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home is where the kimchi is

Truer words have never been spoken.

Really who knew that kimchi (김치) could taste so good? It’s just kimchi! Something that I’ve always taken for granted because there would never be a meal at the Choi house without it. But wow, eating kimchi at home… I don’t know what it was, but I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated kimchi that much.  It tasted of home, of family, and of Korea. I literally inhaled the stuff while I was home – 3 times a day, everyday. Oh, pickled spicy cabbage of home, how I miss you so…

Now I don’t know about the rest you guys, but going back home this fall break made me realize how much I identify with Korean food as a part of who I am.

That is to say, Korean food completes me. Sounds weird, huh?

But sitting at my kitchen table and feasting on rice, kimchi, Korean stew and banchan, never felt so right.

what I've been craving all semester - plain, home-cooked Korean food

Alright, I’ll admit that it probably has to do with the warm, fuzzy feeling of being home too. But even the simplest, most basic of Korean meals had never tasted so good and so attuned to my palate. It probably didn’t hurt that it was all made with my mom’s tender lovin’ care either :)

A few days before I came home for fall break, my mom would always ask me over the phone, “Is there anything you want to eat when you come back? I’ll make sure to cook it extra-delicious for you.” And even though she kept insisting on making something special, I would always answer that all I wanted was mom-made, home-cooked, regular meal, something that we would eat on any old weekday. I just wanted to feel like I was home, you know? Almost as if I had never left for college.

And while my family did eat out a few times here and there, I was perfectly satisfied with everyday food my mom made me. But I’ll admit, she did make a bunch of my favorite foods.

Like on the rainy day she insisted on making kalgooksoo (칼국수) from to warm my tummy.

With tons of vegetables and seafood (because she knows how much I love them) in a warm, clear, anchovy stock.

Psh, chicken noodle soup ain’t got nothing on this.This is my type of comfort food.

Or the hot stone bowl bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥) we ate for dinner one day, because my mom knows that bibimbap is hands-down one of my favorite foods (variety + healthiness = win!)

And when it’s aptly made in a hot stone bowl heated so little crunch rice bits form on the bottom, ALL THE BETTER :D

zucchini, carrot, mushroom, watercress, mixed grain rice, etc.

Seasoned with a little bit of a spicy soy sauce mix:

soy sauce, scallion, sesame seeds, sesame oil, chile flakes


Whoops, almost forgot the egg.

mm, rich, yolky goodness

I also worked with my mom for my Food for Thought project. We’re supposed to choose an important family recipe and showcase it in a Powerpoint presentation, explaining what it is, how it’s made, why it’s important, etc., etc. Since I’m planning on posting the project on the blog once I’m done with my presentation, I don’t want to reveal too much yet! I’ll be doing my project on my grandpa’s potato pancakes, or 감자전 – you guys will have to wait if you want to know the full story, but here are a few pictures that I took with my mom for the project over break.

since it's a potato pancake, you obviously need potatoes.

then grated.

'tater mush - soon to be made hot and delicious

but strained first, to remove the excess liquid

once you pour out potato water, you can also see the starch that drained from the potatoes

oo... potato starch. who would've thunk that was hiding in the potato liquid?

get the drained potatoes and plop them down on a pan, spreading it out.

cook until golden and crispy on one side, then flip!

once it's done on both sides, you DIG IN

nomnomnomnom. simplest food is always the best.

After our “potato photo shoot,” my mom and I ate devoured the potato jeon. It sure brought back childhood memories of Korea.. But more on that in my presentation post!

It’s really simple, but so good. Even Byul wanted some of it.

look of yearning..

LOL. Aw, ain’t he cute? You can tell he wanted that piece of pancake. But we figured it couldn’t be good for him, so I don’t Byul actually ended up getting any.

Writing up this post made me realize how much I miss being at home. It’s raining right now, and all I want to do is snuggling under a blanket on my couch at home, watching the Food Network while drinking tea with my mom. :( Gloomy weather makes for gloomy moods, I guess.

So now that I’m back in school, this’ll be the last post about home food for a while. My mom’s cooking is definitely missed, but I guess I’m just gonna have to tough it out for now. There are ONLY 15 MORE DAYS UNTIL THANKSGIVING BREAK!! I can’t wait to go home… But until then, I’m going to be working on posts about foodstuffs going on campus, so keep on the lookout for those!




  1. Pingback: “California Roll”ing It Up in New Jersey « you eatin' nice - April 2, 2011

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