Kimchimari author - JinJoo
Kimchimari author – JinJoo

It’s hard to believe that it has already been 20+ years since I left Korea to make a home in the US. In those twenty some years, I have gone from a Computer Science grad student and a new mom (got married, had a baby and got my PhD degree all in the span of a few years – with a lot of help from my husband, of course), to a full-time software engineer and a part-time mom (this was a very trying time which ended with me getting very sick ) and then to a part-time tele-commuting project manager and an almost full-time mom (enjoyed this period a lot with lots of freedom since I worked at home). Now with my only daughter off to college and my health in a better state, I now again have the luxury of being able to pursue whatever I want- full-time, of course with my husband’s support (need to make sure he gets proper acknowledgement here ;) ). And so I am once again faced with the question of “What do I want to do with my life?” or at my age, it’s probably more a question of “What do I want to do with all this time I have?”

Of course, there are professional interests and goals that I have but I won’t bore you with those. And then there are many other things that I should do – clean out the garage, get new window treatments for our bedroom (the temporary paper blinds are still hanging strong after 3 years! It’s not going to be pretty when we take it off!!), sort out the closet, the list goes on and on.. But as a mom, I realized that my job is not done yet. There are still so many things that I didn’t get to teach my daughter before she left home-especially about Korean food- not just about cooking, but about the ingredients, about how different foods affect your health and about everything else that you just cannot learn from a book. And with the recent discovery that both my daughter and I are very sensitive to gluten, cooking at home has become even more important. We both tested negative for Celiac disease but we just know that if we keep eating gluten, it eventually starts to upset our bodies in many ways. We kind of lucked out in that sense because many Korean foods are actually gluten free- another reason why I need to teach her about cooking Korean!

But this Korean Food at Home blog is not just for her. It’s also for me- because it’s about what I always loved doing. I always had a passion for good food and I find great joy in cooking, eating and sharing them.  Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen –not because I had to help out but because I just loved eating (yes, I was a bit overweight growing up). Actually,  my whole family loved to eat and even though we had maids (labor was really cheap in Korea many years ago), when our family wanted to celebrate or enjoy a fun time together, we all gathered in the kitchen and cooked our special recipes. Being the youngest of five children, I spent a lot of time watching and learning how the wonderful dishes were made by my dad and my sisters (sometimes also my mom and brother :) ). I loved watching them cook because I knew if I learned it well enough, I could make it for myself anytime-just the way I wanted.

I also loved to experiment with different food pairings even as a kid. I am a firm believer that pairing foods is just as important as cooking. One of my favorite pairings (my sisters and brother always called me crazy and strange when I ate these together!) was to eat apple pie and salami together. Another great pairing is the Korean yakwa and salami. You see the trend.. Yes, salami was and still is my ultimate favorite! And I’m sure you have tasted the savory and sweet pairing that has become more popular these days. Pairing brie cheese with fig preserves or prosciutto with honey dew melon are all based on similar concepts. I think I was just ahead of my time..

Besides my family, I have also been deeply influenced by many great ahjooma (Korean word for older married women) cooks I’ve met here in the states. I hope to post their recipes somehow. I know so many wonderful cooks and mothers around me who may not get to share their tidbits with their children due to language barriers or other issues. So, I guess, in a broader sense, I hope to make this blog a place for our children who want to cook and eat Korean food at home as well as for anyone else who might be interested in learning and sharing about real Korean food-sometimes in a simplified way compared to the ways of our mothers, but still very traditional and totally Korean.

Happy cooking and eating everyone!

Update –

You may have already read my posts on moving to Korea but just in case.. In early June 2012, my husband and I moved to Seoul. I am still blogging about Korean food and also plan to learn more and experience as much as I can about Korean food while I am here. It’s been about 5 months already and I am finding that Korean food has changed so much (almost too much in my opinion) in the last 20 years. Perhaps it’s a global trend…I feel I must taste and learn all that I can before the traditional ways are totally lost.

