A collection of 100 recipes exploring the foods and flavors of Koreatown, a New York Times bestseller and one of the most praised cookbooks of 2016.
This is not your average soft-focus "journey to Asia" kind of cookbook. Koreatown is a spicy, funky, flavor-packed love affair with the grit and charm of Korean cooking in America. Koreatowns around the country are synonymous with mealtime feasts and late-night chef hangouts, and Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard show us why with stories, interviews, and over 100 delicious, super-approachable recipes. It's spicy, it's fermenty, it's sweet and savory and loaded with umami: Korean cuisine is poised to break out in the U.S., but until now, Korean cookbooks have been focused on taking readers to an idealized Korean fantasyland. Koreatown, though, is all about what's real and happening right here: the foods of Korean American communities all over our country, from L.A. to New York City, from Atlanta to Chicago. We follow Rodbard and Hong through those communities with stories and recipes for everything from beloved Korean barbecue favorites like bulgogi and kalbi to the lesser-known but deeply satisfying stews, soups, noodles, salads, drinks, and the many kimchis of the Korean American table.
The Korean cookbooks I've read have not had much diversity in the recipes. You can find just about the same recipe with slight variations in each book. I purchased this one based on review I read from a blogger who talked about the kimchi dumplings. Kimchi dumplings ! SOLD. Yes I bought a book based on one recipe, I love dumplings and kimchi. The recipe was fabulous, really fabulous, make a double you'll need it. So it was worth the money right there but I found so many more goodies. This is a collection of recipes from Koreatowns around the country, some classics, most are twisted classics. I found many vegetarian or easy to adapt vegetarian recipes. There is a white kimchi made with soda that is one my list to make next, along with many sauces. The use of tradition seasonings and spices thrilled me, no watering down here. There are many comments from chefs, celebrities, and other Korean food enthusiasts. They are funny, educational, and enlightening. I could tell you about all the recipes I found that I am planning on making but I'm not. When you read this you'll find your favorites an some new ones to try. I found this to be a great source book for some new idea even beyond the recipes here. It goes on my shel as one of my three top Korean recipe books
I love Korean cuisine. Like its country of origin, it's full of different flavors, colors, textures, and even tradition. Kimchi is the first thing that enters one's mind when Korean food is mentioned. That or all-you-can-eat KBBQ. If you're into the whole Hallyu - Korean wave - thing, you might be familiar with more. (Together with my guiltiest pleasures, K-pop and K-drama.)
A lot of Korean food is spicy and that's not really my cup of tea. But I have a couple of non-spicy favorites - japchae, white radish kimchi, bibimbap, KBBQ, and patbingsu. Their street food is pretty awesome too. I once said that the only time I'll eat a red hot spicy kimchi is while in Korea. I've done that. No regrets. I'm glad that Los Angeles has a great Koreatown with a lot of KBBQ places. There was a time when my friends and I came by once a week, a different place every time. It's not the healthiest thing in the world but anything is good food and good friends, is great.
I first heard about this book from Seoul Sausage, one of my favorite food trucks in Los Angeles. They won the 3rd season of Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race. You have to try their Lil Osaka if you have the chance. Anyway, I saw this on their Instagram and immediately, I knew I wanted to get it.
The photos are stunning. The photographer really captured the richness of Korean food presentation. They're almost good enough to eat! The recipes are easy to follow. Although some of the ingredients are going to be harder to find in the average American supermarket. Some suggestions for alternatives maybe? I wanted to give a few dishes a go before reviewing and so far, so good. Sure, I don't have 100% of the ingredients but hey, it tasted the same.
The stories make this book more than a cookbook. It's not only from Koreans, Korean-Americans. From foodies also! If they can't make Korean food sound good, I don't know what will.
If you have the chance, do sample some Korean food. If you're lucky to have a Korean restaurant near you, by all means, drop by for dinner with a shot of soju. If not, well, pick this book up and make your own Korean feast!
