Guest Recipes: Closet Cooking’s Dakkochi

During production of Kimchi Chronicles, street food made up a large percentage of our diets. A particular favorite was skewered food, all ease and convenience. Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking shows us how to recreate dakkochi, Korean skewered chicken. His version incorporates his trusty bulgogi marinade recipe, and is served with  a dipping sauce of ssamjang. When not attending school, Kevin spends his free time looking for new recipes to try, and experimenting in the kitchen.


When I was making bulgogi, a Korean bbq beef, and in particular the chicken bulgogi, I could not help but think that the marinade would also work well on some grilled skewered chicken. The bulgogi marinade reminded me of a more complex teriyaki sauce that is sweet at heart but also packs a ton of flavour. With yakitori, a Japanese teriyaki grilled skewered chicken, being one of my favorite ways to grill up some meat on a stick, I was itching to try the Korean bulgogi version. A quick search of the web led me to dakkochi, a Korean skewered chicken street food and I was set to go.

I went with my pretty standard bulgogi marinade recipe and even though I often like to add some heat in the form of gochujang, a Korean fermented chili paste, I decided to omit it for the chicken skewer version in favor of a sweeter profile. Normally when making bulgogi I cook all of that tasty marinade up with the meat so that I do not lose any of the flavor but since that was not possible for the skewered version I decided to strain the solids from the marinade, simmer it down to a sauce and use it to baste or glaze the chicken as it cooked. The bulgogi skewered chicken turned out great! The chicken was nice and tender and juicy and just dripping with flavor! You cannot go wrong with grilled skewered meat and this skewered chicken is no exception! I could not resist adding some element of heat to the meal so I served the chicken along with some ssamjang, a Korean fermented chili and bean paste condiment, and some bean sprout kimchi all wrapped up in lettuce leaves for one tasty meal.

Makes 4 servings


1 pound chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 cloves garlic (grated)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1/2 small onion (grated)
1/2 Asian pear (grated)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 green onions (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Mix everything in a freezer bag and marinate for at least an hour.

Skewer the chicken on wet skewers and set aside.

Strain the solids from the marinade and simmer the marinade until it thickens and becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes.

Grill the chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes per side basting it with the marinade as you go.

Check out the full entry at Kevin’s blog here! Photo credit: Kevin Lynch >>

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: Kimchi Doughnuts, Kim Jong Il’s Birthday and More

Photo: Dirt Candy

Kim Jong Il’s 70th birthday, renamed ‘Day of the Shining Star’, was commemorated with a massive parade, complete with international skating show and thousands of “kimjongilia” begonias. (The Guardian)

College dining halls, such as the one at Notre Dame, are picking up on the Korean food craze, and adding a few inspired selections to their menus. (The Observer)

Check out this great interview with the mother and daughter duo running Granny Choe’s Kimchi, a relatively new online kimchi business. (Korean Beacon)

Popular NYC-based vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy, is offering a new special: the kimchi doughnut! (Dirt Candy)

Stylish girl about town/NYmag Fashion editor Jenny Kang rounds up her favorite hotels in New York City. (Huffington Post)

Sang Yoon, chef andowner of LA burger favorite Father’s Office demonstrates just how to braise beef correctly. (LA Times)

5 Questions with Chang-Rae Lee

To say that Chang-Rae Lee is well known in the Korean American world is a serious understatement. The award winning author and Princeton professor has written 4 widely acclaimed books, and the most recent, The Surrendered, was a nominated finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In addition to being an exceptionally talented writer, Lee’s an enthusiastic foodie and oenophile who’s written for major glossies such as Food & Wine, Gourmet, and Travel and Leisure, to name a few. He shares some of his favorite Korean recipes and restaurants with us below!

What are some of your favorite Korean foods to eat and to cook?
I love gop chang jeongol — the flavor that the intestines lend to soup is wonderfully deep and rich. I order this when we eat out, as it’s a bit difficult to get the ingredients for home cooking. At home I often make what my daughters enjoy best, which is just a simple meal of grilled pork belly and sliced short rib (unmarinated) that I sear on a cast iron hot plate. We dip the meats in salt and peppered sesame oil and have it with various namul (sprouts) and a doenjang or kimchi jjigae. Heaven.

What are your top 5 Korean restaurants to eat at around your area? (Princeton, NJ?)
We  drive up to Edison, NJ, which is the closest town with a number of establishments. I like Chung Sol Bat and Keum Ho Jung there plus we often will get something quick at the new big Hmart food court — Korean fried chicken and jjampong and of course lots of traditional Korean options. I also like Gahm Mi Ok in Fort Lee — open 24 hours.

