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this used to be a blog about a korean, learning to cook korean food. however, now that i've actually MOVED to korea, i'm not only blogging about the korean food, but also the trials and tribulations of trying to satisfy cravings while living in the cleveland of south korea, daegu.


kitchen gadgets snack! pantry order this!


19 June 11

The Best Fish House, Pusan

greetings, long time no see! 

for those of you unfamiliar with south korean geography, daegu is situated very close to pusan, the second largest city. it’s this huge, sprawling mass of city snaking along the coast and in between somewhat ill-placed mountains. when you look at it, it seems like it has no pattern whatsoever. you realize this is absolutely true as you try to make it across the city on the subway and it takes you 1.5 hours. 

but coastal cities = delicious and fresh seafood. you can find a plethora of traditional korean markets all throughout the city, but there is only one JAGALCHI.

jagalchi market - this place is the hub of all things seafood. it’s also seedy as hell, despite the shiny, fancy new “seafood center” building which serves as the cleaned up version of the old school. fear not, you authentic-experience seekers. directly to the side of this behemoth, the original jagalchi market sits, unscathed. you can snake down the alley and gawk at whale meat purveyors (legal?), marvel at the millions of different alien looking shellfish, and take in all of the glorious stinky smells.

the fish, all splayed out.

it’s down this alley you’ll also find stalls and stalls of fish restaurants. translated, they call it “grilled fish” but, i would probably call it more of a “griddled fish.” actually, it’s one step away from fried in its own fishy oils. after searching korean blogs, i found that most people were headed to “the best fish house” (so obviously translated. in korean it would be jae-il hwet jip, or 제일횟집). for about $6.50 per person, you can get a variety of almost-fried fish, the normal bounty of ban-chan (side dishes), rice, and a heady soup made of fish innards with bean sprouts and blood cubes. get ready for it though, because it’s full of your typical drunk and loud korean ajushis and sassy ajumas. 

fish for 2 (sang-sun-goo-ee). i believe we received some hairtail, flounder, red snapper, and one other un-named but delicious fish.

22 May 11

when life gives you lemons, make…HASH

"The American Breakfast." it’s quite popular here in daegu, but it usually just consists of eggs, bacon, pancakes, toast. kind of like a denny’s grand slam (definitely way more than $1.99…). some places even make decent omelets. but one thing glaringly missing from most, if not all, breakfast offerings is the breakfast sausage. i find it so weird that you can find a hot dog baked/fried/chopped up in almost everything, but no breakfast sausages. 

luckily, my mom had sent me a little jar of dry, rubbed sage, which meant it was time for me to make a little batch of breakfast sausage at home. i did mine with ground pork, sage, oregano (no marjoram here), thyme, honey, chili powder, korean dried chili flakes, salt and pepper. it turned out pretty good! 

so obviously, a hash was in order. i cooked up some of the meat and set it aside on a paper towel to drain. while that was happening, i parboiled some small cubed potatoes. then i sauteed onion, red pepper, minced garlic and spicy green chili in butter and olive oil, along with those meat juices. then i added the potatoes, and let everything get all golden and delicious. then i stirred the sausage back in, sprinkled some cheese on top, and cracked a couple eggs and let those cook. some of the cheese pooled to the bottom, creating many delicious chewy/crunchy browned cheese bits. 

now i just need to get a mini-oven so i can make some biscuits. or go to popeye’s…

the parsley and tomato made it a well rounded meal…

26 April 11

what to do with candied kumquats pt 1

let me preface this by saying, i understand this is not a groundbreaking dessert, by any means. but please consider this, we found non-dairy coconut milk ice cream up in this backwards-ass place. not only that, we found it the day after i decided to make candied kumquats…wtf.

he moves in mysterious ways.

24 April 11

i’m not dead!

but… kind of is. the truth of the matter is, i kept procrastinating on renewing the domain name and now it belongs to someone else.  while it doesn’t REALLY effect you all, my tumblr brethren, it does make things annoying for everyone else (myself included). 

why did i procrastinate? well, for starters i was studying my little butt off for the TOPIK exam (korean proficiency test for foreigners). also, i hadn’t been feeling as inspired. looking back, i blame the shitty, bleak korean winter. never in my life did i think i would be talking about recovering from chilblains, but there you have it. i had chilblains but now i’m better.

now that things are thawing out, i’m finding myself cooking and generally thinking about food a lot more! also, it helps that i finally discovered it’s like only the dry goods section of whole foods, online, and they ship to south korea (7 pounds of bob’s red mill steel cut oats coming my way…).  

so, i’m back on the scene! to tide you over, here are some candied kumquats that i made (and even packaged up real nice-like)! 


