Weekly K Roundup: Heejun Han, Korean BBQ chicken, and More

Amsterdam is now home to a North Korea-themed restaurant. There’s an nine course menu, featuring options like roasted oysters with smoked mackerel, and traditional Korean BBQ. [The Daily Meal]

North Koreans who seek refuge in South Korea have found that with asylum comes a slew of other challeneges. [Business Week]

Japan is getting involved in the tussle over North Korea’s plans to launch a satellite missile. [International Herald Tribune]

Heejun Han has made it to the top final 10 contestants of American Idol! [Korean Beacon]

This article revisits a Korean school in Japan one year after the Earthquake. [Koream]

Korean BBQ chicken is a great and equally delicious alternative to red meat. [Eating and Living]

Here’s a hilarious list of what it’s like to grow up Korean in the US or Canada. [Kimchi Mamas]

Roy Choi’s Kogi BBQ set off a storm of Korean fusion taco trucks. Check out his full story here! [Working World]

Photo: Eating and Living

Guest Recipes: La Kocinera’s Napa Cabbage Salad with Oranges, Spicy Shrimp, and Rice Wine Vinaigrette

Katie Klein’s got another awesome recipe for us! In addition to making some delicious gimbap, she’s a whiz at Korean fusion. Check out her use of napa cabbage in a unique and creative new way.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Oranges, Spicy Shrimp, and Rice Wine Vinaigrette

We all know napa cabbage as the light, crunchy building block of kimchi, adorning countless dishes with a fresh, spicy jolt of flavor. Unlike other varieties of cabbage, its leaves are delicate and refreshing, rather than bulky and thick. It is delicious characteristics such as these that made me want to explore more of the possibilities napa cabbage has to offer. Kimchi’s an essential Korean dish, no doubt, but surely there were other ways to make use of this yummy vegetable.

It was this thought, as well as a craving for light, summery food that inspired this recipe. Because napa cabbage is so pleasantly lettuce-like, it lends itself beautifully to the world of salads. By shredding the leaves in large strips, the cabbage immediately turns into a tasty bowl of salad greens. In order to further echo the vegetable’s Korean roots, the salad is served alongside spicy, flavorful shrimp skewers, seasoned with gochugaru, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, as well as a refreshing rice wine vinaigrette. To balance the salad’s rich, savory notes, it’s topped with juicy segments of regular and blood oranges.

These delightful bites of citrus elevate the salad to a lovely, refreshing place with their bright punch of color and their undeniable yummy factor. All together, this simple salad makes for a light, tasty meal, striking the perfect balance between classic ingredients and new techniques.


For the Salad

1 small napa cabbage, leafless bottom stems removed
2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented
2 oranges, peeled and segmented
1 green onion, thinly sliced

For the Dressing

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Big pinch grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Spicy Shrimp

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons gochugaru, depending on desired spiciness
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour.

To prepare the spicy shrimp: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, gochugaru, soy sauce, and olive oil. Add the shrimp and toss to coat with mixture. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers and set aside.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly brush the grates with olive oil. Once the grill is hot, place the shrimp on the grill and cook for three minutes. Turn, and grill for an additional two minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the grill and set aside.

To prepare the salad dressing: In a small jar, combine the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar, and olive oil. Seal the jar tightly and shake to thoroughly mix the dressing. Set aside.

To prepare the salad: Remove the leaves from the napa cabbage and thinly slice.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, green onion, oranges, and blood oranges, tossing gently to combine. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss again.

Divide the salad into four to six servings and add shrimp skewers. Serve immediately.

Check out Katie’s blog here. Photo credit: La Kocinera >>

We’re always looking for new, exciting content here at Kimchi Chronicles. Got a food blog with some tasty Korean dishes? Give us a heads up at

Guest Video: Sunny Sauce’s Bibim Naengmyun

We’ve got a new installment of  Sunny Lee‘s beautiful and seriously appetizing  food videos. This time? Bibim naengmyun, a classic Korean summertime favorite. Traditional naengmyun is a cold buckwheat noodle dish served in a refreshing radish kimchi broth. Additional ingredients include julienned cucumber, slices of Korean pear, a boiled egg, and slices of boiled beef.