Kimchi Chronicles is about making Korean food accessible for everybody. What sort of advice would you give people new to Korean cooking?
Get all the basic ingredients but then don’t worry about exactly following recipes — they’re just guides, so go by taste. Korean food is essential pretty simple, but gloriously so.

If you were to give a dinner party, who would be your ideal guests?
Anyone who adores food and wine has an open palate — and mind. I like good conversation and I like to have fun, in whatever form it might take.

What/where have some of your most memorable meals been?
Dining at the White House for a State Dinner this past October. The food was pretty good but being there for a special event was pretty magical. And our post-wedding meal, which was just a family lunch for 14 at La Cote Basque. We couldn’t afford it but splurged for good champagne and everything was charmed and perfect. I don’t even remember what we ate.

13 Korean Food Trucks We Love

In the past year or so, Korean fusion has become an insanely popular food trend. It seems that virtually every week, there’s a new truck popping up, serving the latest iteration of kimchi tacos, bulgogi sliders, and other delightful fusion fare. At this rate, there could be a danger of overexposure looming on the horizon, but creative food trucks like Marination Mobile and Bob & Jo manage to keep surprising us with unique, Korean-ified concotions that keep the hungry lunchtime crowds coming.

Our Top 13 Food Truck Picks


Kimchi Taco (New York)
A super diverse menu with a Korean take on street classics–think ‘falafel kimchi taco’ and ‘kim-cheesesteak’.  Of course, there are kimchi tacos on the menu as well, but the longest lines are for the fresh kimchi bowls, which are borderline addictive. Word has it that a brick and mortar “Kimchi Grill” will be opening in Brooklyn…

Bob & Jo (New York)
This one is for Korean dorisak (a full meal in a lunch box) fans. Bulgogi, galbi, and spicy dakgalbi come with a huge helping of rice, with a side of fresh salad and kimchi will set you back $9. For those who can’t say no to sandwiches, they can also come inside a toasty baguette.

Korilla (New York)
Hyped on the Food Network, much beloved by critics, these guys have been acquiring several buzz since opening just two years ago. One of the first Korean food trucks to hit the streets of NYC, their tacos, burritos and gigantic rice bowls have a cult following.

Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ (Rhode Island)
Mama Kim’s bills itself as a ‘gourmet Korean BBQ mobile restaurant’, and they do indeed have quite the extensive menu. Rice sets are essentially full meals (meat, kimchi, rice), sliders/wraps, Korean desserts, and they even feature a rotating array of daily specials.

Krave (New Jersey)
Krave’s mission statement is simple: “Korean BBQ for all.” Their sesame chicken tacos, kimchidillas, huge BBQ rice platters and more are available for delivery. They’ve also just opened a brick and mortar wittily named Kraverie in Jersey City.

TaKorean (DC)
TaKorean is DC’s first and only Korean BBQ truck, inspired by the West Coast’s fusion blend.  All tacos have the option of coming with spicy kimchi style slaw, which comes highly recommended. TaKorean also donates a percentage of their earnings to charity, which is kind of wonderful.


Marination Mobile (Seattle)
Seattle has gone crazy for Marination Mobile. Lines obscenely long wait for this Hawaiian Korean taco truck, which is anything but ordinary. Of course they’ve got kimchi quesadillas and tacos, but instead of just the usual bulgogi/kalbi combo, there’s also miso ginger chicken and ‘luscious pork.’ And then there’s the sliders, which come 2-ways: shredded kalua pork or spam!

The Bun Truck (Los Angeles)
Korean-Mediterranean fusion is a new one that the Bun Truck’s been perfecting for a little over 6 months. Spicy pork gyros, donkatsu steamed buns, and tempura fries? Next time we’re in LA, we’re first in line.

Bappul (Los Angeles)
Kimbap, akin to a Korean sushi, is a roll of rice and assorted fillings, all tightly wrapped up in a sheet of seaweed. A perfect finger food that’s not only ridiculously convenient and tasty. The filling combinations are endless, and bappul is thinking up some ingenious combinations, from spicy soy lime chicken to donkatsu, and even spam. Kimbap 2.0.

