Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple

Story by Ada Tseng.

The Cooking Channel’s Korean Food Made Simple, hosted by Korean American chef Judy Joo, is the latest installment of a culinary television series that previously included Mexican Food Made Simple and Chinese Food Made Simple. Part travelogue, part how-to guide, Korean Food Made Simple sent Joo all over Korea to gather inspiration, from fish markets in Seoul and the streets of Busan to the small islands off the coast of Korea. (“I’ve been to more places in Korea than my relatives, who have lived there their entire lives!” says Joo.) After exploring different foods around the country, she returned to London, where she’s been based for the last several years, to show audiences how to re-create Korean flavors in a regular home kitchen.

Joo was thrilled when she was approached to do Korean Food Made Simple, as she’s proud of her heritage and has brought a lot of Korean influences to the menu at the Playboy Club London, where she has been the executive chef since it opened in 2011. Some of the dishes that appear on the show — like the Spicy Mussels with Bacon and the Steamed Ginger Infused Sea Bass with Zucchini — have actually been served at the Playboy Club. “We also make our own kimchi at the Club,” says Joo. “And we have a version of the Korean fried chicken in our sports bar.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Joo was no stranger to the local disco fries or fast fixes at Taco Bell, but she mostly ate Korean food at home. Her mother taught her how to cook authentic Korean food, but she jokes that helping out in the kitchen as a kid felt more like slave labor than fun.

“This was when there was nothing pre-made,” says Joo. “So it’d be me and my sister in front of a mound of meat making dumplings. I remember brushing sheets and sheets of dried seaweed with oil, salting them and then having to fry them. Then going to the garden to pick sesame leaves. It felt like chores.

“Also, [traditionally] you’re supposed to cook each vegetable separately to keep it from getting infected by other ingredients,” continues Joo. “And you want to keep the integrity of the color, so if the vegetable is light, you’re not supposed to use soy sauce. But no one has time to cook seven different vegetables separately in one pan to make one dish!” She laughs. “So I say, just cook it all together, and if the carrots are a little brown, it’ll be OK.”

She also shares tips and shortcuts for any home cook who might not live near a Korean market. For example, if you can’t find mirin, a sweet rice wine that is common in Korean cooking, Joo says it’s perfectly fine to substitute Sprite or 7-Up. And if you can’t find thinly sliced beef, partially freeze it and cut it with a knife. “I don’t think that you have to be completely authentic or traditional in order for people to get a good taste of a cuisine,” says Joo. “Food is always dynamic. Food in Korea has changed tremendously in the past years and decades. It’s like languages; it’s always evolving.”

One of Joo’s favorite meals to serve at a dinner party is do-it-yourself kimbap. Instead of pre-rolling the Korean sushi prior to guests arriving, Joo gives each guest their own squares of seaweed and lets them make their own. Joo is also a big fan of do-it-yourself bibimbap, where she encourages guests to choose their own vegetables for the mixed rice dish.

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Judy Joo with Seoul chef and restaurateur Lucia Cho.

Though Joo is now a recognizable TV food personality — she is one of the few who can claim to have been on Iron Chef as a competitor, an official Iron Chef (the only woman in the Iron Chef UK lineup) and a judge — her road to success was a winding one. Born to a physician father and a chemist mother, Joo initially aspired to a career in the sciences and ended up working in banking for many years before she had what she calls her What Color Is Your Parachute? moment and began to soul-search about what she really wanted to do with her life.

“My parents were not thrilled,” says Joo of the prospect of her giving up her prestigious gig on Wall Street. But to contextualize, she grew up in a stereotypically overachieving Asian American household where her parents were also “not thrilled” when she only got into Columbia and not Yale, where her sister went. She toyed with the idea of joining the Peace Corps (“My dad was like, ‘Why do you do that? That’s why I left North Korea!’”), but eventually enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York. Soon after relocating to London with her husband, she ended up working at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant and worked her way up from there.

But it wasn’t until she got into television that her parents started to understand the significance of her new career path. “When I got invited to the Blue House in Korea —the White House of Korea — that’s when my parents were like, ‘Oh, maybe you are doing something interesting and important,’” she says. “That’s when they realized I wasn’t just a line cook, I guess.”

Episodes of Korean Food Made Simple can be seen on the Cooking Channel, and a cookbook with recipes featured on the show will be available next year. 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

This Japanese Dessert Looks Just Like A Giant Water Drop

This Japanese dessert has recently gained quite a bit of viral fame. After all, who wouldn’t be intrigued by a cake that looks just like a drop of water?

This intriguing dessert is called Mizu Shingen Mochi and can be translated to water shingen mochi. As the name indicates, this dessert is actually a variation of a traditional “shingen mochi” rice cake. The consistency is said to be similar to soft and sticky mochi.