Recipes of the Korean-American communities. Ranging from traditional dishes (Bulgogi, Pajeon, Bibimbap, Kimchi, etc.) to fusion (Coca-Cola and Gochujang-marinated Chicken Thighs, Korean Sloppy Joe, Lasagna-Style Stuffed Kimchi and Pork Shoulder, et al), as well as some dishes (well, drinks, to be honest) popular in the Korean immigrant community which owe little or nothing to the home country (Jameson and Ginger, Seoul Train, etc). Since I am not overly familiar with cooking Korean dishes (except Bulgogi and Seafood Pajeon), I'm going to rate this book a conservative but approving 3.5 stars until I have a chance to try some of the recipes myself.
What a thoroughly excellent cookbook. Hong and Rodbard make Korean (and Korean-American) food accessible for the average person, explaining the different kinds of ingredients and showing how to substitute when necessary. I liked how the authors recognized that not everyone has access to certain types of ingredients or cooking tools, and made notes of how the recipe can be adapted. Also, I'm glad they understand that not everyone lives in a free-standing house and can blissfully make all sorts of garlic-y, cabbage-y, spicy food without neighbors complaining of the smells.
I appreciated how this was more than a cookbook: it included memoir-style vignettes, profiles in Korean-American food, and great photos to highlight the various aspects of the cuisine. (However, I would have liked a photo of each recipe to show what the dish was supposed to look like.) The authors explain history and geography as it relates to the food--how and why the food has developed.
The section of "Respect: Guest Recipes" contained a bunch of recipes that I know I would never make (like Stuffed Kimchi and Pork Shoulder, Lasagna-Style) but I appreciated the creativity of all the contributors. I'd order the items in a restaurant, though!
Because of this book, I feel vindicated that a recipe in my cooking rotation (a modified version of this)--delicious and easy, but mocked by coworkers as not being authentic--has gained legitimacy through the inclusion of the Korean Sloppy Joe recipe. (I like my version better, though.)
Overall, a fantastic read that makes me excited--and confident--to try new recipes and learn more about Korean food.
I'll start off by saying that this books was beautifully made. It had wonderful pictures that showed both the food and some of the culture. I would have like more pictures of the food since I'm not sure how the end product should have looked, but I did love the pictures that were included in the book. I thought this was a great book for people looking to branch out their cooking experience with different ethnic foods. It seems to be a great Korean-American fusion and everything I have tried so far is excellent. I can't wait to try more of the flavor combinations that I'm not familiar with, but look so good. I loved that it included parts about Koreatown and Korean culture. I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.
Not as useful as Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook. Koreatown is an interesting cook book for someone who is already comfortable with cooking and eating Korean food. Maangchi is a much better cookbook for someone who wants to learn about Korean spices, foods, and cooking. Koreatown really wants to showcase the Korean food you find in the United States.
Amazing food! Easy-to-follow instructions. Vegetarian and meat options. Covers the gamut of courses. Informational on what makes a dish “Korean”. Great photos, articles, guest contributors. It was just as much fun to read through the cookbook as eating a dish. But really, recipe for escolar? Wtf?! We have made Kalbi meatballs, bulgogi, bibimbap, and kimchi fried rice so far with plans to make a few more before returning to Library. Great cookbook!
My first taste of Korean food was on a trip to New York City ages ago. Mike and I found a Korean BBQ restaurant that we just had to try. At this stage, I can't remember what we ate but I do recall the experience itself: cooking food on a tiny grill set into the table, trying dishes that had familiar flavors but were completely new to us... it was novel and it was fun. And it was something we couldn't do back home.
Skip forward a few years and surprise! We have a Korean BBQ restaurant of our very own now. And it's amazing! What's more, we have two "world" markets that offer such a wide variety of foods that we can actually recreate these dishes at home.
Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard's Koreatown: A Cookbook is a little bit of a dream come true in that sense. It's a guidebook to cooking Korean food in your own home! Just about every imaginable aspect of Korean food, too.
