36 hours in Philadelphia

By Maangchi

A few months ago, one of my readers on Facebook told me that I shouldn’t miss the Korean exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I have some friends who live in Philadelphia, so I figured that going on Memorial Day weekend would be a good chance to take a break from finishing my upcoming cookbook, explore Philadelphia, visit my friends, check out some treasures from Korea, and of course taste some delicious food!

I am happy to report that my trip was successful in every way!

First stop, as soon as I got off the train, was to check out a local Korean grocery store : ), so I went to the H Mart in Upper Darby!

Hmart PhiladelphiaHMartHMart1Koreangrocery

It was great! I could stay there hours and hours, checking all the cooking ingredients, new brands of sauces and pastes, and inspecting the quality of each ingredient. That store is well stocked, clean, large, and had a wide variety of Korean ingredients, from fresh napa cabbage and Korean radish, cucumber, to packaged and dried vegetables, grains, powders, sauces, and even sticky rice syrup. I wish we had a Korean grocery store like this in Manhattan!


Afterwards, I was looking around the kitchenware section. Someone approached me: “Are you Maa..?”

Before she finished, I said: “Yes!” It was real surprise!

She said: “Oh my god! I came here to shop for groceries to make your recipes!” Her name is Linda and she came with her son, Preston.

“Wha? what are you going to make?” She showed me some photos on her phone: “Maangchi, look at these, I’m saving all your recipe photos here!” She and I had never met before but I really felt she was like one of my old friends or relatives, or my younger sister. You know what I mean? I felt really connected to her.


In the food court upstairs I had nakji-bibimbap (bibimbaop with octopus), which was really delicious & fresh, and very cheap.

Philadelphia museum of art

The Korean exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art was the best Korean exhibit I’ve ever seen in North America. It had many beautiful pieces from Korea, many of which I had never seen, myself. My American friends were very impressed and in particular were interested in the King’s seal, which was made of gold and in the shape of a turtle!

I thought the white porcelain was especially beautiful, and the traditional clothing on display was remarkable for how bold, colorful, & sophisticated it was, never gaudy. I’d love to have a hanbok like that someday.

Treasures of korea


It’s too bad they wouldn’t let me take photos in there, I’d love to show you guys what’s inside. Also, the exhibit is now finished, so if you didn’t go already, you missed it. But it will be at LACMA in LA from June 29 to September 28, and then MFAH in Houston from November 2 to January 11 (2015). If you get chance to go, definitely check it out!


That museum is also famous for the movie Rocky, because part of it was filmed there, when rocky was training and running up the steps. There were a lot of people reenacting the movie, running up the steps and holding their hands above the air when they reached the top. It was fun to see!

Rocky shoes

When Rocky got to the top, he stood in this spot.


We were all hungry after the museum, so we went looking for food and ended up at the Dandelion pub where I had this handsome hamburger.


We had kind of beer party until 2 am, chatting and listening to music. I can’t drink much, so whenever my friends asked me: “How much shall I pour into your glass?”
I answered: “Maybe 1 tablespoon.”
“Oh that’s delicious so give me 2 tablespoons, please! ” : )


These airy crispy macarons were made by my friend. It was perfect match with delicious coffee!

Soon my short visit was over, but I will definitely be back to Philadelphia to check out more. Next time I’ll try to plan a meetup with some of my Philly readers!
See you soon!


  1. jeancho Philadelphia joined 9/10 & has 2 comments

    Oh, I am such a fan and would love to meet up if you are ever back in Philadelphia. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and stories–you are an excellent cook and teacher and your recipes bring back great memories of my mother, who was an amazing cook.

  2. lcheng1268 Philadelphia joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi! It’s Linda, I was so ecstatic to meet you in person in Philadelphia. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw you especially going to H-mart to shop for your very own delicious recipes. You’re such a wonderful lady, very down to earth, and extremely kind. I also felt the same connection for the brief moment we spent together like if we knew each other for long time. I made your sweet fried crispy wings, vegetable pancakes, jap chae, and BBQ ribs! All turned out so yummy yummy! Everyone couldn’t get enough of it! I have been watching your great videos for the past 6 years! Keep up the amazing work! I wish you much success, you certainly deserve it! Very beautiful picture!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Hi Linda! oh, thank you so much for your nice message!
      It was a great surprise running into you at the store! I’m so happy to hear that all the dishes for the Memorial Day Party were a big hit!

      You have been watching my videos for 6 years! It sounds like you can make all kinds of Korean dishes now. Good luck with your Korean cooking!

    • hehbaragih Philadelphia joined 9/14 & has 1 comment

      Linda~!!!! I recognized you from the photo with Maangchi!!! omg, how are you?!?! you look great! Your son is adorable!

      Hello Maangchi!! I am a huuuuuuuuuge fan of yours. (I went to High School with Linda that you met in Philadelphia!) Thank you for posting all your GREAT recipes! It really helped me cook in my first year of marriage— my hubby thanks you! hahaha :D I am glad you had a good time at the Phila Art Museum! You are awesome!

  3. susan g New Hampshire joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    I’m glad you got to see that exhibit. We were there a week ago, and thought it was the best museum experience in the city. So impressed with all the things you mention, and also how long the rule lasted, how education was so important — while Europe had little of either. Seeing the living spaces was impressive too, all so elegant. How well the ruling class lived. Only food was missing! It’s about an 8 hour drive for us, and we stayed 5 days. I hope you’ll make more discoveries so we can follow your footsteps in the future. (For beautiful Korean ceramics, the best I’ve seen is in Salem MA.)

    • ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

      Susan…perhaps we could convince Maangchi to have a meet up in southern New Hampshire! I would consider hosting at my house! Also we have a Korean restaurant and several Korean markets nearby to help us prepare and to hang out! Maybe even a day trip to Boston! What do you think?


      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

        Dave, I’d love to see your garden and your harvest! If you’re willing to host a meetup, let’s talk about it!

        • ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments


          That’s awesome! My wife & sister-in-law and I have have discussed this idea in the past so let me review it with them. If they are still willing to do it, I will send you an email and we can start a plan. If we did do it i would want to do it at harvest time so that we can make kimchi from my garden veggies. So that gives us a few months to plan.

          Thank you for your consideration! 선생님 감사합니다! ^__^

  4. nicholashe43 Ca joined 5/14 & has 3 comments

    Can you plz make nakji-bibimbap I love it so much


  5. Lotus1004 Philadelphia, PA joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    Wow! I’m so happy you enjoyed your visit in Philadelphia! I saw the Korean exhibit on Monday and it was so great!! It got me very excited for my trip to Seoul that I am taking in August. :) If you comeback sometime, I hope you will have a meet-up. I would love to meet the wonderful lady who taught me how to make all the delicious food I love to eat!!

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