Kogi BBQ (Los Angeles)
Chef Roy Choi’s traveling Korean Mexican truck is where the fusion blend first took off. Spicy pork tacos, kimchi quesadillas and short rib sliders, all day and night. Also currently starring on the menu is a cleverly named invention called the ‘grilled cheesy weary’, a Bangkok style grilled cheese with bananas, satay peanut butter and Thai chili sauce.

Seoul on Wheels (San Francisco)
Don’t worry, San Fran’s also got a Korean taco truck, and it hits up seven different locations daily. Staple dishes like spicy pork and bulgogi BBQ, and then some newfangled burger combinations (cheeseburgers with spicy pork and kimchi) that we could really get into.


ssahmBBQ (Dallas)
Sure, the BBQ and tacos here are pretty great, but what strikes our fancy are the kimchi fries. Chunky handout fries slathered with a dynamic duo of monterey jack and cheddar, then spicy mayo, and a lot of caramelized kimchi.

Chi’Lantro (Austin)
Some of the country’s best Mexican food is undoubtedly in Texas, and this bodes well for Chi’Lantro, a Korean-Mexican fusion truck running Austin’s streets. The chicken tacos and kimchi fries inspire lines 50+people deep.

[Photo: The Bun Truck, Krave, ssahmBBQ]

Jean-Georges’ Simply Chicken at Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden has recently revamped its concessions stand, with the help of major chefs in New York City, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His new stand at the Garden is called Simply Chicken, and it’s serving a great selection of chicken-based dishes. From a chicken hot dog with kimchi relish and spicy mustard, to a grilled chicken sandwich with cucumbers and thai mayonnaise, these dishes have been inspired in part by the Kimchi Chronicles TV series. The ingredients are all organic and locally sourced, which is a major feat considering MSG’s large scale production and hordes of crowds on game night.

Finger friendly, tasty, and convenient, any of Jean-Georges approved dishes would be an ideal dinner tonight at the Lakers vs. Knicks game where Kobe Bryant faces off against the NBA’s latest Asian sensation, Jeremy Lin!

Check out the recipe for the Jean-Georges Grilled Chicken Sandwich here and read on for the hot dog recipe:

Hot Dogs with Kimchi Relish


1/2 cup kimchi, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 hot dogs
4 hot dog rolls
4 tablespoons Korean hot mustard


Preheat a grill to high or preheat a ridged cast iron grill pan over high heat.

Mix together the kimchi, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl.

Grill the hot dogs until browned and crispy, and lightly grill the rolls until they’re golden brown. Put the hot dogs in the rolls and top each one with 1 tablespoon mustard and one-quarter of the kimchi relish.

Weekly K-Roundup: Street artist David Choe, Big Bang World Tour, and More

Your dose of what’s going on in the world of Korean food and culture, right here.

Photo: Freshness, Britt Chester/Westword

This week, Ahn Cheol-Seo, the founder of South Korea’s most successful software company, announced his plans to launch a nonprofit dedicated towards fighting rampant socioeconomic inequality in Korea. (New York Times)

When Korean street artist David Choe painted murals for Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters, he was paid in in Facebook stocks. With Facebook going public this year, he’s set to be one of the wealthiest street artists in the world.(Korean Beacon)

South Korea seems to be optimistic that frosty relations with North Korea will soon ease up. (Businessweek)

Big Bang fans, rejoice. It’s just been announced that the uber boy-band will be holding its first world tour: 16 countries, 25 cities, hopefully yours! (All K Pop)

Curious as to where a chef goes for food in Seoul? Check out Hooni Kim’s picks here. (CNN)

Comfort Food: Budae Jjigae

Budae jjigae is an interesting dish that combines American and Korean flavors pretty deliciously. It’s a combination of an eclectic array of ingredients: hot dogs, canned ham, spam, gochujang, ramen noodles, kimchi, mushrooms, and other ingredients such as seasonal vegetables, rice cakes, and tofu. It’s a hodge podge of a dish that has been incorporated into many a family’s repertoire–spicy, satisfying, and all around filling.

Its nickname “army base stew” refers to its military origins. After the Korean war, there was a surplus of American army rations, so naturally, these foreign ingredients made their way into Korean dishes. Although originally born out of necessity, this fusion dish has retained its popularity in Korea, and beyond. Avid budae jjigae lovers flock to Korean restaurants to get their fix, but any home cook can whip up a delicious pot. Now you can too, thanks to Joe McPherson of ZenKimchi, who’s graciously donated his easy recipe, complete with step by step instructions.

Joe McPherson’s Budae Jjigae

Start with a base of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) mixed with minced garlic and onion.

