Let’s Eat – Kimchi & Tuna Canapé

I recently fell in love with Jisook’s (from the girl group Rainbow) little show on KStyleTV’s YouTube channel. The show is called “Coming Sook”, I believe, and it’s so fun! Jisook tries all these different things like calligraphy, cooking, and making crafts.

In a show last month she brewed her own beer and made finger food to go with it. They looked really good so I had to try it myself. So I present Jisook’s kimchi and tuna canapé.

What is a canapé? Well, I had to look it up on Wikipedia: “A canapé is a type of hors d’œuvre (“outside the (main) work”), a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite.”

Let’s try it! While Jisook fries her tofu, I decided to bake mine. Frying it certainly faster, but baking tofu gives it a firmer texture. Plus, it’s slightly better for you than frying.

 

tofu

Baking da tofu

I cut the tofu block into squares, and lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. Different cooking sites give different oven temperatures for baking tofu, but I’d say 400 degrees is good. Bake it for around 20-25 minutes, flipping them over half way through.

Meanwhile you can cook up the topping. Jisook didn’t use precise measurements, and I didn’t really either. I used –

  • 1 handful of chopped kimchi
  • 1 small can of skipjack tuna
  • approx. 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • approx. 1 tsp of sesame oil

Jisook used soju (or possibly cheongju [rice wine]) for the tuna smell, but I don’t mind the smell of tuna so I didn’t add anything like that. I also added a very small amount of garlic powder because I like garlic. Next time I think I’d use chopped garlic instead.

Once the topping and tofu are done you just enjoy!

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I didn’t eat it all in all in one go, but as long as you keep the tofu and topping separate they’ll keep for a few days until you finish it off.

Thanks to Jisook I now have a lovely, yummy recipe for parties or snacks. 잘 먹었습니다 ~

Plus, you can totally make the kimchi and tuna topping with other things like rice, noodles, or vegetables.

Happy eating!

Best Dakkalbi Ever!

I’d been dreaming of one particular place in Daejeon since returning home, and I couldn’t wait to go there when I was on vacation in fall. That place is 맛존 (mat-jon or Mat [flavor/taste] Zone). I have never tasted better dakkalbi than there.

The first time I went there was a few years back when my friend was working there part-time in college. It became a favorite place among our group. I always get “mild” spice because even that makes my nose run. I had “hot” once with co-workers and I could barely handle it. So good though! It’s secret too. The owner makes the sauce off-site and brings it in to the restaurant. Wow!

You can get add-ons like cheese or have them make it into bokkeumbap (fried rice) with your leftovers. Plus, they have yummy pineapple makkeolli!

Mat-jon isn’t too hard to find. It’s in Gungdong (궁동) which is the area right by Chungnam University. Start from Sobija Mart, where all the taxis drop off/pick up. Walk straight for a minute or so. Turn right at the first large street by Paris Baguette. Then make a left at the next street. Mat-jon will be on the right side. Enjoy!

matjon map

Address: 대전광역시 유성구 궁동 408-14
(You’ll probably get more accurate results plugging that into Naver Maps as opposed to Google Maps)

먹자! Let’s Eat – Ddeokguk (떡국)

Happy New Year ~ 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

Last week was the Lunar New Year or 설날 (Seollal) in Korea. It’s another big holiday like Chuseok where people travel to be with their families and celebrate. Of course there’s different kinds of foods to eat during that time as well. One of the must-eats during Seollal is 떡국 (ddeokguk).

The soup is made with a protein broth (I used beef, but you can use seafood, chicken, etc.) and rice cakes. Other ingredients like green onions, egg, and seaweed are also added. Once again I found a great recipe at Maangchi. I only did some very slight variations to save prep time and it turned out great.