Is it just me? But I feel with the exposure of foreign ingredients and tastes, the tastes are becoming all muted..I have visited very few restaurants (other than the ones that have been famous for 20+ years) that was so good I had to return.

57 thoughts on “About

  1. just wanted to stop by and say that I love the blog! I am half Korean (my mom is from Korea), but she never really cooked–my memories of growing up with great Korean food come from my grandmother and aunt. now that I know how to cook, I want to learn more about Korean cooking so that I can pass on the foods I grew up with to my future (non-existent…so far!) children. so thanks for having a great blog dedicated to some great food! :)
    <3 Katie

    1. Hi Katie! Thanks so much! So glad to hear that you enjoy my blog. Yes, it’s all about cooking and family so hope it helps. If you have any questions or any recipes you want to know, just drop a note and I would be happy to respond. take care, JinJoo

  2. 안녕하세요!
    Shannon이가 어제 말해주어서 이렇게 놀러왔어요.
    food blog을 운영할려면 상당한 시간이 많이 드는데…
    Wow! 사진들, recipes, writing 등등..넘 휼륭해요!
    I love your pictures. They are just beautiful!
    자주 놀러 올께요!

    1. 안녕하세요! 먼저 Shannon 졸업 축하드려요. 그러게요.. 생각보다 시간과 노력이 꽤 드네요…christy도 food blog하지 않았나요? 아직도 하세요? 하시면 링크좀 주세요..thank you for your encouraging comments!

  3. Hi Mrs. Suh! I haven’t had much time to cook, nor am I good at it, so I love your simple recipes all the more. The first recipe I’m trying is your miyuk-gook. :-) Thanks for documenting and sharing such great recipes. Your photos look awesome too (what can I say? I’m a wife of a photographer :-)). Take care! -Jin

    1. HI Jin! So good to hear from you!! Yes, I’m sure you are very busy…I actually have anther blog – pantree.wordpress.com where I plan to post more quick recipes for people who don’t have time. Hopefully that will be helpful to you. Great thing about miyuk gook is that you can make a big batch and eat it for days as long as you reheat it once a day or keep in the fridge. I am finding that I really enjoy taking pictures.. I actually thought about your husband – how it was for him to become a photographer..

  4. Hi there! I’m a Korean-American medical student studying abroad, and I just wanted to say I love your blog. Thank you so much for your recipes (my Mom helps me learn things when I go home, but I can’t exactly call her and bother her each time I forgot something…which is a lot :-)! They’re a huge source of inspiration.

    1. Hi! I am so glad that you are getting help from my blog. So good to hear that you are cooking for yourself when you must be so busy – good for you!! Don’t hesitate to ask questions or ask for recipes. Or any suggestions that your mom may have!! Keep up the good work!

  5. I’m SO happy I found your blog!!! My children were born in Korea and I love learning more recipes for teaching them about their heritage. (And I LOVE Korean food too!!!)

  6. This is truly a wonderful blog!!! I’ve learn so much new things regarding to Korean cooking. Most of your recipes are easy to follow and instructions are clear. This blog has become my “go to” resource when I needed help! Thank you.

  7. Hi, I’ from Hungary. It is my first visit and enjoy Your blog. I think I will be your fan! I’m a beginner in korean (and asian) cooking, I must much learning. The main problem is, that the ingredients to get. First I must to learn the name of basical things. Why do I like this ? because kdrama !
    I wish You and your Family happy New Year! (Sorry my poor english)

    1. Hi! So happy to read your comments all the way from Hungary! Yes, I’m sure many ingredients are unfamiliar to you. Let me know if you have any questions. Wishing you all the best in the New Year too. (and no prob. about your English :) ).

