I arrived at Schiphol airport in the evening and went to my hotel. I had booked the hotel from New York and didn’t think much about it at the time. As long as they provided an internet connection and were located near the city center, it would be fine with me. The hotel in Amsterdam  was the 2nd that I booked when planning this Gapshida project, so I was not a very experienced hotel booker because I didn’t read the reviews on TripAdvisor. Just before I left New York, I checked out TripAdvisor  and I was surprised to see so many negative comments about the hotel.

“Ooh noo I’m going to be staying in a notorious hotel!” I thought.

The comments say, “the hotel is stinky, tiny, dirty, & charging huge fee for internet use…”

I regretted not doing more research. But it was too late by that point. All I could do was to try to like the hotel and make my life happier.

Indeed, the room was so tiny and not rectangular, more of a triangle shape. Tiny bed, toilet, mega tiny shower that I could barely fit into and a little smoky, but the bed sheets and towels were white like snow! Yes, I tried to think the hotel was a good choice at a reasonable price, with a cozy room, and clean bed sheets. I could work on my computer, organize the footage and photos that I took in Canterbury, check out my readers’ comments and questions, handle Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and reply to some important messages. I was absorbed into my work.

In the middle of the night, I felt so cold! Outside was still raining. I found a heater on the corner of the room and turned the knob, but it never got warm. I found myself shivering.

“Maangchi found dead, frozen at the beginning of her Gapshida project!”

No way! What shocking news it would be for my readers. Yes, I needed to survive. I took a hot shower to heat up my body until I felt ok.

Next morning, I asked the hotel manager about the heater. He said, “It must be broken. I will fix it for you today.” The heater was broken! I thought they wanted to save energy. I learned another lesson, “Always ask the front desk for what you want, no matter what time it is, day or night.”

I was going to visit the Van Gogh museum near the hotel, as he’s one of my favourite artists, but I really needed to prepare for the shoot the next day. I stayed in the hotel and worked all day! I made rice with my travel cooker and had it with a few side dishes: a can of seasoned perilla leaves, roasted hot pepper paste, dried anchovies, and dried seaweed. For dinner, I had ramen in a cup and green tea, also in my room. I usually never like to eat ramen but this was an emergency situation. I didn’t have time to go out and look for a nice restaurant.

The next day, Sarah came to my hotel to pick me up. Our big day was starting! I asked the hotel manager to hold my video camera to shoot our meeting scene.

“Sarah, let’s film our dramatic meeting scene!”

“Yay, Maangchi!”

“Yay! Sarah!” Then we laughed together. But the hotel manager said:

“Oh, it doesn’t look natural. You should stand here, and when she comes in, you come over here.” I guess he wants to be a film director!

Sarah is American born, with an American father and a Japanese mother. She came to Amsterdam to study. Now she’s working as a content producer for Schiphol Magazine in Amsterdam. She used to live in Korea for a couple of years when she was in high school. She loved Korean food, and she always wanted to learn how to cook braised spicy chicken with potatoes (called dakbokkeumtang). I asked her what kind of Korean dishes she likes, and she named all kind of spicy foods. Yes, I have a really easy, simple, delicious, Korean countryside housewife’s recipe for dakbokkeumtang! I brought some hot pepper flakes all the way from New York to use in dakbokkeumtang in Amsterdam.

First we went to a Chinese store to buy some Korean ingredients and then we went to an open-air market near her house and bought some fresh chicken, potatoes, garlic, and onion. Sarah said about 20 people will come to the meetup that evening.

We bought onions and potatoes from this lady.


We went to her house; she lives on a boat in the canal. The boat is a long rectangular shape, with a spacious living room, cozy bedroom and a nice canal view! In her small and beautiful kitchen, 3 pieces of her artwork were hung on the wall, and awesome music was on, and she made hot English tea. We had traditional Dutch cookies called stroopwafels. She had made emergency kimchi with regular cabbage and it was in her fridge.

Traditional Dutch cookies stroopwafels

Sarah’s boathouse is located near the windmill.

At about 2:30 pm, her friend Rei Nilde, a student at Nederlandse Film en Televisie Academie came over. We filmed the dakbokkeumtang video. I made lots of rice and a huge amount of dakbokkeumtang for the meetup party. All day cooking, filming, and chatting. I was a little tired but very excited to meet more people soon.

My camerawoman Rei Nilde. She looks like a supermodel!

It was raining and a little cold, but everyone who said they would come showed up! Everybody was in good mood, delicious food, my dakbokkeumtang aroma was all throughout the beautiful romantic boat house. There were even some geese floating on the canal, playing near boathouse. They seemed to love Korean food, too! : )

I showed her how to peel many cloves at once. She was surprised to see the method. Sarah’s job was crushing lots of garlic! I said: “Your house will be safe from Dracula’s attacks for a year!” : )

My dakbokkeumtang (braised spicy chicken with potatoes) made with 5 kilograms of chicken

It was a potluck party, so everybody brought a dish. Some people brought Korean dishes, and some people brought wine, beer, dessert, and special Dutch candy. Other foods included hobakjeon (zucchini pancake), kimchi, japchae, steamed sticky rice, rice cake with vegetables, an Indonesian style meat dish, my spicy braised chicken (dakbokkeumtang), Korean style seasoned cucumber, and a jar of pickled herring. Someone brought homemade Dutch pancakes. All their food was tasty and fantastic.

