Leah Shofstahl

This time our Korean Food Fan is Leah Shofstahl from Virginia! Her interest in Korean food started when she was very young, and her father developed a taste for kimchi and introduced it to his family. Now that she’s older she makes Korean food for her own family. Check out her beautiful manju!

What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Leah and I live in the mountains of Virginia.

Tell me about the first time you ever tasted Korean food. Where were you, and what did you eat?
My dad was in the US Army and I remember he went to Korea for a few weeks when I was about 8 years old and come home with a love of kimchi. We moved around a lot but whenever we were near a store where he could buy it I remember he would eat it with our basic southern food like beans and cornbread. When I was 17 we moved to Japan and a friend took us to eat at a Korean bbq restaurant. I started eating kimchi on a regular basis during my 5th pregnancy when my midwife suggested I add more probiotic rich foods to my diet. I also spent a lot of time on partial bedrest and I got hooked on watching Korean dramas. The first Korean food I cooked for myself was gamjaguk after seeing it prepared on “Stars Falling From The Sky”.

How often do you cook Korean food following my recipes?
I cook Korean food probably 2-3 times a week. I homeschool my 5 children so we are home all day, they love a simple lunch of rice, steamed eggs, and any banchan we have in the fridge.

What are your favorite Korean dishes? Choose 3, please!
Kimchi. I make my own now and I eat it every day.

I love doenjangjjigae, it is so filling and healthy tasting to me. I make it at least once a week.

My family loves ssam (lettuce wrap), I usually use bulgogi or dwaeji bulgogi.

What’s your best Korean dish, the one that everybody compliments you on when you make it?
I asked my kids and they said bulgogi and cucumber kimchi.



Doenjangjjigae with gutjuli Doenjangjjigae  (Korean soybean paste stew) with geotjeori (spicy mixed salad)



  1. Vesper Amsterdam, the Netherlands joined 7/14 & has 1 comment

    WOW, your food looks great! I think I will try my hand at making Doenjangjjigae myself next!

  2. Just_Tina Washington DC Metro Area joined 7/10 & has 8 comments

    You go, Leah! My dad is a Japanese American who was in the Army and fought in the Korean War. When he returned state side (Ft. Lewis), he introduced us to kimchi (I’m actually japanese/chinese) so I grew up eating this stuff. In fact, it is my love for kimchi that got me started to cook Korean. I even make my own kim chi. Like you, I LOVE doenjang jjigae but what I really love are miyeokguk and soegogi- muguk. Of course, I’m always game for kimchi jjigae.

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