This twist incorporates gochujang, and eliminates the icy broth, making for a dish that packs a lot of spicy heat, despite the cold, chewy noodles. Its preparation is incredibly simple, requiring few ingredients and only a half hour of your time, tops. Watch how Sunny’s mom makes it!

Bibim Naengmyun

We’re always looking for new, exciting content here at Kimchi Chronicles. Got a food blog with some tasty Korean dishes or some awesome food videos? Give us a heads up at

Weekly K Roundup: Kimchi Quesadillas, Korean Film Festival, and More

Photo: Romulo Yanes/Gourmet

This intriguing article takes a look at the changing face of North Korea. [Korea Times]

D.C.-based Freer Gallery’s Korean Film Festival starts this Sunday and runs through June 13. [Washington City Paper]

Snag Chef Roy Choi’s incredibly addictive kimchi quesadilla recipe here. [Gourmet]

Todd Park has been officially named the new U.S. Chief Technology Officer. [Washington Post]

The US-Korea trade agreement has officially taken effect.[Bloomberg Business Week]

Yet another Korean food truck has hit the NYC streets. Seoul Food is serving up some good eats, including a kalbi burrito that’s got people lining up in droves. [CBS Local]

Stay tuned for a Korean American romantic comedy that’ll be hitting theaters nationwide very soon! Bobby Lee and Margaret Cho will be making appearances. [Koream]

Korean and Chinese Fusion Cuisine

Korean and Chinese food fusion has resulted in a few fantastically delicious dishes, most notably, jajangmyeon, jjamppong, and tangsuyuk. These popular favorites are ubiquitous in Korea and Korean communities in the US, with entire restaurants dedicated to serving just these one or more of these dishes. Lines are expected at some of the more popular noodle joints, and to say that popular neighborhood joints have a loyal following is an understatement. Korean-Chinese cuisine is akin to fast food pizza in the US–widely available for delivery in virtually any city, fairly inexpensive, and really tasty.

Jajangmyeon, steamed noodles with a black bean sauce, is perhaps the poster dish of Korean-Chinese cuisine, followed closely by jjamppong (noodles and seafood in a spicy broth), and tangsuyuk (koreanized version of sweet and sour pork). In addition, there are several other Chinese-influenced spin-offs, including jajangbap (black bean sauce served on steamed rice), and kkanpunggi (fried chicken glazed in sweet/spicy sauce).

Word has it that Korean-Chinese fusion first came about in the port city of Incheon, where much of Korea’s ethnic Chinese population lives. Derived from classic Northern Chinese cuisine, the dishes are informed and localized by a Korean repertoire of token ingredients, and there are subtle regional differences, such as jajangmyeon‘s use of black bean sauce in lieu of the traditional sesame sauce. In Korea, Korean-Chinese cuisine is also accompanied by danmuji (yellow pickled daikon), and raw onion which is accompanied by a distinctively bitter black bean paste.

Wondering how exactly to make jajangmyeon? There’s always the efficient, time-saving super market version, but if you’ve got time to spare, there’s no replacement for a homemade version. Check out a super informative video made by Kimchi Chronicles Video Contest runner-up Naru2222.

Guest Recipes: La Kocinera’s Gimbap

We discovered Katie Klein (alias La Kocinera) through our Kimchi Chronicles Video Contest with her rendition of bulgogi tacos, and have been hooked on her blog ever since. A college student living in Texas, aside from exams and serious amounts of reading, Katie somehow finds time to whip up some amazing things in the kitchen. She’s also a certified cake decorator, which is no joke. Her blog is dedicated to documenting in her love of food, and we’re more than to share her unique take on gimbap with you all.

Kimbap (Adapted from The Kimchi Chronicles)

Once in a long while, among the dozens of sweet treats and savory concoctions that I chat about on my blog, there comes a dish that I feel extra-super-duper excited to talk about. Gimbap is one of those dishes.

