Instant Pot Korean Short Ribs

Instant Pot Korean short ribs recipe.  Try this super flavorful Korean short ribs made in an Instant Pot (or in any other electronic pressure cooker). The sticky sauce glazed meat is bone fall apart tender and lip-smacking delicious! Today, I’m sharing my first instant pot recipe. In case you don’t know, Instant Pot is a…

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Kongnamul Muchim (Spicy Soybean Sprouts)

Soybean sprouts (Kongnamul Muchim) on black dish on wooden tableKongnamul Muchim (Spicy Soybean Sprouts side dish) that is saucy and delicious! If you love things with a little kick, you will love this recipe. Great healthy dish to have with any meal as a side but also wonderful on its own with just rice. Kongnamul Muchim that is spicy, garlicky and nutty… swimming in…

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Soybean Sprouts Side Dish (Kongnamul Muchim)

Soybean Sprouts Side Dish Kongnamul Muchim Not SpicySoybean Sprouts side dish (Kongnamul Muchim) is probably one of the most popular banchan in Korean cuisine and the most often served side dish in restaurants. This non-spicy version is loved by all Koreans young and old. It is also a must ingredient for bibimbap.


Top view of soybean sprouts side dish in square plate
Soybean Sprouts Side Dish (Kongnamul Muchim)

Soybean sprouts or Kongnamul is sort of like green beans on an American dinner table except unlike in the US, lot of Korean kids actually LOVE this non-spicy version of Kongnamul muchim. 😆 When I was living in Korea a few years ago, I remember seeing on TV that Kongnamul is the most common vegetable in every Korean family’s refrigerator beside of course green onions. (more…)

K-Pop Album Holiday Giveaway #2: Girls Generation

Girl's Generation 6th Album GiveawayK-Pop Album Giveaway #2 – Girls Generation 6th Album!! Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas! 🎄🎉🎄Let’s bring in the Holiday cheer with more Korean pop music!  Girls’ Generation – WOW – I have to say – Kudos to these ladies for still doing it!! My second giveaway is Girl’s Generation 6th album…

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Clumsy Instagram Attack on Tom’s Pizza


Tom’s Pizza in Hongdae has been making the rounds in the foodie community because of its high quality New York style pizza. It’s now my go-to place for business meetings. It’s just a small operation with Tom and his wife running the place.

Tom messaged me last night, saying he was worried. He suddenly got 6,000 followers on his Instagram account. He felt that something was about the happen.


Then the robot attacks began. (Click to see the original size.)

Korean attack 3 Korean attack 2Korean attack 1

The origin looks Korean or Korean-American, considering the content of some of the messages. Then again, it could be some expat who has nothing better to do than to pretend to be Korean–after almost 15 years of blogging in Korea, I wouldn’t be surprised. It could be a disgruntled customer or another restaurant playing dirty. I’ve mentioned in the past how difficult it is for foreigners to run businesses, especially restaurants, in Korea because of dirty xenophobic tactics by some businesses and government officials. I know a couple restaurateurs who left the country because they just got tired of fighting it.

Today, there are over 7,000 followers. Someone is paying a company to do a coordinated attack. I’m just posting this here for future reference.

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K-Pop Giveaway Winner! and my 2nd Giveaway will start soon!

Girls Generation 6th Album coverHello everyone! As promised, I have a winner!!  It’s Amber L.! Congratulations!! I will contact you separately. As always, I was so grateful for all the wonderful feedback you left me while entering the Giveaway. Although I could not respond to each of you, PLEASE know that I READ each and every comment and really…

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Menus for Korean Dinner Parties

4 Korean Dinner Party Menu Ideas

The holiday season is upon us! I’m sure many of you are planning holiday gatherings with family and friends. For your convenience, I put together some menu ideas for a Korean dinner party. This is an updated post of my December 2016 dinner party menus. I’ve updated the menus with new photos and added a Korean street food party menu.

