Cookbook review: Koreatown by Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard

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Well, it’s been awhile since I reviewed a cookbook!  I got this one for Christmas, and I read it cover-to-cover that same day.  It made me very hungry, and it really made me want to make an H-Mart run.  (Unfortunately, given the fact that it was Christmas, that was not an option.)

As you might have gathered from my previous reviews, I lived a pretty sheltered childhood.  I didn’t even know what Korean food was until I was about fifteen years old and had a Korean best friend.  She took me to a traditional Korean barbecue held in some girl’s garage. (The girl is actually a semi-famous businesswoman now who has given TED talks and met with President Obama, so that’s pretty cool.)  At the time, I was used to eating some type of roast with some type of potatoes, some kind of frozen vegetable, and some kind of rolls that came out of a tube.  To say these Korean flavors were a shock to my palate would be a serious understatement.

As we moved on to college, I lived with my Korean best friend (or KBF, as the book puts it).  There was this purple Korean restaurant about a mile from our dorm that we went to sometimes.  I loved the bulgogi so much that I never, ever ordered anything else.  (What a shame.)  Sadly, the purple restaurant closed midway through college, and there wasn’t any other good Korean food in town at the time.  (Now there are Korean and Korean fusion food carts all over campus.)

When I moved to New Jersey after college, I fell in love with this little Korean bistro on the outskirts of town.  It was there that I finally had bibimbap, japchae, various types of banchan, kalbi, real ramen, soft tofu stew, and absolutely fell in love with gochujang.  A new Korean friend let me know about a nearby enormous Korean grocery store, and a love affair was born.  I can only apologize to my KBF for not realizing what she had tried to show me earlier.  Korean food is amazing.

So, anyway, I put this Koreatown cookbook on my Christmas list, and hopefully now that I’ve received it, I will be able to cook my own Korean food more often.  Or, at least, be able to cook something more than tteokbokki, which is about the only thing I knew how to make prior to reading this cookbook.

Final rating: ★★★★★