[*Gonna reiterate that this recipe is all Maangchi’s and she gets all the credit. I’m just posting how I used it. 🙂 ]

Ingredients:

– 1 pound of sliced rice cakes (ddeokguk/떡국)

– 7 cups of water

– 1/2 pound of beef, chopped

– 3-4 minced garlic cloves

– 3 green onions, sliced

– 2 eggs

– 1 tbsp fish sauce

– 1 tsp sesame oil

– 1/2 tsp black pepper

– 1 sheet of kim (seaweed)

– salt

Directions:

– soak the rice cakes in cold water for about 30 minutes

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– Boil the water in a large pot on high heat for 12-15 minutes

– Chop up your beef (I bought stew meat from Trader Joe’s). Add the beef and garlic to the pot, lower the heat to medium. Cover and boil for 20-25 minutes.

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* I used frozen garlic cubes (again from Trader Joe’s) instead of fresh. It’s a quicker alternative to chopping fresh garlic, and will keep in your freezer for some time.

– I also bought Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack, rather than buying a bunch of seaweed that I probably wouldn’t use. Maangchi suggests roasting the seaweed in her recipe, but this is much quicker. Plus it’s a nice snack and only 99 cents.

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– Separate the egg yolks and whites, putting them in separate bowls. Add a pinch of salt to each and mix.IMG_0537

– Add oil (canola or vegetable) to a small heated pan. Turn off the heat and put the egg yolks in the pan. Let it cook for about 1 minute. Flip the egg and cook for another minute. Take it out and slice into thin strips.

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– Add rice cakes to the boiling soup with fish sauce, salt, and onion. Stir and cover for 7-8 minutes. Add egg whites and cook for 1 minute.

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– Add sesame oil and black pepper. Stir and remove from heat.

– Serve into bowls. Garnish with egg strips, crushed seaweed, and any other garnish you want.

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Enjoy!

먹자! Let’s Eat – Dakgalbi (닭갈비)

Hiya!

Staying warm? It’s getting colder out these days. So why not cook a warm, spicy Korean dish to warm up? 🙂

I love dakgalbi. It’s a delicious and comforting dish. Of course, if you have dakgalbi, you gotta go to Chuncheon. It’s their specialty! But if you’re ever up in my city of Daejeon, I say head over to Gung-dong. In Gung-dong there’s a great place called Mat-jeon (막존 – which I think is supposed to be “Taste Zone”). They serve up the best dakgalbi in town. Not just that, but I have a friend who was a part-timer there, and she said they don’t even make the sauce on-site. It’s that secret! Plus they serve up pineapple makkeolli (막걸리) which is pretty darn good.

But being so far from me second home, I can’t just pop over when I want. So I looked around for a couple recipes and found some good ones from Beyond Kimchee and Maangchi. I pretty much did a mix of the two (so all credit goes to them for this!)

Ingredients:

– 1 lb of boneless chicken (thigh or breast), diced

– 1/2 lb of Korean rice cake sticks (떡볶이 – ddeokbokki)

– 1/2 small head of cabbed, diced

– 1/2 onion, sliced

– 1 sweet potato, chopped into bite sized pieces

– 1 carrot

– 1 tbsp of ginger, minced

– 2 tsp curry powder

– 2 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce

– 2-10 gloves of peeled garlic, minced (amount is to taste)

– 2 tbsp rice wine (mirin/mirim)

– 1 tbsp sugar

– tbsp sesame oil

– 3 tbsp Korean chili paste (고추장 – gochujang)

– 2 tbsp Korean chili flakes (고추가루 – gochugaru)

– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

– 2 tbsp canola oil

– 2-4 tbsp water

Directions:

– Set your rice cakes to soak in hot water (if they’re fresh you don’t need to do this step).

– Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces. Put in a bowl with soy sauce (1 tbsp) and black pepper, mix, and set aside.

– Prepare the sauce by mixing: garlic, ginger, hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, soy sauce (2 tbssp) and mirin/mirim in a bowl.

– Place cabbage in a large, shallow pan. Put in onion, carrot, sweet potato, and rice cakes. (You can also add perilla leaves – I didn’t because I couldn’t find any anywhere!)

– Add chicken on top. Pour sauce over that.

– Cover and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir.

– Lower heat a bit and cover. Let it cook for 20 minutes or until it’s done.

Enjoy!

Daejeon International Food Exhibition

Another throwback vlog! I think these things need an acronym or something — TBVs? TVs?