19 March 11

rainy day DUH moment: kaya french toast

french toast+kaya toast= a true DUH moment.

this morning, we were blessed with yet another rainy sunday. that meant sleeping in and leisurely getting around to some sort of delicious, gut-busting breakfast.

i was thinking of recreating my favorite breakfast staple from our trip to singapore and malaysia - the kaya toast (coconut jam and butter between 2 thin slices of toast). but then i realized we had all of the things to make french toast and all of a sudden my brains exploded out of my head while my hands went about making the most sinfully extravagant breakfast this tiny kitchen has ever seen.

bathe me in egg!

it was as simple as dipping a kaya and butter sandwich into your basic french toast batter. i used 3 eggs, a few dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, and a couple generous tablespoons of honey. finished with a drizzle of honey (real maple syrup is ridiculously expensive here, and i would rather not start up with that corn syrup jemima stuff) and a side of yogurt and strawberries, it was a great way to start a lazy rainy sunday. 

don’t understand the physics of this shot, but here you are: KAYA!

6 March 11

the return to andong

andong, i told you i’d be back.

how andong glorifies the chicken.

the lure of the famous “andong jjim dak” was strong enough to make me book it back to the godforsaken town, boyfriend in tow. for one cannot eat jjim dak alone.

jjim means to braise. dak means chicken. get it? it’s an entire chicken that’s been chopped up into pieces, then braised in a sweet and spicy soy based sauce with vegetables and sweet potato noodles. the noodles and the vegetables soak up the delicious sauce, that is (yes, the ubiquitous) sweet and spicy, but also pleasantly gamey and garlicky. it also comes with a side of cool pickled daikon radish cubes, a chicken’s trusty side-kick in korea.

there are many jjim restaurants to be found in daegu, but if you want to taste something really special, you gotta go to jjim’s hometown. here, in this crazy looking traditional market, there’s an entire alley that is dedicated to jjim-dak restaurants. this particular one was recommended to me by my coteacher, who heard it from a friend, who lives in andong, that it serves some of the best. you know how it is. i’m sure any of the restaurants serve up delicious jjim fare, but it makes the whole task less daunting to have a destination in mind. 

SO, if you ever find yourself in central south korea, i’d say it’s worth a detour!

"i told you i’d be back!"

1 March 11

how to make a salsa.

this is my attempt at making one of those non-chunky style red salsas that you usually see at tex-mex restaurants in the states. i’ve listed the recipe below, for all of my fellow ex-pats stranded here in daegu. all of the ingredients were purchased at the chilsung homeplus (the main one by lotte department store).

so, lately my camera lens has been making this weird, crunchy sound every time i turn it on. does that mean it’s time for a new camera? does that excuse the terrible photo?


4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (alternately, use a can of tomatoes)

2 spicy green peppers (like the ones you get with ssambap), seeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped

1 small onion (or half of a large onion), chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 scallion stalks, you guessed it - chopped

juice from a lazy lime (lemon juice and/or white vinegar could sub)

cumin (also labeled as ground coriander)


* YOU WILL NEED A FOOD PROCESSOR. i bought a mini one from costco for less than 30,000 won.



to peel a tomato: prepare an ice bath (large bowl with ice cubes and water). grab a pot that can accommodate all 4 tomatoes, use it to get some water boiling. score an “X” on the bottom of the tomato. drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for a minute, or until the thin skin around the X starts to lift up. drop the tomatoes into the ice bath. once cool, the skin will peel off easily. quarter the tomatoes, pulling out and discarding the pulp (you can keep the pulp if you like a watery salsa). chop and put into a bowl.

or - open up your can of tomatoes and place into your veggie bowl.

to roast a pepper: get your gas burner going. hold the pepper over the flame (using tongs!) until it is nicely charred all around (black is good). throw it into a plastic bag and close it up. come back to it in a few minutes and the charred peel will fall right off. chop up you roasted pepper, discarding the core, seed and stem. place into bowl with tomato.