Sarah’s emergency kimchi

Arun loved dakbokkeumtang. “This is very delicious! It’s not spicy at all for me!”

Jidi Xu and me. “I love Korean dramas and Korean food! I make delicious Korean food at home!”

“Everybody, come up to this stage for take the photo!” : )

“I don’t know what to taste first! Exciting!”

Jeoff is a Korean American artist and works as a freelance illustrator in Amsterdam. His Korean vegetable pancake was fantastic!

Cute Honey can chop very fast! : )

Marise and me. She brought 2 kinds of Korean dishes: yubuchobap and stir-fried rice cake with vegetables

“Maangchi, please taste our traditional Dutch pancake!”

Leann Reemer says, “I have been cooking Korean food for years!” Her kimchi was super tasty!

Anastasia and me.

After eating, time to relax and chat!

Mr. Wilson who is working in California USA, was visiting Amsterdam to meet his friends. He brought 3 different kinds of Korean pancakes (made with vegetables, beef, and fish). I can tell his cooking skill is awesome!

Fun fun!

I was so happy to be surrounded by all these foodies! It was a great party and I really had a wonderful time. I would definitely like to come back to Amsterdam, and this time I might even make it to the Van Gogh museum!


  1. LuccaQ Buffalo,NY joined 6/10 & has 30 comments

    I’m going back and reading your Gapshida stories as I cook the different recipes that you made while on your world tour. It all sounded like so much fun. I hope one day you can make a Gapshida Part 2. Thank you for sharing you stories! They always bring a smile to my face.

  2. chef Benedict Manila, Philippines joined 11/11 & has 45 comments

    netherlands, also reminds me of many things, but i havent been… first of all there are many things that describes netherlands…. tulips, windmills, waffles, wooden shoes, KLM and more… by the way i can say anything that i have a teacher friend when i was in 4th year HS who is teaching in elementary here in the philippines who is also a filipina and she got married with a dutch guy… then again, they have a first son already! :D and she planned to stay in netherlands… and also reminding me of there are some expats here in the philippines too…

  3. Choon Amsterdam, Netherlands joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

    Hey! I just moved to Amsterdam, and would love to meet some Korean foodies. Where do you guys shop? I think I have to make some emergency kimchee soon. I made some gorigomtang this week, but it’s not the same without gakdugi.

    • sarahnats Amsterdam joined 10/10 & has 2 comments

      Hi Choon,

      Welcome to Amsterdam! It would be great to plan another meet up at my place in the spring with all the Korean foodies in the area since it was such a success with Maangchi! I shop at Shilla in Amstelveen, its half japanese half korean. They definitely have the best selection in the city. :)

  4. KoreaLoverGirl87 Germany joined 11/11 & has 2 comments

    Next time come to Hamburg,Germany aswell….:D

  5. nanasse Amsterdam - Paris joined 10/11 & has 17 comments

    “Maangchi found dead, frozen at the beginning of her Gapshida project!”
    nooooooooo ! Haha it’s true that you were really unlucky with the weather, it was awful these days!

    In which Market did you go to? Albert Cuyp Market?

    This meeting was great, I loved meeting you and all these nice foodies ^__^
    And all the dishes including your delicious dakbokkeumtang were wonderful!
    I hope my Japchae was tasty too~

    Anyway, I wish you will come back to Amsterdam or visit Paris next time ;)


  6. mokpochica Michigan joined 1/09 & has 89 comments

    Yum! What a spread. Now not only do I want to try and make a bunch of different Korean foods, but I also want to try my hand at Dutch pancakes!

  7. robcapazzi Fort Myer, VA joined 12/08 & has 2 comments

    Fun story!

  8. tomco1025 California, USA joined 9/11 & has 11 comments

    “All I could do was to try to like the hotel and make my life happier.” I love your positive attitude and outlook on things! I think it’s the best way to be. Way to go Maangchi! This seems like a great trip so far and you are meeting so many nice, interesting people. The food sounds and looks delicious too, I can’t wait to learn more!

  9. pucca joined 3/11 & has 9 comments

    Sounds like a really fun time, though that first night in the hotel sounded miserable. I can’t wait for the recipe for dakbokkeumtang! (hint, hint ;)

  10. korea4me South Korea joined 10/09 & has 55 comments

    Looks like it was a fantastic evening. I hope you make it to the museum one day, too, Mangchi! ^__^

  11. paul joined 4/10 & has 2 comments

    aaa!!!! maangchi i am so pumped about your dakbokkeumtang! i’ve actually been waiting for this moment, and it’s cool that it’s happening in amsterdam, ha. congratulations, hope yr havin an amazing trip so far. safe travels, and i hope u return safely with lots of bomb memories of food! miss ya!

  12. iknitfabric Gainesville, FL, USA joined 10/11 & has 1 comment

    Please tell me how to peel many cloves at once! What you are doing is SO GREAT! Go, Maanchi! Go!

  13. littlez Boca Raton, FL joined 8/11 & has 11 comments

    I would love to be in Maangchi’s fan club. She’s awesome!! Please tell me how I can help.

    Thanks, Cheryl :)

  14. Attention people of France:
    I’m Korean- American now living in Marseille, South of France.
    I want to start a fan club of Maanchi and would like to know who is out there…
    Alexis Jung Cho- Dupuy

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