Anyway, this is another one from 2012. In May there was an exhibition at Expo Park featuring international food. Actually, I didn’t get to see much of it because a) I went on the last day and b) I went only a few hours before it was closing. Oops…

Still, I managed to see some interesting things. There was a part that had beautiful displays of food eaten at the Buddhist temples. They also had information about how you can do a temple stay. I always wanted to do one, but never made plans for it. Next time I’m in Korea I want to give it a try.

There were also lovely table and food displays around the hall. In another part, they had a mock-up of a traditional Korean house with a display of food, and you could dress up in (costume) traditional clothes and take pics. I did give that one a go. ^^

There was even a place where they let you try, and, in the case of foreigners, you could make your own kimchi. It pretty much just involved applying the sauce and garlic to the cabbage, but after that they put it in a pot and let you keep it. How fun it that? I still have the pot with me, but I use it for my spare change now.

There was also a women at the Buddhist temple area doing a traditional tea ceremony (which I’ll put a video up for later). It’s very formal, but relaxing in a way. The way the people who do the ceremony are so precise about everything is kind of impressive. I’m not sure I could be so controlled. Oh, and the tea was tasty as well. 🙂

All in all, a pretty interesting way to spend on afternoon.

Thanks for reading!

Let’s Cook Kimchi Jjigae

I love cooking, but I never really cooked Korean food while I was living in Korea. But now that there isn’t a Kimbap Cheonguk (a Korean restaurant chain) on over corner like I was used to, I need to fend for myself.

I searched for a few asian/international grocery stores in Milwaukee. The ones I ended up going to were Cermak, Asian International Market, and Pacific Produce. These are all 30-40 minutes away from my house, so that part kinda sucks.

Cermak didn’t have much in the way of asian products. The latter two were more what I was looking for. For one thing, Asian Int’l had 32 oz jars of kimchi for around $7. Not bad. Pacific Produce was way bigger than I expected, so I didn’t see all they had but they definitely have a lot.

Anyway I picked up all my needed ingredients from several different stores, and headed home. Making the jjigae is pretty simple because it’s basically just chop stuff and throw it in a pot. I got the recipe from the Cooking Channel (which you can find here). Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (salted works fine too)
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds (32 oz) of kimchi, chopped if you wish
  • 5-7 oz can of tuna packed in oil
  • 8 oz of firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • white rice, for serving

The Cooking Channel recipe also has seaweed, scallions, and sesame seeds for garish, but I didn’t bother with those.

First, melt the butter in a saucepan or cooking pot. I started out using a saucepan, but it was way too small for all the ingredients. I recommend the sort of pot you’d use for making soups/chili.

Chopped onion & garlic

Chopped onion & garlic

Then add the garlic. It’s should be coarsely chopped, but I was feeling lazy so I used a food processor. I don’t like big chunks of garlic anyway, so this worked better for me. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook for around 4 minutes or until it’s soft.

3 cups of water

3 cups of water

Then add your kimchi (which all it’s juices) and 3 cups of water. I think 3 cups isn’t nearly enough. I know I added extra tofu which affects things a bit, but I think adding another 2-3 cups of water was best. Bring that to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. I partially covered the pot so I didn’t lose too much water, and would get more flavor.

Tofu

Tofu

Drain the tuna and break it up into chunks. Cut up the tofu into 1 inch cubes. I chose to use the whole package which was 16 ounces. The recipe calls for half that, but I just wanted to use up the whole thing. 😛 Also I like fim tofu best for this, but I’ve had soft (손두부) before at restaurants. Whichever you prefer.

Add the tuna, tofu, sesame oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Stir a little and let the whole thing simmer for minimum of 3 minutes. I probably let mine be for 5 minute or so cuz I wanted the flavors to really come together.

Yummy! 맛있다!

Yummy! 맛있다!

All done! You can add the garish that Cooking Channel recommended or not. I didn’t bother and it tasted fine.

Cook a bit of white rice to serve it with and you have a pretty darn tasty dish. Next time I wanna maybe check it up a little — maybe put in shrimp or something. 🙂

Happy eating!