Now if you've ever been to a Korean BBQ place yourself, then you know that one of the coolest parts of the meal is the plethora of side dishes. Everything from multiple kimchis, pancakes, and fish cakes to fermented bean sprouts and potato salad. Yes, potato salad. So it's fitting that the very first chapter of the book is focused on Kimchi and Banchan or side dishes. I hadn't realized, until cracking the book open, that kimchi is not actually the name of the fermented cabbage dish in particular. Kimchi actually just refers to the pickling method itself. With one base and cure the authors offer up five different quick kimchi recipes for the home cook - and none of them are cabbage! That's actually the next recipe in the book, "Baechu Kimchi aka Napa Cabbage Kimchi" something that still intimidates the crap out of me. Many of the recipes themselves - "Our Mildly Insane Kimchi Bokkeumbap aka Kimchi Fried Rice,"This is Not a Bibimbap Recipe aka Mixed Rice Bowl," and "Mukeunji Kimchi Mandu aka Aged Kimchi Dumplings" - all call for cabbage kimchi, some in a variety of increasing ages too. Fortunately, though, the authors have instructions on how to request aged kimchi from Korean grocery stores or age your grocery story kimchi yourself.
One of the things I appreciate most about the book is the fact that while lots of recipes include varying elements that can be purchased (like cabbage kimchi), recipes for those elements and bases are provided throughout the book as well. For example, the "Soondubu Jjigae aka Soft Tofu Soup" and the "Budae Jjigae aka Spicy Army Base Soup" both call for "Anchovy Stock," and while I've never asked my local Asian market if they sell this, I don't have to. The recipe is in the book. (Spicy Army Base Soup has Spam in it!)
If you're looking to try your hand at Korean food at home you just can't do better than Koreatown! The book has everything: Kimchi and Banchan; Rice, Noodles & Dumplings; Barbecue: Grilled, Smoked & Fired; Drinking Food: Pojangmacha; Soups, Stews & Braises; Respect: Guest Recipes (which includes Paul Qui's Kimchi Triple-Cream Grilled Cheese and a killer Korean Sloppy Joe); Drinks; and Sweets & Desserts. There are even essays on varying aspects of Korean food and "Koreatown" as well as contributions from critics and other personalities sharing their own love for Korean food.
Full of beautiful photos and lots of information, this book is a great place to start for someone like me who isn’t very familiar with Korean food or recipes. It starts out with an Introduction and then moves on to: Ingredients & Equipment Kimchi & Manchan Rice, Noodles & Dumplings Barbecue: Grilled, Smoked & Fried Drinking Food: Pojangmsacha Soups, Stews & Braises Respect: Guest Recipes Drinks Sweets & Desserts Acknowledgments Index
So much info and recipes. There are a good variety of recipes, from Kimchi Fried Rice to Ojinguh Gui, which is Broiled Whole Squid. I have eaten squid before at the urging of my late husband, but don’t think I’d like to broil a whole one, or serve it for a meal at home.
In my 20’s I lived on an Army base. The people who lived in the other half of the duplex we lived in were always making Kimchi, which we thought smelled terrible. It would stink up the inside of our house and even smelled up the yard. It sure did stink! I’m sure it tasted good though.
Since I’m a believer in trying new things, I thought this book would not only nudge me into trying to eat a Korean dish, but to also try making it myself.
One of the first recipes I want to try is Dakdoritang which is a spicy chicken stew.
I would recommend this book to any who loves Korean food, or wants to try it. But as a heads up, some of the ingredients may have to be bought at a Korean store, which is to be expected. I’ve never seen gochujang or sheets of toasted seaweed in the stores I shop.
I’m so thrilled with this book and so happy to add it to my cookbook shelf.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review
I enjoyed this cookbook. It is Korean Cooking 101, American style. As one whose wife was 'old school' Korean born during the Japanese occupation it is interesting to me to see how the Korean immigrant baby boomer generation has adapted Korean food to things American. This plays out in Deuki Hong who was born and raised in New Jersey. We are all products of where we grew up and east coast immigrants and immigrant children tend to be a little bit more 'in your face' than the more laid back immigrant children who grew up in the midwest or on the west coast. Given the difficult conditions in Korea, the Japanese occupation, the Korean war, the aftermath of the Korean war with the dictatorship of generals and political oppression (which continued until only about 20-25 years ago) it is perhaps not surprising that Koreans are resilient and adaptable. This plays out in their food as it accommodates to local conditions and ingredients. Thus the recipes in this cookbook use more sugar and sweeteners than dishes in Korea might. Additionally, there are more uses of things like pineapple. Still, the basic earthiness and bold flavors are there. This is good, peasant style food and I mean that as a compliment. If you know little to nothing about Korean food, this is a good primer.
