From the left: me, the First Lady Ms. Yoon-ok Kim, Joon-su Bae (student of The Culinary Institute of America), Marja Vongerichten (host of The Kimchi Chronicles), and Young-han Kim (owner of Ham Ji Bach restaurant)

Today was an awesome day! Korea’s First Lady Ms. Yoon-ok Kim invited me and some other cool Korean food-related New Yorkers to Danji in Manhattan. She wanted to thank us for spreading Korean food and culture and also to get our ideas on how it can be spread even further.

I didn’t want to miss a word of what she had to say about cooking. When she has foreign guests in the Blue House, it sounds like she often makes some dishes for them. I got a few good cooking tips from her, and some ideas for future cooking videos! One interesting thing she told us is that many of her guests love fried dried kelp and royal court stew (called sinseonlo in Korean). She developed her own sinseonlo by adding seafood. She sounds like a very creative cook, and she’s also very down to earth and approachable.

I told the First Lady about some of my website readers, and what kinds of Korean foods they make. She was really interested to hear about you guys.

The lunch we had was prepared by Hooni Kim, the chef and owner of Danji. I was tempted to take a photo of each dish to show all of you but decided not to. I took a picture of the menu instead. : )  Even though it was a comfortable atmosphere, there were lots of people surrounding us during the lunch including Korean media, so taking photos might not be polite.

danji menu We were served:

  1. Hobakjuk (butternut squash soup with sweet rice cake chunks)
  2. Tofu coated with sweet rice flour mixture and fried
  3. Scallion pancake
  4. Braised pork belly, cabbage, and spicy dried radish
  5. Braised cod and beef short ribs
  6. Doenjang jjigae, rice
  7. 3 kinds of kimchi

All of the dishes were fantastic! Hooni’s doenjang jjigae was like a Korean countryside housewife’s doenjang jjigae. I’ll have to ask him where he gets his doenjang. His restaurant will be very successful.

I also got a chance to meet and talk to Marja from The Kimchi Chronicles, who I had never met, but seen on TV. She said she was a big fan of my website! She is really so beautiful and well-spoken.

It was a delicious lunch, with some interesting people, discussing something I’m passionate about: food. Today couldn’t be better!


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

    How exciting! That sounds like a very interesting and delicious lunch. Congrats on such a special event!

  2. IowaWhiteDevil Near Cedar Rapids, IA USA joined 6/11 & has 10 comments

    You are so blessed, Maangchi. That had to be one great experience.

    Living in the (remote) Midwest, I crave great Korean food that I don’t cook myself! :O) (and thanks for all of the pointers, there are several dishes I could not have pulled off w/o your help). That menu looked delicious and made me hungry. It’s probably a good idea you didn’t take pictures as I hear that LCD flat panels don’t taste that good and I would have probably tried to eat the screen!

    You are sooo making me want to go visit Seoul again with the family…

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

    Somehow when I first read the title of this blog post, my brain interpreted it as “Maangchi Named First Lady of Korean Cooking” haha. Although that would also be a great idea. What a wonderful lunch with amazing and interesting people. I can’t wait to see Kimchi Chronicles with Marja when it comes out on DVD and I am always anxiously awaiting your next video/recipe. Congratulations!

  4. Nanya the Netherlands joined 8/10 & has 3 comments

    Cool Maangchi! must be nice to relax and not having to cook this time! can’t wait to see you here in the Netherlands.

  5. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 101 comments

    What a great ‘meetup’ indeed a feather in your cap!

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

    What lovely news, Mangchi! Well done ^__^ That menu sounds delicious!!!

  7. gardo Memphis joined 6/11 & has 4 comments

    This is SO cool….but I bet the First Lady was just as excited and honored to meet you!!!!

  8. Helenloh Malaysia joined 7/11 & has 11 comments

    Wow Maangchi, a feather in your cap! Congratulations on meeting the First Lady of Korea. I am looking forward to meeting you when you come to Malaysia. Hope I dont miss seeing the dates Saranghae

  9. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    What a truly amazing experience! Maybe the restaurant makes their own doenjang?

  10. Naomi L Hong Kong joined 9/11 & has 9 comments

    Congratulations Maangchi!! :-)

  11. koralex90 Davis, CA joined 6/09 & has 48 comments

    Maangchi! WOW! Congratulations!! You’ve met the most famous people in Korean culinary industry as of yet! So jealous!! The world is noticing your passion for Korean food! Fighting! =)

  12. nororu Tijuana Mexico joined 9/11 & has 2 comments

    Wow! Congratulations Maangchi! Keep having fun! \(^^)/

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