  8. 안녕하세요~
    엄마가 알려주셔서 찾게됬어요. 제 Facebook 에 올려도 되겠죠? :] 친구들이
    한국음식 진짜 좋아하거든요 ^^
    그럼 새해 복 많이 받으시고 건강히 지네세요~

    1. 어머 영인아… 너무 반갑구나. 물론 facebook에 올려도 되지. 해 주면 사실 고맙지. :) 영인이도 새해 복 많이 받고, 좋은 일들이 많이 있는 한 해가 되기를 바란다.

  9. Thank you for this blog! I accidentally found this blog and red Chapsal bulgogi recipe. I love it!! Thank you for this good tip! I am going to come to see sometime! Please keep update the site! Thank you so much!

    1. You are very welcome! I’m so happy that you enjoyed my post on Chapsal bulgogi – it really is one of my favorites and it’s not something everybody knows about. Thank you for stopping by.

  10. Anyong JinJoo!

    I’m glad I found your blog. Although I’m closer to Korea than you are I still love finding blogs with Korean foods/recipes made outside Korea. It makes me feel better if I make little substitutions and such when I make Hansik.

    See you here again.

    1. Hi! So glad that you found my blog too! I will try to remember to add substitution notes when I post for people like yourself. Thanks for the comment! Have a good one~

  11. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for blogs relating to Korea. I’m a Korean adoptee (now married with three children) who has had very little experience with anything Korean, until recently. My husband and I had the incredible opportunity to go to Korea this past fall (my first time since I left at 7 mos. old) and it was life-altering. We are now taking classes to learn the language and our plan is to move our family there (if nothing else, for the experience) in a couple of years. We also have fallen in love and have been attempting (here and there) Korean cooking at home. I’m looking forward to following you on your journey there (although you know the language and you’ve lived there before) so I hope you post again soon! Great luck with the move!

    1. So glad that you found my blog and I applaud you for making the effort to learn the culture. I think your children will be much richer for it. My daughter will also be learning more about Korean culture now that we will be here.
      But yes, my move will certainly be an adventure. Even though I know the language and have lived here until I graduated from college, it has been over 20 years since I left and I have really changed alot so everything will be very new for me too. Thanks so much for posting! I hope to post very soon!

      1. The idea is so exciting, yet frightening at the same time. My husband and I were just talking about it again last night as I was organizing my Korean language binder… All the “what-if’s” always come up when we’re alone in our thoughts, after the kids have gone to bed, and we whip out our Korean language papers/books… :-) Looking forward to your next post!

  12. HI, Jin Joo –
    This is my busy season and I haven’t been following blogs, so I’m late in realizing that you are moving. Wow! I’m happy for you and sad that you will not be so close. But I’m looking forward to some new and wonderful recipes. Maybe you’ll even start making kimchi! Speaking of which –
    I got a kimchi refrigerator!!! By a miracle, I got it used but it’s brand new – bought by a rich man who used it twice; then his wife made him get rid of it. :) It’s an older LG, all stainless, with two pullout drawers – and only $400. Now I just have to rearrange every piece of furniture in my apartment. Happy me!!! Now, I’m doing well with learning the alphabet and words for food, but interpreting the directions on this fridge will be a real challenge.
    And when you get around to it, I’d sure like some recipes that include soondae – steaming is getting boring.
    Have a great and safe trip. I’m really looking forward to your first post from Korea.

    1. Hi Judy,

      So good to hear from you! Yes, sad to leave but also kind of excited about opportunities I will have in Korea to learn from the masters. I will certainly be making kimchi with my mother-in-law and taking notes to share on my post. She makes some of the best kimchi I ever tasted.

      Congratulations on getting a kimchi fridge!! How exciting!
      But yes, learning to use it will be a challenge – if I can make some wild guesses…숙성 or 익힘: ripen, 보관 or 저장: store, and then they will prob. let you choose the degree of ripeness. It may also ask about the kind of kimchi you are making.