"When you taste Korean food, you can taste the resilience of the people."
This is as good as a Korean cookbook (written in English) can get. If you're like me - who is craving for some 'real' and well-crafted Korean recipes (but not fluent enough in Korean to read a Korean cookbook) - please do yourself a big favour and read this book. I rarely give a 5-star rating - 'tis a rare occasion.
After reading the reviews of other readers (being surprised why this ain't a 5-star book), I found that the reasons they've brought the ratings down were because they either thought the food/recipes were too 'foreign', or (apparently) the ingredients in the book were too 'hard to find'. Seriously? I highly recommend 'Vegan JapanEasy' by T. Anderson for those reviewers who are looking for American food tossed about in Korean condiments - a book that is pretty on the outside and dead-boring on the inside.
If you're looking for something authentic but also creative at the same time - you - have - to - get - yourself - a - copy - of 'Koreantown'. I am so impressed by this cookbook. It features delicious guest recipes including ones by the oh so lovable David Chang, and Sean Brock (one of my favourite chefs ever).
Reading this cookbook gets me so excited! Let's start with 'Miyeokguk' - which is the seaweed and beef soup that Koreans usually have on their birthdays. This brings back lovely memories. On my 21st birthday - I told my mates that I didn't want any material gifts - so some of them cooked me dinner. It was really one of the best dinners I've ever had and every dish took time/effort/heart. One of the dishes was 'Miyeokguk' - and although I had enjoyed it a lot, I've never had it again (no longer housemates - moved back to Seoul). I've never seen it on the menus in Korean restaurants - so I'm glad to see the recipe in the book. It's such an easy recipe to make (the one in the book at least) and I'm so excited to try it out soon.
I don't want to make this review too long, but I'd like to highlight two other recipes that I'm keen to try out soon : 'Galbijjim' (Beef Short Rib Stew) and Koreatown's Fried Chicken. I was always intimidated by beef short-ribs because they're a bit pricey (and look like something hard to cook with - if not on the grill/BBQ) and I've never cooked them before. I've been searching for Galbijjim recipes on the internet recently because I might have seen it in a K-Drama, but the ones I found did not look very good. Hong's recipe though - looked completely do-able and seemed really delicious. Since I don't eat meat much, I only get my meat from good-quality butchers. & I'm really keen about trying this recipe out with aged, heritage beef/ ex-dairy cows.
My Korean mates that I used to live with used to complain about not being able to order delicious fried chicken late at night or after a pub/club sesh. Not until recently - that I've started to make fried chicken (I am not a big fan of frying food because of the amount of oil that won't be re-used obviously hence wasted afterwards; and also greasy kitchen = a deep-cleaning sesh after dinner) . Like the recipe in the book, I've used vodka in the batter. But unlike the recipe - I've never tried freezing the chicken after a light fry - and then frying them frozen until they're golden brown. It's like how chips taste better when you fry them frozen I think - like how Heston(?) did it. Hong explained it in the book : 'water particles in the crust freeze and as a result the ice shards break open the starch cells, creating more surface area to crisp'. This got me excited! The 'deep-fried' recipes in the book are very cool. He recommends 'Guinness' in the 'fish and chips' recipe, and I completely approve of that. Guinness is my favourite - favourite - favourite alcoholic drink; and my go-to when I used to drink (now rarely). Also, the fried fish are to be coated with 'Kimchi Salt' - which I also approve!
