Lunch with the First Lady of Korea

By Maangchi

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
    Posted September 26th, 2011 at 2:56 am | # |

    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
    Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 11:48 am | # |

    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
    Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 10:53 am | # |

    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
    Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 7:31 am | # |

    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
    Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 6:42 am | # |

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

  6. korea4me South Korea joined 10/09
    Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 5:58 am | # |

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

  7. gardo Memphis joined 6/11
    Posted September 21st, 2011 at 11:56 pm | # |

    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
    Posted September 21st, 2011 at 10:13 pm | # |

    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
    Posted September 21st, 2011 at 9:42 pm | # |

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

  10. Naomi L Hong Kong joined 9/11
    Posted September 21st, 2011 at 9:26 pm | # |

    Congratulations Maangchi!! :-)

  11. koralex90 Davis, CA joined 6/09
    Posted September 21st, 2011 at 7:31 pm | # |

    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
    Posted September 21st, 2011 at 7:29 pm | # |

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

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