The rare dessert is created using water from the Southern Japanese Alps and is served with kinako soybean powder and brown sugar syrup.  The water is apparently solidified into a solid shape, but feels like it can break with just a poke. Apparently, the cake will melt like water in your mouth, but is extremely tasty. The cake is so delicate that if it is not consumed in 30 minutes, it will melt away.

By now, you’re probably itching to get your hands on one of these. Unfortunately, mizu shingen mochi are exclusively produced by the Kinseiken Seika Company and only available in two locations in Japan:

Kinseiken Daigahara shop:
Address: 2211 Daigahara, Hakushucho, Hokutoshi, Yamanashi 408-0312
Tel: +81-551-35-2246
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
Closed: Thursdays

 
Kinseiken Nirasaki shop:
Address: 154 Kotagawa, Nakadamachi, Nirasakishi, Yamanashi 407-0262
Tel: +81-551-25-3990
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
No scheduled holidays

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(Source 1, 2)

THE ULTIMATE SUSHI GUIDE: Everything You Need To Know About Japan’s Most Iconic Food


History of Sushi

Over 2000 years ago, the first sushi was created. Of course, it was quite different back then. The original “sushi” was created in Southeast Asia simply as a way to preserve fish in fermented rice. The process of creating this original sushi, called narezushi, involved having salted fish wrapped in fermented rice for months and the rice would be thrown out when the fish was consumed.

When this became popular in Japan, the Japanese created a new dish, namanare, which involved eating both the fish and rice. The fish was consumed before it changed flavor.

Finally, a third type of sushi was created. Haya-zushi is the form of sushi we are most familiar with. The fish and rice was assembled to be eaten at the same time and the rice was not being used for fermentation.

Our modern sushi was created by Hanaya Yohei as an early form of fast food.

 


 

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Proper Way To Eat Sushi

1) Do not rub wooden chopsticks together before use. This may insult your host by saying their chopsticks are cheap.
2) Don’t feel pressured to use your chopsticks. It is also common to eat sushi using your hands. 
3) Sushi is meant to be consumed in one bite.
4) Only a light amount of soy sauce should be used. Otherwise you may insult the chef by indicating that the sushi did not have enough flavor.
5) The fish portion of the sushi should be dipped into the soy sauce and your sushi is consumed “rice up.”
6) Although popular in America, wasabi is not supposed to be mixed into the soy sauce.
7) Use the back end of your chopsticks to grab sushi from a communal plate.
8) Do not place the ginger on your sushi pieces. Ginger is meant to be eaten between different pieces of sushi to cleanse your palette for the next taste.

 


 

Different Types of Sushi
Maki (1)
Makizushi
Cylinder-shaped sushi that is rolled up with a bamboo matt and typically wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) and cut into pieces. There was various types of Makizuki depending on the ingredients inside as well as the size of the roll.
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Temaki
Another form of Makizuki, but it doesn’t quite look like the other variations. Instead of a cylinder shape, it is created with nori in a cone shape and stuffed with ingredients.
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Uramaki
Uramaki is a Western-style of sushi which has rice on the outside and nori/other ingredients on the inside. This was created in the United States as a way of visually hiding the seaweed.

 

 

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Nigirizushi
Nigiri is hand formed. It is a mound of rice with a slice of fish/seafood placed on top.
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Shashimi
Raw fish served without rice.
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Gunkanmaki
An oval mound of rice wrapped in nori and topped with soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient. 

 



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“World’s Best Sushi Restaurant”
Tokyo’s famed restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro is said to have the best sushi in the world. The restaurant is owned and operated by 88-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono who is the very first sushi chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars. The sushi gathered so much attention that it became the focus of a 2011 documentary called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

Reservations must be made months in advance and customers must be prepared to dish out quite a bit of money. The 20-course “Chef’s Recommended Special Course” is about $300. While that’s a lot of money for one meal, customers always seem satisfied. They argue that the meal is an experience and an art.


 

Chopsticks Tutorial 

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(source)


 

DIY Sushi Plush/Pillow

The History of Cambodian-Owned Donut Shops

You’re probably already aware that a large amount of independently-run donut shops in California are Cambodian-owned. What you may not know is that the donut shop industry is an integral part of the Cambodian immigration story.

In honor of National Donut day, we decided to look into the history of hardworking, Cambodian donut shop owners:

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1) You won’t find a donut in Cambodia.

Well, you can probably find a few donuts, but if you thought you’d find streets lined with donut shops in Cambodia, you’re in for a let-down. While donuts are a large part of the Cambodian American culture, many can tell you that this is purely an American tradition. Allegedly, there is only one donut shop in all of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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2) It all began with a man named Ted Ngoy.