The recipes included are some of my personal favorites to serve at dinner parties. In this post, you will find four different menus — a casual dinner for a few people, a more elaborate dinner for a larger group, a vegan dinner, and a Korean street food menu. 

You can adjust the number of dishes you make from the menu depending on the number of your guests, and double or triple the recipes as necessary. The number of servings is provided in each recipe. These dinner menus can be served family style or buffet style.

For cold days, you can also add a simple soup such as kongnamul guk and mu guk to any of these menus, especially if you have elderly guests. Rice and kimchi are the basics for a Korean table, so I did not add them to the menus here.

A lot can be prepared ahead of time. You can certainly marinate your meat or make namul dishes a day in advance. With some planning and preparation ahead, you too can serve up a Korean feast everyone will be rave about!

For a small group:

Korean dinner menu for a few people
Kimchijeon (Kimchi pancake)
Doenjang jjigae
Kongnamul muchim
Samgyupsal gui (Grilled pork belly): Or Bulgogi, Jeyuk bokkeum, or Salmon bulgogi if preferred. 
Pa muchim (Scallion salad)
Mu saengchae (Spicy radish salad)

For a large group:

Haemul pajeon (seafood scallion pancake)
Kkanpung saewu (Sweet and spicy shrimp)
Japchae (Stir-fried starch noodles with beef and vegetables)
Gujeolpan (platter of nine delicacies)
Samsaek namul
Samgyupsal (pork belly): This can be done in the slow cooker or over the stove top.
Slow cooker dak jjim (braised chicken)
LA galbi (Beef short ribs): Outside grilling season, you can broil the ribs in the oven.

Vegan dinner:

Korean dinner party vegan menu

Hobak jeon  (zucchini pancake)
Hobak mandu (Zucchini dumplings): Make this in advance and freeze until ready to use.
Eggplant rolls (Gaji mari)
Kongnamul japchae
Dubu jorim (braised tofu)
Bibimbap – or Tofu bibimbap

Korean street food party

Korean street food party

Mandu (dumplings)
Eomuk guk (fish cake soup)
Dak gangjeong (sweet crispy chicken)
Kimbap (gimbap)
Tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cake)
Hobak hotteok (sweet stuffed pumpkin pancake)

For different meat options: 10 Korean BBQ Recipes

For different vegetable side dish options: 15 Vegetable side dishes

To add a soup to your dinner: 15 Korean soup recipes

For kimchi recipes: 15 Easy kimchi recipe

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Matcha Green Tea and Omija Cookies (Dasik)

Matcha Green Tea and Omija Cookies are wonderfully healthy no bake Korean cookies that are also so elegant, beautiful and traditional. Called Nokcha Dasik and Omija Dasik in Korean, these are small cookies made with fine matcha powder and omija tea that’s sweetened with honey. Korean nobility enjoyed these sweets as snacks during their tea…

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Thanksgiving 2018 – An Appetizer-ey One


Tomorrow’s our third annual neighborhood Thanksgiving.

Jian is really into it this year. When I was a kid, my cousin Matthew had a funny story he still repeats each year. It was his job when we were tweens to make the sweet potato casserole. He mistook a shot of whiskey for a cup of whiskey in our grandmother’s recipe.


It was quite a drunken Thanksgiving.

Jian has her own embarrassing story. I won’t tell it here, but our little Korea family laughs about it each year when she tells it.

I created a little Thanksgiving playlist on YouTube. Charlie Brown, Garfield, the 2017 Macy’s Parade (Matt Lauer’s last, obviously), funny Thanksgiving videos, and some football highlights. We had fun. She got sleepy and went to bed.

Rest of playlist here.

This year, my job is appetizers. The first year, I did the turkey. Brined it. Spatchcocked it. Did a few sides too. It was a little over a month after I’d closed down the last restaurant PLUS my seizure and spinal injury. I’d felt a need to resurrect my self-esteem and make a great Thanksgiving. It was a good time, though EJ was too sick to attend. The second year, I was in charge of sides. I think I made almost ten. Cooked well into the night. We were the hosts that year, and I only remember getting really drunk–which eventually led to my sobriety season the next year.

