Monday Meanderings: Korean Cooking Class

{Monday  Meanderings:  Musings & Observations From Beyond the Bead Studio} 

If you are new to my blog, you may not know that last summer, we traveled to China and  Korea.  I wrote several posts about China, but then, somehow, I never got back to finish posting about Korea.

My daughter and her boyfriend had been teaching English in Gwangju, South Korea the past school year.  Their time in Korea was nearly at an end and we wanted to visit them and get more of an insiders’ view of the country than we would have, had we not known anyone there.  The four of us stayed in a traditional Korean guest house, during our four days in Seoul.  We slept on cushions on the floor, which is heated in the winter. The furniture was gorgeous black lacquer wood with amazing mother of pearls in-lays.  I was grateful, however, for two non-traditional amenities: a modern style bathroom and air conditioning!  The home itself was beautiful, with a pretty garden courtyard.

Kimchee and sauce pots in a traditional Korean courtyard in Seoul

One side of the courtyard housed the pots for fermented kimchee and sauces

The home owner arranged for us to take a Korean cooking class at the Institute of Traditional Korean Food.  We were first taken on a tour of traditional buildings in our neighborhood.  Then we toured a museum of traditional foods where I was amazed at the almost infinite variety of rice cake designs, each different depending on the occasion:  harvest celebration, first birthday, wedding etc.

Rice cakes, one of many, many styles

Before our cooking class began, we were each outfitted in traditional Korean attire, called a hanbok, with an apron placed over the hanbok.  Our western garb was beneath these two layers.  It was in the 90’s outside with humidity in the 90’s as well.  The building was only lightly air conditioned, so it wasn’t just the food that was cooking.  We were pretty much cooked under all those layers, too!

Korean cooking class


We prepared two dishes:  samgyetang, a Korean ginseng-chicken soup and kimchee, a famous Korean side dish of spicy preserved cabbage or other vegetables.


Samgyetang, Korean chicken soup

The cavity of the chicken is stuffed with garlic, ginseng, jujubes and rice. The chicken is then simmered until it is so tender the meat falls from the bone, so it can be easily eaten with chopsticks.  Unfortunately we really didn’t have enough time for it to simmer long enough and everyone struggled to remove the meat with their chopsticks.  But watching everyone trying to politely eat the still-tough meat got everyone chuckling.  Click here for a recipe for Samgyetang



We also prepared kimchee and have since then made it at home.  There are over 200 kinds of kimchee.  It is both delicious and healthy, containing probiotics, which contribute to stomach health.  Our recipe included Korean radish, salt, chili powder, garlic and shrimp.  I have included a link for a good recipe for cabbage kimchee here.

The four of us had a great time cooking together and we were sent  home with kimchee, bottled sauces and a recipe book.

4 thoughts on “Monday Meanderings: Korean Cooking Class

  1. Pingback: Monday Meanderings: Korean Cooking Class | International Travel Experience

  2. Pingback: Monday Meanderings: Korean Cooking Class | Exotic Travel Solutions

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