Cooking Korean Food – Attempt 1

January 8, 2008 / Daily Life / 15 Comments

I made it my resolution (not New Year’s) to learn how to cook Korean food (my fave cuisine) before I leave Toronto in 6 months. Mainly, because I couldn’t find any good Korean food in Singapore (Actually, I found a great Korean supermarket in Singapore called Solmart.) So anyways I went to the supermarket P.A.T. at Korean Town to get thinly cut samgyeopal (pork belly), kimchi and gochujang to try to make jaeyook bokum (stir-fry spicy pork with kimchi).

I couldn’t find the right recipe, so I had to improvise using whatever I thought I tasted whenever I have jaeyook bokum at restaurants. I’ve never been good at cooking or chemistry, and I don’t particularly enjoy either of them. Everyone who’s ever tasted my dishes claim that they are a fusion between Asian and Western cuisines. The worst thing is that I never intended to mix the cuisines in the first place. Looks like my kids will be having sweet and sour pork with a side of french fries and sushi for lunch in the future.

Anyways, I tried to cook Korean food and this is how it turned out:

Jaeyook Bokum

Jaeyook Bokum 2

The smell was very similar to those served at the Korean restaurants in Toronto. But I couldn’t get it to taste exactly the same. My gravy was way too thick, and wasn’t spicy enough. Most likely, it’s because…

  • the kimchi wasn’t fermented long enough
  • there wasn’t enough kim chi and gochujang
  • I forgot about ginger
  • the pork was still too thick and too fatty (maybe I should have used the neck instead)
  • Korean red pepper powder should have been used instead of Chinese

It was a good learning experience and good meal while it was hot. I will try to cook Dak Gal Bee (Spicy BBQ Chicken) next. Stay tuned.

  • Hehe, the food looks nice, and good! Good luck with your goal of cooking Korean food! Hehe.

    LOL about mixing cuisines. I sometimes do that. LOL.

  • lol nice =o i’ll gladly be your food tester and critic for you <3

  • It looks pretty good for first attempt, and yeah, Chinese “gochujang” are mostly fake and less spicy.

  • Haha, I am sure you BEAT my Korean cooking skill. I cooked Dukbokki (hot and spicy rice cake) for my date… but I never ask my date what she think of it and I don’t want to know. At least she likes my Kimbab.

    I am sure there is a Koreatown in Shanghai, I think it’s in Longbai New Village (龙柏新村)…

  • Ivy

    @ Michael. No, no the gochujang is 100% Korean. It’s the red pepper POWDER that’s Chinese. It’s super spicy but not the same kind spicy as the Korean spicy.

  • Well, Chinese-made Korean foods are all fake. The “gochujang” we used to eat was from China, and it tasted significantly different than the one from my aunt in Korea.

  • Ivy

    @Michael. The gochujang was bought from a Korean supermarket. It’s made in Korea by a Korean company. It’s the one all Koreans use. There’s nothing Chinese about it. I wouldn’t buy “fake” gochujang. Hahaha!

    The red pepper powder I got from a Chinese supermarket (not gochujang, just the red powdery stuff), and is probably made from a different kind of pepper, which doesn’t go well with Korean food. Well actually, it didn’t go with anything now that I think about it. It has its own distinct smell to it.

  • Toni

    yums! The picture makes makes my mouth water!

  • k

    the food looks delicious!! looks rather authentic. haha. i have yet to learn how to cook korean food even after 1 year of being here… -_-;;;

  • looks delicious! i like korean food because i love spicy foods and it’s rare to find it in here (japan). of course i can go to thai restaurants, in case i miss indonesian cuisine :d

    anyway, any chance to share the recipe? :d

  • Looks delicious!

    I have never eaten Korean food, but it sure does look tasty. I hope I get the chance to taste it one day too. 🙂

  • I wasn’t clear enough. What I meant to say was that China exports their “gochujang” to Korea with labels that states “made in Korea”. Therefore, even if you buy it some Korean supermarket, it could be from China. This is true even within in Korea. Also, there are rumors that the China ones contain some chemicals that are toxic.

  • Ivy

    @Michael. OH JINJJA?!?!?! (hahaha, I’ve always wanted to say that) Anyways, that’s really crappy. I’m gonna have to do a little more research on this fake Chinese gochujang then. >.< Thanks for letting me know.

  • cooking is fun, especially when your experimenting with the ingredients. i like your humor about your future kid’s lunch, haha =D.

  • Well it looks great! Congratulations for whipping up a decent Korean meal 🙂 well I bet I couldn’t even cook a pot of rice properly! I’m only good at cooking instant noodles, LOL 😀 hah anyway I read from a magazine (probably Reader’s Digest) that kimchi is good for health… very good for health! Anyway isn’t it a blessing for your future kids to have so much different cuisines mixed together during lunch?

    P.S. thanks for your comment on my blog! I really appreciate that!