The quickest and easiest way to explain gimbap (pronounced “gheem-bahp”) to the uninitiated is to call it the Korean version of sushi. Dried seaweed, topped with steamed, short-grain rice, and plenty of yummy fillings are all wrapped up into a tight roll. Following these basic guidelines, you can tailor gimbap into whatever sort of dish you want. Typically, they are filled with julienned carrot, sautéed spinach, and pickled daikon radish. After these basic cornerstones, anything goes! Add meats, cheeses, other veggies, kimchi—whatever sounds good. Gimbap falls into that glorious realm of recipes that allow you to completely clean out your fridge as well as experiment with a lot creatively.

What follows is my personal version of gimbap, so I encourage you to use it as merely an example and a guideline as you find you own way down this yellow brick road of deliciousness.


For the Gimbap:

4 sheets dried seaweed (gim or nori)
2 cups warm cooked short-grain rice (sometimes labeled as “sushi rice”)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 thin egg omelets (see instructions below)
1/2 cup sautéed spinach (see instructions below)
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
4 thin slices Pepper Jack cheese (or any other deli cheese you prefer)
4 slices Spam, cut into thin strips
Kewpie mayonnaise (can substitute regular mayonnaise or Miracle Whip), to taste
Sriracha hot sauce, to taste

For the Thin Egg Omelet:

2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the Sautéed Spinach:

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt


First, seaweed on plastic wrap on a sushi mat. Plastic wrap alone will definitely suffice if you don’t have a sushi mat.

Sticky, yummy sushi rice.

Thin slices of Pepper Jack cheese, for a tiny bit of jalapeño spice.

Thin strips of Spam. Yes, Spam.

Thin strips of a simple, slightly sweet omelet.

Julienned carrots.

Super flavorful spinach sautéed with a bit of garlic and sesame oil.

Enter the Kewpie mayonnaise! This Japanese Mayo makes everything just a little more fun. With a taste similar to a mixture of regular mayo and Miracle Whip, you can substitute either one and your Gimbap will still taste amazing.

Dot the filling with Sriracha sauce (again—substitute whatever favorite sauces and spicy things you like).

Moving from the side closest to you, begin to roll the mat and seaweed away from you…… Adjusting the placement of the mat as you go until all the filling has been rolled up.

Dip a knife blade in water and use a gentle sawing motion to cut the Gimbap, so as to not tear the seaweed. And enjoy!!

Check out Katie’s blog here. Photo credit: La Kocinera >>

We’re always looking for new, exciting content here at Kimchi Chronicles. Got a food blog with some tasty Korean dishes? Give us a heads up at

Weekly K-Roundup: Han Heejun, Food Trucks, and More

Food trucks only seem to rise in popularity, and this comprehensive article gives us some insight about what exactly it takes to get started in the meal mobile biz. [Wall Street Journal]

Food shipments to North Korea are to be used as a critical leveraging tool to reopen talks regarding the country’s nuclear program. [Seattle Times]

A pair of basketball playing Korean brothers hope that Jeremy Lin will spur Asian-American parents to encourage their children to play team sports. [Chicago Tribune]

Han Heejun, a contestant on cult show ‘American Idol’ has made it to the top 13, spurring talks of whether this year might be won by a Korean-American singer. [Kpop Starz]

16 year old Jack Kim is not only a teenager worrying about college and homework, but the founder of an entrepreneurship called Benelab. [Korean Beacon]

Braisd tofu and radish makes for a light yet utterly satisfying side dish. [Beyond Kimchee]

Guest Blogger: Take Thou Food’s Doenjang Jjigae

Doenjang jjigae is a Korean kitchen staple that’s easy, delicious, and incredibly good for you. According to Sean of Take Thou Food, the secret to excellent jjigae is choosing a quality doenjang and anchovy stock. It may be a simple meal, but it’s one of the most flavorful of them all.

Doenjang Jjigae

Notice that no salt is added at any point while making the stew. The fermented soybean paste is salty as it is and you can add a little more to the stew if you need that extra seasoning. The chili flakes add a nice kick and changes the color of the soup to a vibrant, reddish brown color.