add the rest of your chopped vegetables into the bowl. in turns (if you have a mini processor like mine), pulse the vegetables in your food processor to desired consistency (i like mine to be pretty well blended, as you can see in the picture). transfer the salsa to a new bowl. keep it up until everything has been salsa-fied. now, season the salsa to however you like with cumin, salt, pepper and lime juice (most likely will be about a tablespoon of salt, 1/2 tablespoon of pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of cumin). be liberal with the lime juice, i was surprised at how much it took to get it to that “salsa tartness” that i wanted. if you like, you can heat up a little oil in a frying pan and cook the salsa for a second over medium-high heat to thicken it up a little.

it seems like a lot of work, but it makes quite a bit of salsa. so make sure you get a bag of tortilla chips to eat up the leftovers! it also beats the heck out of whatever pace picante salsa you’ll find at costco. that stuff is weird.

28 February 11

huevos rancheros (waygook cravings, tex-mex edition)

thank god for friends who live in california, who decide to go home for a week during their winter break, ask me what i want,  and actually lug 2 baggies of corn tortillas back with them! LOVE you.

also, thank god for cold and rainy sundays that have been forecast days in advance, so you are made well aware (with the help of all of your korean co-teachers, who constantly remind you that it’s going to be a shitty weekend) enough to plan in advance!

put those two things together and you get: HUEVOS RANCHEROS, obviously. 

it was pretty simple, actually:

-2 corn tortillas, toasted in a pan with a little butter (i like to sprinkle a little cheese in between them),

-topped with stewed black beans (black beans cooked with onion, spicy pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder)

-2 eggs, over easy

-home made salsa (recipe to follow)

sprinkle more cheese and garnish with spicy pepper and scallion. the only thing glaringly missing was cilantro, of course. remember my minor miracle? turns out i must have been hallucinating because i haven’t seen cilantro anywhere since last november. despite the omission, it was a brunch dream come true. 

"south of the border," a good thing when you’re talking about korea.

15 February 11

i finally did it (aka - korean pizza time)

new york has motorino. south korea has


more like america has papa john’s, while south korea’s still got that mister (although there is a papa john’s in downtown daegu). and apparently, with his slogan of “love for women,” he really knows how to win over the ladies. 

i won’t lie. i’ve been a handful of times. you see, they’ve got this salad bar. when’s the last time you saw a bonafide salad bar? the salad days, i’m sure. it’s one of those salad bars that justifies the various heavy duty mayonnaise based “salads” with a sparse selection of fresh vegetables like iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes…and that’s it. they also have a “yogurt bar,” which is basically sweet, vanilla yogurt with your choice of toppings: sugary fruity cereal, sugary chocolatey cereal, sugary fruit syrup, or honey. 

up until now, i’ve always had to satiate my pizza cravings with the more conventional selections from the mister (that is, when i didn’t feel like walking my ass to costco…sad). they’ve got things like “the new york combo” which is your basic pepperoni/ham/green pepper/onion type of thing. they also offer different types of crusts: original, cheese ring, gold, and cookie (yes, COOKIE - from what i’ve been told, it’s dinner and dessert, all in one). 

this time around, i decided to do the right thing, and get the most korean looking pizza that i would ostensibly be able to enjoy (that meant skipping over the cookie crust, sorry people). behold, the “potato gold pizza:” reaches for the gold…and grabs it!

on this tomato sauced pizza, you will find at least 3 different types of cheeses (from what i could pick out), bacon, copious amounts of corn, onions, potato wedges (not french fried), chopped up parsley and a healthy squirt of mayo. oh, and the crust is filled with mashed up sweet potato. the crust also had crusty yellow cheddar baked onto the top, which balanced the sweetness of the sweet potato. this pizza…was…good! i really liked it! but it was extremely heavy and i ended up discarding most of the potato. i also detected a slight waddle in my step as i walked home…

so mr. pizza - it’s kind of like digiorno, really. i want to say that i don’t need to eat this again, but just looking at this picture is making me want some love from the mister…

13 February 11

new (belated) chinese new year’s resolution

added to the list of: more yoga and more studying korean…


i feel ill…

banchan, you can stay. kyochon, you gotta go.

Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh