Here’s my interview with Yen and photos of Korean dishes that she made. She first contacted me in November 2010, “I just want to let you know that I’ve finally made japchae, not once but three times already..”

She explained how delicious her japchae turned out. The first time her japchae was made with her husband’s help and by the 3rd time, she had impressed her mother-in-law visiting from New York. Her mother-in-law was very surprised to hear that she made such a delicious dish just by watching a video, not face to face! The mother-in-law told Yen she would make japchae for Christmas.

When I read her message, I felt she is very caring and warm-hearted, and I felt like we had known each other for a long time even though we have never met.  She has been blogging since she was in college.

What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Yen and I live in the Philippines.

Yen and her husband James

What do you do and how many family members do you have?
I am a housewife, I love cooking new dishes for my husband, aside from baking cookies and cupcakes. I have one younger brother, my mom and my dad – I should include  my 2 year old Rottweiler, Max, and the youngest, Pom-pom, almost a year old Pomeranian spitz who knows a lot of tricks.

How often do you cook Korean food following my recipes?
When my husband and I ate at a Korean restaurant a few years back, I knew I had to look for a japchae and bibimbap recipe. Also, Korean dramas are a hit here in the Philippines and I got so curious about their food. That’s when I accidentally found Maangchi’s videos on YouTube and I ended up watching all of them! I wanted to try your recipes but was too scared to do it – so it took me a few weeks before I had the courage to make my first korean dish – uhmook bokkeum. Nowadays, I cook korean dishes twice a month.

What are your favorite Korean dishes? Choose 3, please!
It would have to be japchae, bibimbap, and kimchi. I love vegetables, rice and spicy foods. If you make me choose between meats (pork, beef or chicken) and vegetables, I will choose vegetables!

Steamed pork buns (jjinppang mandu)

Spicy stir-fried fish cake (uhmook bokkeum)

Sweet pancake with brown sugar syrup (hoddeok)

kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae)

What’s your best Korean dish, the one that everybody compliments you on when you make it?
That would have to be japchae. My husband loved it the first time I made it! When I made this in my mother in law’s house, she liked it too and even asked for the recipe.

Stir-fried noodles with vegetables and meat (Japchae)


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

    Yen, everything looks great! I love that your mother-in-law asked for your chapchae recipe! What a happy husband you must have. After looking at your photos I am craving hoddeok too. And by the way, you look stunning in your wedding picture. :)

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

    You know, Yen’s dishes look really good… particularily the japchae.. which is difficult to make correctly, IMHO.

    It was told to me the two times I was honored to visit households in Seoul that Japchae is a traditional dish to serve “special guests” because, although it uses simple ingredients that it requires quite a bit of work and finesse to get right. Also the smell is very distinctive and it permeates from apartment to apartment so it tends to announce to others that you are having a “special guest” over. (So it’s really appropriate for the “mother-in-law”! :O) )

    I think it’s my wife’s favorite dish but, although I’m fairily accomplished for a white guy in Iowa with four adopted Korean-American children on the art of Korean cooking, it is one dish I still haven’t gotten quite right. (So she doesn’t get Japchae very often! :( )

    So Yen, since yours looks (better than) right.. I wouldn’t fear any other of Maangchi’s recipes. I think you have it down. :) Nice job on all of the pictures!

    Maangchi, thank you of course. I don’t always (but usually I do) agree 100% with you on the recipes, but the techniques you taught me was not stuff I could learn out of the “HOLLYM” English cookbook I brought back from Seoul in 2001! I wish you continued great success on your YouTube cooking show!

  3. daveeh manila joined 6/11 & has 2 comments

    hi maangchi. its nice to hear that u interviewed someone from my country, Philippines. im from manila and i would like to congratulate u for ur wonderful recipes. i learned a lot from u and impressed my husband with my korean prepared dishes, thanks to u. i hope i can prepare these dishes to my parents-in-law. they’re coming this august from korea. wish me luck!

  4. samsontan Saipan, CNMI joined 6/11 & has 1 comment

    very impressive!!!

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