Before donut shops were associated with the Cambodian American culture, there was Ted Ngoy paving the way. He arrived in the U.S. in 1975 and two years later, he begun his own donut shop. Clearly, his legacy continued.

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3) “The American Dream” 

“Ngoy is the one who found a way for Cambodian immigrants to become part of the American dream of owning their own business,” said Dennis Wong of the Asian Business Association. “Taking a loan from an Asian loaning society, Ngoy was able to buy two stores, operate them for awhile and then sell to someone in the community or a family member who wanted to buy them. That’s how they got into it.”

“Italian immigrants are often working with restaurants, Indians with newsstands and hotels. With Cambodians, it happens to be donuts,” he said.

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4) Running a donut shop is hard work. 

You’ll often hear about these donut shops having only a few workers in order to save money. In fact, many of the workers are family members who must find time within their day to help the family business. As a result, many owners will work long and tiring hours to make sure their shop is functional. Additionally, many donut shop owners have voiced that the long hours have made it difficult to assimilate into a new society.

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5) They have thrived. 

An estimated 80% of donut shops in the Los Angeles area are owned by Cambodian Americans. In Houston, Texas, the percentage is an even larger 90%.

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6) A day in the life:

(Source 1, 2, 3)

25 Irresistible Panda-Shaped Foods

To avoid stereotyping, I’m not going to say that all Asians like pandas, but we definitely have a soft spot for these adorable bears. Native to south central China, pandas are known for their distinct black and white color and for (despite their large size) having a diet that consists  almost entirely of bamboo.

Well many people have decided to incorporate pandas into their own diet. No, I’m not talking about eating our beloved bears. A number of people have found creative ways to incorporate the panda’s distinct black and white patches into every day food. The result? Adorable panda-shaped and panda-themed food!

And who wouldn’t want food in the shape of these docile, cuddly creatures? Pandas are now considered an endangered species, but people have definitely made up for that number by incorporating pandas into just about anything you can think of.

Now riceballs, cookies, pastries, bread, mochi, ice cream, cookies and even coffee can come in an adorable panda shape.

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20 of Asia’s Most Mouth-Watering Desserts

When we brought you Top 10 Scary Asian Dishes We Love, readers couldn’t agree more. While we may love our food, we admit that to an unfamiliar eye, some of our Asian dishes look quite unapproachable.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case with all of our food. For instance, many of our desserts look too good to be true. To prove our point, we made a list of 20 of Asia’s Most Mouth-Watering Desserts. 

You’ll probably find yourself really hungry after scrolling through this. You’ve been warned.


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1) Custard Tart/ Egg Tart 
(Chinese) A custard tart pastry that consists of an outer crust which is filled with egg custard and baked.


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2) Khanom khrok
(Thai) Rice flour and coconut milk pancakes-like pastries.


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3) Halo Halo
(Filipino) Shaved ice and evaporated milk with various boiled sweet beans, jello and fruits such as jack fruit, tapioca and ice cream.

 


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4)  Bungeoppang
(Korean) Batter is poured into a fish-shape mold, filled with red bean paste, then closed and roasted.


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5) Mochi Ice Cream
(Japanese) Pounded sticky rice (mochi) filled with ice cream.


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6)  Chendol
(Indonesian/Vietnamese) Coconut milk, jelly noodles, and shaved ice mixed with various ingredients such red beans and creamed corn.


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7)  Castella
(Japanese)  Sponge cake  made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup.


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8) Ensaymada
(Filipino)  A brioche baked with butter instead of lard and topped with grated cheese and sugar.


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9) Doufuhua
(Chinese) Made with very soft tofu and often referred to as tofu pudding.


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10) Tteok
(Korean) Rice cakes made with steamed rice flour. can It can range from elaborate versions with nuts and fruits to the plain-flavored tteok.


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11) Khanom tom
(Thai)  Glutinous rice flour, palm sugar and coconut.


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12) Leche Flan
(Filipino) A custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top.


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13) Green Tea Ice Cream
(Japanese) Japanese ice cream flavor.


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14) Almond biscuits
(Chinese) A light biscuit/cookie often topped with sliced almond nuts and sometimes  prepared with almond flour.


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15) Bánh chuối
(Vietnamese) A sweet banana cake or pudding.


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16) Kutsinta
(Filipino) Rice cake made from rice flour, brown sugar and lye. Often topped with coconut.


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17) Coffee Jelly
(Japanese) A gelatin dessert that has the color and flavor of black coffee.

 


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18) Gyeongju bread
(Korean) A small pastry with red bean paste filling. A local specialty of Gyeongju City, South Korea.


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19) Almond Jelly
(Chinese) Apricot kernel milk extracted, sweetened, heated with a gelling agent and solidified into a gelatin dessert.


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20) Sikhye
(Korean) A sweet rice beverage served as a dessert. It is created by pouring malt water onto cooked rice.