1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of doenjang
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Leftover steak (ribeye’s great) or 1/4 lb of steak, diced (can also use seafood, or keep it vegetarian)
2 cups of anchovy stock
Half of an onion, diced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
Half of a zucchini, diced
Half of a tablespoon of gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes)
Half block of firm tofu, drained and diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 package of enoki mushrooms


In a hot pot, add the tablespoon of sesame oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the doenjang, minced garlic and uncooked steak. If you’re using leftover steak, we’ll add that in later. Stir the steak around for a minute or two along with the doenjang until the steak is browned. Take care not to burn the paste and garlic.

Add the diced onions and potatoes and cook for another minute.

Add the 2 cups of anchovy stock and bring up to a boil. Once at a boil, cook for about 2 minutes so the potatoes start to get tender.

At this time, add the zucchini in (and the leftover steak if using). Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the gochugaru in and stir to incorporate into the stew. Add the diced tofu and cook for another minute to warm the tofu through. Be careful while stirring at this point as the tofu will break apart if the stew isn’t stirred gently.

To finish, add the sliced jalapeno and enoki mushrooms and cook for another minute. Serve immediately with fluffy rice.

Check out the full entry at Sean’s blog here! Photo credit: Sean

We’re always looking for new, exciting content here at Kimchi Chronicles. Got a food blog with some tasty Korean dishes? Give us a heads up at

Weekly K-Roundup: South Korea’s Economic Success, Chocolate, and More

To say that the fate of North Korean defectors is certainly bleak is quite the understatement. (Korea Times)

Sisters Frances and Ginger Park opened DC’s first independent chocolate shop roughly 3 decades ago, and it’s still going strong. (Voice of America)

There’s been increasing interest in South Korea as a model of economic success. (The Economist)

This take on Korean favorite bibimbap incorporates tofu marinated in sweet rice wine. (New York Times)

A free trade deal between South Korea and the US is projected to boost trade between the countries by as much as 25 percent. (Reuters)

Kpop’s been making waves in the United States these days, and Korean literature is following closely in its footsteps. (Wall Street Journal)

Food: Korean Buddhist Temple Food

Marja at Sanchon in Seoul

Temple cuisine is a unique dining experience in Korea. In accordance with Buddhist beliefs, temple food is primarily vegan, with a few guidelines. No artificial seasonings are included, and spices are also used very sparingly. There are 5 taboo vegetables: garlic, scallion, green onion, other onions, and wild rocambole, a type of Korean spring herb. These are  avoided at all cost, because their heat is thought to be a distraction to effective meditation.

The main goal of temple cooking is to highlight the simple yet sophisticated flavors of quality natural ingredients. In general, most temples are located in the mountains or countryside, and this informs the kinds of ingredients involved in temple cooking. Root vegetables and mountain herbs are widely available, so popular dishes in temple food feature wild greens, spinach beet and leaves, wild mushrooms, bean sprouts, and lotus roots, to name a few.

Menus typically change seasonally, but there are several standard dishes that one can always expect to see, namely vegetable porridge, various kinds of tteok (rice cakes of assorted flavor), yeongyip bap (steamed rice with assorted nuts, covered in lotus leaves) and yakwa (traditional korean deep fried cookies made from grain flour and honey).

There are also a few fundamentals of temple cuisine that are important to know. The mind-body connection is paramount, and buddhists consider the act of eating itself to be a form of prayer. Temple food emphasizes an appreciation of nature and a strong concern for healthful eating and sustainability. Every aspect of the dining experience is mindful, from where the food is coming from, who is preparing the food, and what kind of effect it has on the self.

Thankfully, eager diners no longer have to trek to the countryside to get a taste of this unique cuisine. The number of urban restaurants offering temple food is steadily growing. Veronica Kang, a Seoul-based restaurant consultant gave us a few suggestions as to where visitors can go to experience the pinnacle of temple cuisine. Her favorites in Seoul include Sanchon, Kong, and Baru-Gong-Yang. For those looking for a more comprehensive selection of temples around Korea, here’s a great list, courtesy of Visit Korea.