There are a lot I could rave/write about the book, but I'll finish it off with the dessert lest this review gets too long. 'Pear Makgeolli Sorbet' caught my attention probably because I've only tried Makgeolli this year for the first time (to me, it tasted 'alright'). Had it with my mates at a dinner (a massive takeaway serving of fried chicken from one of our fav. Korean restaurants around; and one of them made Jjajangmyeon with steak pieces like in the film, 'Parasite') one of them had hosted. Hong's recipe would be too sweet for my taste but the idea of the recipe is wonderful. Since the pears were already soaked in syrup, I wouldn't add sugar in the recipe but I might use floral, light-flavoured honeys. The best part about this recipe is that it would be so easy to make - yet so uncommon a combination - for someone like me who didn't grow up eating Korean food every day. Also, pears are so underrated - so I'm glad to see them being used in his recipe.
Fantastic, engaging, well-written guide to Korean cooking. It describes the culture of Korean food and lists staples to build out your pantry. Recipes and ingredients also have the hangul and romanized Korean names of the dishes. There are starters, banchan, pickles, Korean bbq/grill dishes, as well as guest chef recipes.
Read the book cover to cover and am slowly making my way through the recipes:
Pajeon: fantastic instructions, pancake was crisp. The dipping sauce was fantastic and I see that as a happy vehicle for any dumpling.
Myeolchi Ddangkong Gwaja: (peanut and dried baby anchovy snack). Addictive snack. Clear, easy to follow instructions.
Kimchi White Chocolate Snickerdoodles (guest recipe): Feeling saucy? Make this cookie. My food industry friends LOVED this cookie, and I did too. My partner despised it. It tasted like a spicy, funky cheesecake cookie.
In progress: baechu kimchi (napa cabbage): I'm currently fermenting this in my fridge.
The cookbook also has pro-tips and suggestions on how to control the delightfully fragrant smells of Korean cooking, and other ancillary tips that while not expected, are actually quite helpful. This book is FUN, filled with lots of fun cultural information, and doesn't take itself too bloody seriously (there's a "recipe" for Shin Ramun that's about technique).
I'm glad I own this book. It's delightful.
My one, tiny complaint? I wish they had weight measurements instead of volume. That being said, I would still recommend this book to other friends who had interest in Korean cooking!
Koreatown is an elegant and well crafted book that includes not only over a 100 recipes but also tells the story of the different people cooking Korean food all across the United States. The pictures that accompany both the stories and the recipes are beautifully taken and really emphasize the nature of each dish and the communities that are serving it. I love all types of food, and I was really intrigued by many of the Korean recipes in this book. I tried a couple so far, and they have been delicious. The cookbook first starts off with the basics ingredients and equipment and then moves into the essentials, such as making Kimchi and Banchan. From there it is divided into rice/dumplings, barbecue, drinks, soups, guest recipes, and desserts. Overall I found this book to be not only a beautiful coffeetable centerpiece, but also a wonderful book to turn to when I want to make something with a little Oriental spice.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Let me start with the good: - The photography in this book is beautiful - The interviews with various celebrities and chefs are great - The narrative style of the recipe intros work well - the section on the the Korean pantry is important and well-written
The neutral: - Even my wife, who has been cooking for our family (and previously, her family) for somewhere around 35 years (mostly off the top of her head without a recipe) found that once you've experienced America's Test Kitchen recipes, everything else is substandard. We tried to make the Pajeon (seafood pancakes) for dinner and there were lots of assumptions that made it come out less than ideal.
The less good: - The few recipes we've made have left us somewhat underwhelmed compared to the Korean restaurants nearby. For contrast, most (although not all) America's Test Kitchen or Meathead recipes I've made have been better than anything I've eaten at any but the most expensive (like #150/person or more) restaurant.
Your mileage may vary, but I found it to be a "Just OK" resource for cooking Korean recipes.
This is an amazing book that really leads you through the culture and gives you such easy, straightforward recipes.
I really love how they explain what they are doing differently. They provide the traditional recipe as well as their own unique recipe, explaining why they chose to add certain ingredients, ultimately leaving the choice up to you.
What’s more, they even add unique Korean-American fusion recipes at the end, not only giving the chefs credit, but sharing their stories as well.
