10 days for it to taste like I bought it at a market. It actually takes awhile to ripen. that makes sense though since markets wouldnt sell any if it fermented too fast.
i disagree with your generalizations – they seem unduly influenced by your experiences with your mom.
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