 

 

*By the way, here are the grocery stores I visited, in case you happen to live in the Milwaukee area:

Cermak Fresh Market

1541 Miller Park Way, West Milwaukee, WI 53214

Asian International Market

3401 W National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53215

Pacific Produce

5455 S 27th St, Milwaukee, WI 53221

Coffee Time at 나만의 커피

I love coffee. I didn’t always though! Luckily if you are a coffee/cafe lover then Korea has got you covered. There’s one place in particular that I especially like – Roasting 나만의 커피 (Roasting – Only My Coffee).

It’s located in Gung-dong (궁동) which is the area right next to Chungnam University in Daejeon, and I mean *right next to*. You walk out of the parking lot on the southeast side of campus and the cafe is pretty much right there. 🙂

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Besides getting a good cup of coffee they have excellent desserts. I’m a big fan of the brownies. They’re huge with walnuts inside and dusted with powdered sugar on top. Yum!

The owner also teaches about coffee and how to make it. I believe you can do your own hand drip even without taking a class, but I’m not 100% certain.

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Bit of a line.

It gets a little busy in the daytime with all the students around, but not terribly noisy. They also have wifi should you need it.

My favorite part of the interior is the bathroom. That may sound weird, but take a peek at my video. It’s hidden behind what looks like a bookcase. I wanted to go inside, but someone had just walked in. ^^;;

Cute bear latte art

Cute bear latte art

The latte art was a bonus last time. I didn’t even know they did that (never got it before). Super cute, right?

 

Location

Location

Getting there isn’t too tricky. If you’re a CNU student you’ll be coming out of the parking lot nearish 다술아파트. Otherwise you can come from Rodeo street, turn left at GS25, walk down the road til it stops and turn right. It’s around the corner. Otherwise you can plug the address into your phone on Naver Maps or Google Maps.

Address: 대전광역시 유성구 궁동 395-4

Yogiyo!

If there’s one great thing about Korea it’s gotta be the food delivery options. There are oh so many to choose from. Chinese? No problem. Fried chicken? Easy peasy! McDonalds? Heck yes.

Now I haven’t done much with delivery on my own because I don’t have a lot of confidence using Korean over the phone. I usually just do take-out. But then I was clued in on a site called Yogiyo. I believe it’s a play of the phrase 여기요, although they spell it 요기요. In restaurants if you want to get the server’s attention then you say “yeogiyo!” (Excuse me/over here).

Anyway Yogiyo is great because it’s all online. You do need to be able to read some Korean, but I’d say it’s fairly easy to understand. You choose your city and district/neighborhood and it’ll find restaurants in your area that’ll deliver. I’d say the difficult part is knowing the name of the dish you want in Korean, but if you’re just getting chicken or pizza than no big deal.

The nice thing is you don’t need to sign up for it either. You just put in your address and phone number, and *yay!* food!.

yogiyo2

Choose your city & neighborhood

Put in your address & phone number

Put in your address & phone number

Last Friday I ordered pizza from Pizza Alvolo (피자알볼로), which I actually hadn’t heard of till then.

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nomnom!

I got this in about 40 minutes and it cost me 24,000 won. Unfortunately pizza is pretty pricey in Korea. Some places are cheaper than this, but this was my option later at night.

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I got the bacon cheddar large pizza with breadsticks. The breadsticks were hot and crispy plus they came with marinara sauce. I don’t see them too often so I rather enjoyed it although they we’re fairly plain. The pizza was good too. I didn’t like the onion on it, but it wasn’t that bad. I thought the crust was whole wheat, but it was actually a kind of purplish color so I’m not sure. Still, when it’s after 10 PM and you don’t have anything to cook then I’d say this was a decent meal.

For Yogiyo you can pay cash or by card. Also, unlike in the U.S., you don’t have to tip the delivery guy. Not so great for him, but nice for us.

I really recommend using this site if you’re phone-shy like me. It takes the hassle out of things and you end up with yummy food. Win-win!

Gringos Korea: burrito delivery!