 


Know more desserts that deserve to be on this list? Comment below and let us know!

Julie’s Kitchen: Introducing the Food Collage

Here at Audrey, we’ve seen all sorts of art mediums. We’ve seen a Jackie Chan portrait made entirely of chopsticks, cultural art made from make up, and even stop-motion art using a tissue. Well Julie Lee is here to add her name to this list of creative artists.

Lee is the mastermind behind popular blog, Julie’s Kitchen. Her form of art? Food collages. Lee defies all parents who have told their children not to play with their food and the results are beautiful. Using goods from the Saturday Santa Monica Farmers Market, Lee creates captivating photography.

“My food collages on Instagram started out as a way to showcase seasonal and local offerings from neighborhood farmers markets,” Lee writes on her website. “It’s evolved into an ongoing project in the study of plant design, exploration of color theory, and pure, unadulterated food-love. Let’s be real– I like to play with my food. Thanks for letting me nerd out.”

The julieskitchen instagram account has nearly 60,000 followers and for good reason. Her photos are both beautiful and delicious. Check them out below.

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MUST SEE: Japan Gives Us a Glimpse of Advanced Technology Restaurants in the Future

There is simply no denying that our advances in technology will continue to progress. In fact, we have made so much progress in recent years that we like to hypothesize what the future may look like.

We did this with the movie Her starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson. The film has received widespread critical acclaim and praise. The appeal to the movie? A man falls in love with an operating system. This may seem impossible, but as it turns out, this may not be so unheard of after all. Japan, who is often known to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology, is already close to achieving this.

Japanese netizens are not in love with an operating system just yet. Instead, some are convinced that they are in love with a virtual girlfriend found in a video game. As you can see, Her isn’t that extreme after all.

Aside from virtual machines that we may grow to love, Japan has looked into various ways that our future may look like on an average day. In this video, a Tokyo-based tech company gives us a glimpse of what a restaurant may look like in the future.

Surprisingly, the woman in the video doesn’t have to actually interact with another human being. She can view the menu from her phone, touch the options in front of her and pay from her phone as well.

Although the idea of such advanced technology seems daunting, the things shown in this video aren’t too unrealistic. In fact, this seems like a perfectly plausible future restaurant. Of course, this may make it even more scary.

Watch the video below and tell us what you think.

 

“未来レストラン”へようこそ 〜 3/27 未来をカタチにする、スマートデバイス体験イベント from Recruit Tech. ATL on Vimeo.

This Little Twin Stars Cafe Might Be The Cutest Thing Ever

Some of Japan’s cutest characters come from the popular and beloved company, Sanrio, which was founded in 1960. In fact, Sanrio’s most popular face, Hello Kitty, has become one of the most successful marketing brands in the world. Walk into any Sanrio store and you can purchase nearly anything Hello Kitty-inspired. You can get Hello Kitty pencils, bags, toasters, bathroom appliances and even laundry baskets.

So it’s no secret that Sanrio has done incredible work to globally market their main character Hello Kitty, but in Japan itself, you can see even stronger efforts to market some of the other 400 characters in the Sanrio family.

One method is through pop-up cafes. In Japan, a number of restaurants and cafes utilize a theme for their food and products.  These items are limited edition and fans rush into the pop-up cafes to purchase the items before time runs out.

Last year in October, a My Melody pop-up cafe appeared in Tokyo. The adorable and pink products were an instant success. Sanrio is taking over a pop-up cafe once again. This time, the cafe is based on Kiki and Lala who are more commonly referred to as the Little Twin Stars. Kiki and Lala were introduced in 1975 and the angel-like characters have had quite a large fan base.

Now their fans can enjoy pink and blue hamburgers, star-shaped pancakes and even the Little Twin Stars’ faces on top of a cup of coffee. Clearly, it’s all too cute to miss. If you happen to be in Tokyo, be sure to check it out! The Cafe will be themed Little Twin Stars until the end of May. Find out more information below:

Tel: 03-3477-5773
Email: info@the-guest.com
Facebook: THE GUEST

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Breakfast Food From Around The World

If there’s one thing that joins people together, that would be food. In fact, people often travel the world with the goal to try new types of food. This happens so often that the World Food Travel association has coined the term Food Tourism which is “the pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near.”

And why shouldn’t travelers be interested in new foods? Afterall, food can tell you much about culture, traditions and taste.

Now the old saying is that breakfast in the most important meal of the day. In honor of that, Buzzfeed recently decided to create the video “What Does The World Eat For Breakfast.”

In the video, we get a glimpse of a typical breakfast in various parts of the world. The video doesn’t seem to contain entire breakfast meals, but it certainly shows the most common breakfast foods of each country including the following Asian countries:
food- china food- india

food- vietnam food- japan

Check out the entire video below: