The most thrilling part of sharing my recipes online is when I see how they bring people together. I love to see when families, friends, and loved ones gather to cook and eat Korean food, but even more amazing to me is when people make friends in the comment section of my website, or at meetups I organize. It’s happened many times! It makes sense because you guys all have something in common: a love for Korean home cooking. My longtime readers Reinier and Susanne have become best friends since I met them in my Gapshida tour in 2012. They meet and cook very often and they have even traveled to Korea together!

For years I’ve had an idea for an online gift exchange around Chuseok time, where my readers could be matched to each other and exchange gifts. For various reasons the plan was always delayed, but this year I did it among the readers of my monthly letter.

Chuseok is Korea’s traditional harvest festival and one of its major holidays. It’s on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, on the full moon (also called the Harvest Moon). In modern Korea, it’s a big day for families. No matter where we currently live, we typically travel back to our home towns to spend time with our families. There are some traditional foods we eat such as songpyeon, galbijjim, and sujeonggwa, and many more vegetables, seafoods, and desserts. It’s also a big time for gift-giving, not only to family members and parents but to good friends and business acquaintances. It’s a way of showing thanks and appreciation and having fun.

198 people from around the world signed up for the event and were matched together. We had a few small technical problems but everyone seemed to have a great time meeting each other. I think they had so much fun making new friends! Do you think we should keep doing this once a year? All of my events are going to take place through my newsletter, so join it if you haven’t already.

Below are some of the photos and messages some people sent me about the gift exchange. They gave me permission to use their photos but I’m not using their names to keep their privacy. : )

Chuseok gift
“Thankyou for organising this it was good fun.”
Chuseok gifts
“The gift exchange is amazing! The person I was matched with is such a joy to talk to and is so sweet and kind. We both come from similar situations where we are connecting to our Korean heritage now that we’re older. I’m so, so grateful that you have brought us together and helped form this beautiful friendship! :) Her gift to me was so thoughtful.”
Chuseok gift
“I decided to make a reader’s wrap (a wrap with pockets) for her and get her some other cozy things and some things from NJ since she’s from Canada all the way across the continent! She mentioned that she likes cozy comfort, so I hope she likes what I gave her. In the picture you can see the wrap, a hand warming mug, some tea blended in NJ, and some NJ saltwater taffy.”
Chuseok gift
“My partner and I have been having a blast getting to know each other! Both of us are Korean American so it’s been amazing connecting with someone else that was raised similarly.”
Snack kit
“I got a cool snack kit!! It included tea, ramen, crackers and plenty of yummy desserts!”
Chuseok gift
“He sent me some 된장 and 딸기 고추장! I am so excited to try both. I’ve never heard of different flavored 고추장 before. We both have a love for not only K-Pop (we are both SHINee and Red Velvet fans!) and cooking!”
Chuseok gift
“I absolutely love my gift! My favorite color is yellow (as I told her when she asked) and she delivered! Lots of fun things and the blanket is SO soft! What a FUN idea you had!”
Chuseok gift
“I told my gift buddy that I liked board games and they got me a Korean game!!”
Chuseok gift
“It feels like Christmas! I started wearing the fancy popcorn even though it is close to dinner time! Haha. I can’t wait to have some friends over to make the griddle cakes for them with the griddle cake mix I received!”
Chuseok gift
It’s a lovely piece of kitchen gadgetry along with a set of chopsticks. Definitely will find a use for it!
Chuseok gift
Today I received a lovely package all the way from Cyprus to Melbourne, Australia. So soo exciting. In my gift package I received a cute little Cyprus cup with city landscape design, L’Occitaine hand cream and Olives made in Cyprus!
Chuseok gift
I just received my Chuseok gift and I was surprised how much she gave me, I really appreciate it!


  1. samkwon Northern Virginia joined 10/23 & has 1 comment

    yes! please continue to do a Chuseok gift exchange in the future. this was so much fun! maybe even doing one for Lunar New Year would be a good idea?

  2. sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 311 comments


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