There’s plenty of good food to be had in Korea. While I don’t eat Korean food all the time, save for at work, I do enjoy it. But sometimes you get cravings for the food you like back home. “Ah, I could really go for some Mexican food about now,” you think one day. If you’re lucky enough to live in a big city you may find a restaurant that sells such food. The thing is they tend to be a bit pricey. While in the U.S. a burrito might set you back around $6 at Chipotle or Qdoba, here they may run between $12-18 (and they’re smaller too).

But fear not, friends! Gringos Korea has got you covered. I learned about them by word-of-mouth. Two guys, Mike and Mark, working out of Ilsan having been cooking up food for fellow expats for a couple years (at least as long as I’ve been here).

Everything is made for scratch and delicious. They have 6 kinds of burritos – chicken, ancho carnitas (pulled pork), carne asada (steak), tofu, bacon breakfast burrito, and chorizo breakfast burrito. They all range between 5,500 – 7,000 won. They are all, also, quite yummy. I’m a fan of the pork and breakfast burritos.

They also have bean n’ cheese dip, salsa, and chili which go for 5,500 won each. I honestly recommend everything especially the chili. Nothing like a cup of chili when it’s chilly out.

You might be thinking, “Mail order burritos? Whaaaaat?”. I too was somewhat confused, but it’s pretty nifty. They send all orders out Monday and guarantee next-day delivery. Your delectable package will arrive in a styrofoam container like mine below.

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(Aww they even send a few sweets along with it.)

You can freeze your order right away or throw it in the fridge. I personally put it in the fridge because a) they re-heat better and b) they only last a couple days in my house. I can’t resist gobbling them up ASAP.

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Take a gander at the carnitas burrito and bean dip I had today. Very satisfying!

Ordering is simple. You can email them at gringosburritos@gmail.com or hit them up via message on Facebook – ‘Gringosburritos’. Final order day for the week is every Thursday, so try to get them in early. You pay via bank transfer, and them give them your mailing address and phone number. Then all you have to do it wait. That is probably the hardest part. It’s well worth it though.

You also have to order a minimum of 6 items, but that’s pretty easy to do too. If it seems a bit much for you I recommend ordering items and having a dinner party with friends. I did that before and you will definitely have some grateful amigos if you feed them this yummy food.

Check them out at Gringos Korea.

Happy eating!

Moru brunch cafe

Moru cafe

Being so far from home, you tend to miss certain things. Food is definitely a big thing. I really like Korean food, don’t get my wrong, and these days I actually find myself wanting to eat kimchi (though I still can’t eat large amounts of it). Anyway, sometimes when you’re feeling down or just need a little pick-me-up it’s nice to eat comfort food. Moru cafe is just the right place.

I’ve been there twice so far. I’d like to go more often, but I guess it wouldn’t feel as special. It’s darn good. Last time I went with my co-teacher and we shared our dishes: french toast and eggs, bacon (and a few things I forgot) on an english muffin. I can describe it thusly: nomnomnomnom!

My french toast was heavenly. Made with fresh bread, topped with bacon (all the best things are), and very sweet. A hundred times better than anything I can whip up at home.

The dishes are all roughly 9,000 – 12,000 won – just an estimate, by the way. I can’t remember the exact prices (sorry). They also serve various coffee drinks and such.

Last time I went was a Friday in the early afternoon. It’s a smallish place with around 10 tables inside and 3 outside. It’s also fairly popular. We timed it right and went when it was only about 1/2 full, but if you go on a weekend during mealtimes you may have to wait. They also do run out of certain food occasionally. The first time I went I couldn’t get my first choice because they didn’t have it. Still, if you plan on going before the late afternoon you shouldn’t have a problem.

 

Getting there is easy. If you’re at Galleria Time World department store, use the underground crossing, and go the opposite side (as if you’re going to City Hall). Just a couple minutes up the street is a gas station, currently SK Oil but I’ve seen it change names already so it may someday change if you’re reading this in the future. Just cross through the gas station and it’s right behind it. Cute little place with a rather small porch. Order and prepare for delicious-ness.