Add water, but not too much. Turn the heat to high.

Add chopped onion, garlic, and chiles, and bring the fiery hell broth to a boil. Include some sliced leeks if you have some.

At this point, add the meats. The tradition is hot dogs and spam. Yet who says you can’t throw in some more premium items like kielbasa, bratwurst, and smoked Virginia ham? Really, a few sites and forums say that you need spam in it to make it taste authentic.

Keep boiling. Now it’s time to add the vegetables. I think these are chrysanthemum greens in the picture, but throw in any hearty dark green veggies like kale, turnip greens, or collards. You can also do the traditional thing and toss in some baked beans and tofu.

At the end of cooking, toss in some noodles. Ramen noodles are popular, as are clear Korean japchae noodles. If the water is low, add more. Throw in a dash of soju if the mood strikes you.

Serve the stew bubbling with plenty of rice to counter the intense heat and flavors. Wash it down with a good beer and soju.

Check out Joe’s blog here. Photo credit: Joe McPherson >>

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: Girls Generation on Letterman, Kimchi’s Health Benefits, and More

Your dose of whats going on in the world of Korean food and culture, right here.

Opening a bakery is de rigeur in Korea, especially with the wealthy, which has provoked some furious debate over the nature of entrepreneurship in the country. (The Economist)

Kimchi, along with other similar fermented foods such as sauerkraut, is good for us in a variety of ways! Here’s to another helping. (Huffington Post)

This article makes a strong case for homemade soups like samgyetang, a popular Korean health food made of chicken, ginseng, and many other nutritious ingredients. (NPR)

Kpop has officially hit US television screens in a major way. Megagroup Girl’s Generation has been making the talk show circuit this week, performing on both Late Night with David Letterman and Live with Kelly. (Koream)

There’s a new talk show about Korean Americans on the air called The Portfolio, which you can check out on The Korean Channel. (The Korean Beacon).

Milk & Mode recreates Marja’s miyuk guk (birthday seaweed soup) recipe on the Kimchi Chronicles blog. (Kimchi Chronicles)

Guest Video: Sunnysauce’s Japchae

Sunny Lee, winner of the Kimchi Chronicles Video Contest with her awesome manduguk video, unsurprisingly also has a few other choice food videos under her belt. Lee, who pursues photography and video in her downtime, also counts cooking as one of her main hobbies. We’re excited to share a recipe video she put together on japchae, which is incidentally, one of our favorite Korean foods. It’s a super simple dish of cooked noodles and assorted vegetables, all tossed together with a garlicky and subtly sweet sauce. Marja likens it to a Korean pasta salad, and in some ways, it is–versatile, satisfying, and can even be served at room temperature.


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

Guest Recipes: Milk & Mode’s Miyuk Guk

This week we’re featuring  Carol Han of Milk & Mode, who works in fashion as a creative consultant, and moonlights as a food/style blogger. Milk & Mode is equal parts delectable eats and enviable sartorial finds. Check out her take on Marja’s miyuk guk, an incredibly healthy and tasty seaweed soup that’s traditionally eaten on birthdays.

Birthday Seaweed Soup

It’s Korean food week around here, guys. I recently picked up Marja Vongerichten’s (that would be the wife of Jean-Georges Vongerichten) new cookbook on Korean cuisine, The Kimchi Chronicles, and now I’m hooked. I grew up eating the stuff (my Korean mother is the best home cook), but I’ve never really had a go of it on my own. This seaweed soup is something that Koreans traditionally serve on birthday mornings to ring in another year of good health, and making it brought back tons of good memories for me.

Not only is it really delicious, it’s also a seriously effective diet elixir–all that’s in it is a few slices of browned brisket, lots of healthy seaweed, and what will seem like an abnormally large amount of garlic (also, very good for you). Yum. xo

From The Kimchi Chronicles, by Marja Vongerichten

2 large handfuls of dried seaweed, such as wakame
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/3 pound beef brisket, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fish sauce or dashida


Soak the seaweed in cold water to cover for 10 minutes, drain well, and coarsely chop.

Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a large, heavy pot over high heat. Add the brisket and season with salt and pepper. Cook, sitrring now and then, until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and seaweed and stir to combine. Add cold water to cover, bring to a boil, and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Add the fish sauce (or dashida) and cook at a rolling boil until the seaweed is quite soft and the broth has taken on lots of flavor, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Check out the full entry at Carol’s blog here! Photo credit: Carol Han >>

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