I devoured (ha!) this. I am not a chef. I am a reading specialist who is trying to learn how to cook more dishes for her Korean boyfriend and his family. This book is a blast and not overwhelming at all - go for it.
My next venture will be into Maangchi’s books as her website is a fantastic resource as well.
A really solid book on Korean food that is broad and thorough enough to be a basic how-to for Korean cooking. Most of the dishes will require a trip to a Korean market (or online ordering), but you'd kinda expect that from a *Korean* cookbook, no?
The photos were good, and more importantly to me, actually looked realistic - as in, I think most relatively capable home cooks would actually produce dishes that look more or less like the pictures (instead of the almost-impossibl-to-achieve food porn in some cookbooks).
One possible is for some may be the tone. It was pretty irreverent and casual, which I liked, but you never know what my get people offended or butt-hurt these days...
Never thought a cookbook could also capture the heart of Korean American culture. Amazing easy to execute recipes. Great photography. Organized very intuitively including how to put together a basic pantry w gochugaru, ddoenjang and so on. This book has been living on my kitchen counter since I got it, so I can pull from it whenever - and I’m close to having memorized a couple favorites! Even dishes like pajun that I thought I knew, this book has a version that takes the dish to another level. Mmm!!!
Inspired to eat at Deukkis ktown restaurant here in nyc (kangho dong baekjong). Maybe one day I’ll try the more trendy fusion recipes contributed by celebrity chefs in the last chapter.
This is a great cookbook! If you're interested in cooking Korean food, this one is great. I designed a Korean BBQ meal with like 10 different side dishes. I managed to produce all of them in the course of a day without spending every minute in the kitchen, they were all delicious, and I had very little difficulty following the recipes. I'm going to buy the book because this is the second time I've checked it out from the library.
I am Korean but never learned how to cook Korean food. I always buy Korean food but this book helped me to learn how to cook Korean food which taste like my mothers had cooked for me. And it brought all the memories and taste. My heart is aching for missing my mothers everyday amazing food while I was reading this book. Anyone who would love to try to make Korean food at home, you wouldn’t find a better book than this one.
[3.5-4 stars] A compendium of recipes reminiscent of Koreantowns across the U.S. Dishes are presented by category, easily written for a home cook headed to the Korean grocery store for the first time. I liked reading the commentaries and travelogues but wish there had been more from Korean chefs and home cooks, especially women, and less from white folks who like and eat Korean food.
Goodreads Challenge: 54/60 Nonfiction Reading Challenge: a book about or related to travel
Amazing book from such young author. It's the book I looked for over thirty years ago when I was a homesick young immigrant. Even this late in the game, I am glad to have found it. Thank you for the insightful wisdom and breaking down the mythical formulas (recipes) to satisfy the longed for flavours of back when.
This is a great book if you know what you are doing. I am a chef, but not well versed in Korean cuisine and I found it hard to follow. Also where I live, it is hard to attain many of the ingredients. Lots of fermentation going on and I don't think it is for me. The pictures are beautiful and the dishes look delicious.
I really loved cooking through this book. The recipes felt accessible for a home cook. I did have to expand my pantry to include some Korean staples such as doenjang, a fermented bean paste, and sweet potato noodles. Some of my favorite recipes were dakdoritang (a spicy chicken stew), quick kimchi cucumbers and andong jjimdak (a sweet soy braised chicken)
I've just started to get into Korean food. I'm going to use information from this book to help me select my next dish at our favorite local Korean restaurant--and to make some of my own. Informative, lively, and filled with photos, this is a fine book.
I wish I could still eat all of these things. I enjoyed how the recipes were interspersed with descriptions of ingredients and interviews with various Korean chefs. I had fun dipping into this at bedtime.
Lots of detail, great photos, and a laid-back delivery make this a delight just to read for the stories and descriptions, but also info to absorb for my next visit to a Korean restaurant, and I took away a couple things to try at home as well.
Korean cooking is one of the cuisines about which I know the least. I love Korean food but have never been to Korea (yet) nor know many Koreans. This cookbook does the subject a boost. I particularly like that there is a good array of vegetarian dishes. Recommended.