Secrets of Korean Cuisine Revealed

While I may doubt that eating only Korean cuisine would keep me slim, I have no doubt that Ms. Yongja Kim is a gifted teacher. With grace and humour and a great depth of knowledge, she adeptly led an assemblage of culinary stars through a tutorial on Korean cuisine last week at the home of the Korean Consulate.

Korean lanterns at the front door

Ms. Kim's new cookbook, The Secret to Staying Young and Slim, Korean Cuisine, is a beautifully photographed and well-designed cookbook. (See review and Bulgogi Recipe, here.) Your restaurant favorites are explained - do you know the difference between Bulgogi and Galbi? - and ingredients are spelled out. As well, she gives brief etiquette tips and serving suggestions. Both the phonetic spelling of Korean terms "GOCHUJANG" and the English terms are given for ingredients (chili paste) - making it easy to find or to ask for ingredients. I recommend H-Mart for Asian groceries.


Grace Niwa, the powerhouse behind New Asian Cuisine (along with Jaden Hair); Tim & Nancy Cushman (O-Ya, read my post on them here); and German Lam (Glam Foods.)

Mrs. Yoon Gyung Kim, wife of the Korean Consulate introduces culinary and consular dignitaries in the audience. (To my embarrassment, she included me!)

Ms Yongja Kim awaiting her intro.

Pajon demo

How to turn pajon.

German volunteers next.

Click through to see more photos and continue reading


I learned two words in Korean:

Ma-si-sseo-sseo-yo (I think?) = Delicious!


Thank you = kamsahamnida!


I had a wonderful lunch with members of the International Women's Club and Raymond Ost and Patricia Yeo at my table.


Now, I'm already cooking my way through the book. Here's my new, authentic galbi. The grated Asian pear adds subtle sweetness. These are so enticing. You eat one piece (snip between the bones with kitchen shears) and then you want another, and another. Soon you're a sated, happy, slightly sticky mess. This afternoon I made beef broth with udon.



Growing up we occasionally ate bulgogi, a recipe my father acquired some how. Always mystified me how a poor white kid from Jersey ended up with a recipe file from faraway places. We had an electric indoor table top grill and there was a giant Tupperware bowl he'd mix his marinade in. We would eagerly await this special meal. I particularly love the combination of hot rice and cold spicy kimchi (he also made his own, telling me how in Korea they ferment it in big clay pots buried just so). Later when my mother would take me back to Japan and we visited a special cousin we delighted in sharing kimchi together, something my mother never enjoyed as much as I do.

These flavors are truly memorable and I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn first hand from teachers like Ms. Yongja Kim, even the boy from Jersey.

Kamsahamnida to Grace Niwa for inviting me and to Mrs. Yoon Gyung Kim for hosting us.

Now go get cooking!


Do you cook Korean food at home? What do you make?

Email me if you'd like a copy of the recipes she shared.