I kept things simple, sticking to dishes that don’t require much prep. An antipasti platter that we may shape as a turkey. Sounds dumb and whimsical. Why not?

The most exotic thing I’m making is a Cranberry and Fig Chutney. And that’s really to use up some cranberries and figs I have in my freezer. I’m gonna make my grandmother’s Banana Bread. I’m going to make those infamous Sausage Balls from the ’70s. The original recipe is just three ingredients: sausage, Bisquick, and cheddar cheese. The thing is, in Korea, we don’t have sage breakfast sausage, so I have to make it myself. I just made a quick batch, and it’s mellowing in the fridge. I chucked the Cranberry-Fig Chutney ingredients into the slow cooker for overnight.

The one whimsical surprise I’m making is Crab Rangoon. It’s an American-Chinese dish that you CANNOT get in Korea. I’ve made it once for the girls, and they devoured it. Tonight, I just sauteed some onions in butter, threw in some good quality fake crab (Korea makes great fake crab–and even lobster), and a couple tubs of cream cheese<–the most expensive ingredient. I’m letting that coalesce in the fridge as well.

Jian wants to help, so tomorrow, we’ll make the Sausage Balls, quickly make a Banana Bread or two from some ‘naners I’ve been ripening in a plastic bag all week, and assemble the Crab Rangoon and fry it. We’ll see about making our Antipasti Turkey. This all sounds ambitious, but I feel like I’m being lazy. The antipasti is all just stuff I bought at the stores on clearance, including the French Onion Dip from E-Mart Traders–and I’m known for my HOMEMADE French Onion Dip.

This almost didn’t happen at all.

For the past couple of days, my old back injury has been acting up. Maybe I slept the wrong way. But there’s a group of muscles deep in my core that are spasming–making me scream in shock. It looks like the best I can do is to stay active and walk and take ibuprofen. It does help a bit. But today I went to work and didn’t bring any meds. By 4 o’clock, I couldn’t even concentrate. Time slowed down. I’d give tests and assignments to classes and then walk around the building to limber up my muscles. It mostly hurts when I’m changing position–like going between sitting, standing, and lying down positions. Killed me because the pain just kept increasing from my having to stand behind a podium much of the day. Then I had to do grocery shopping for tonight and somehow start cooking.

It was hell. I’d say tonight was in the top ten of most painful experiences of my life, including my fall in 2016 and that time in 1988 when I flipped over the handlebars of my bike and skidded chin first on the asphalt, exposing my chin bone.

I took some ibuprofen and some leftover prescription muscle relaxants as soon as I got home. Still hurts, but now I’m ambulatory. It was so bad that I could only breathe a quarter of the way. It was the type of pain that made me want to throw up.

After a few hours, I was able to go back down to the car and lug up the groceries and cook. And that leads me to where I am now. I have the basics ready for Thanksgiving.

I have a Dark Side tour that evening, so I won’t be able to totally laze out. On Sunday, I’m doing a podcast with an Australian travel blogger at his hotel room in Dongdaemun. Packed weekend. On top of that, I’m working with my Restaurant Buzz Seoul team to put together a Sexy Chef Calendar for charity. Because why not?

It’s this time of year that I truly become thankful and reflect. I need to re-read that famous account of my first Thanksgivings in Korea. Life in Korea has progressed so much since then. It should be required reading for any American moving to Korea to understand how things used to be and to be thankful–rather than whine about how some Oaxacan Turkey Enchiladas at a properly tattooed and bearded hipster joint aren’t authentic enough.

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15 Korean Foods That Will Impress Your Party Guests

Discover delicious Korean party food ideas!  – 15 Korean Foods That Will Impress Your Party Guests Are you looking for some Korean party food inspiration? Whether it’s just for a simple dinner gathering or something bigger like Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas lunch, look no further! Here, I share a collection of my Korean recipes that…

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