      You eat soondae?!! Amazing…sure, I will look into that. Making soup with it is prob. the most popular way to eat it.

      take care

  13. JinJoo
    Thank you thank you thank you. My mom recently passed away unexpectedly and like most Korean moms she was a master in the kitchen. I miss her cooking so much! Your beautiful pictures and sentiments remind me of her and her food. An old friend requested that I send some Korean recipes to them and I didn’t really know how to put into useful terms “a handful of this” “a splash of that”. I look forward to trying your recipes. Your daughter is so lucky to have this from you. It’s a gift.

    1. Hi! You are very welcome!! I’m so glad that you found my blog and that it helps a little bit..So sorry to hear about your mom. Hopefully eating some good Korean food will bring you some good memories..And thank you again for your kind words.

  14. I can’t tell you enough how blessed I feel to have stumbled upon your blog. You were able to put everything I felt into words; meals used to bring family together but with all that’s going on, instant meals have been much more common. Not enough time and preparation goes into homemade, gluten-free, MSG free food anymore. I love that your recipes are hearty and healthy! If you ever do get a chance to publish that book, I look forward to buying it. I hope that your daughter appreciates your efforts and passes on these traditions.

    1. I am so glad that you found my blog! And so very happy to hear that you feel the same…Yes, thankfully my daughter has started to enjoy cooking with my recipes so I think it’s definitely a great start. Thank you for your wonderful and encouraging comments. Hopefully I’ll write that book soon! :)

  15. 안녕하세요
    저는 노스캐롤라이나,그린스보로에서 살고 있는 임진섭이라는 사람입니다.
    저번주에 제가 다운타운에 점심에만 문을 여는 조그만 멕시칸 그릴을 오픈했는데 불고기 부리또를 주로 하고있는데 불고기 사진이 너무 먹음직스럽게 잘나온것 같아서 불고기 사진을 제가 식당에다가 사용하고 싶은데 허락을 구하고자 글을 남깁니다.

    1. 안녕하세요! 먼저 식당오프닝을 정말 축하드립니다! 저도 늘 막연한 꿈이 작은 식당 운영인데요..그리고 이렇게 직접 사진관계로 연락주셔서 너무 감사합니다. 그냥 적당히 사용하셨을 수도 있는데 다시 한번 감사드립니다. 이 곳에서 계속 연락을 취하는 것 보다는 따로 메일로 연락하는 것이 좋을 둣 합니다. 사진을 보내드려야 할때도 그렇고요..제가 메일 드리겠습니다.

  16. Hello JinJoo,

    I am just so glad to have found your blog….

    Your blog on Korean dishes are very detailed and as a non korean myself is indeed very helpful for me. Just love your blog very much.

    I have yet find time to cover all what you have written yet…i will surely come back to finish where I have stop.

    Good job JinJoo . And I am thankful to have found your blog.

    Ive tried some Korean dishes from other websites and hve successfully done a few batches Kimchi for the last 5 years from Korean ingredients like brown pears and dried korean pepers. But unable to add in the only one ingredient… sweet rice flour.


    1. I’m so happy to hear that! I sometimes wonder if I’m too wordy…but I have so much to talk about – details that are never in regular cookbooks..you can also just make rice congee and use that instead. And as I said, it’s not always necessary. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such encouraging comments. Take care! JJ

  17. Hello Jinjoo. I love your blog so much and totally agree on how Korean food in Korea is changing these days. I even heard from a gentlemen in his 60’s saying that Korean restaurants in the states serve more authentic Korean food nowadays.
    I wanted to email you to see if it’s possible to link some of your postings to my website.
    Please email me or leave me your email address so I can write to you on more details.
    Thank you!

  18. Hi there! I just recently found your blog and as a non-korean who loves Korean food and culture it is so great to find a blog that sets out so many korean favourites in such a simple and straightforward manner. So happy that I found such a nice blog! Will definitely be trying out some of your recipes very soon!

  19. Hi! i just found out your blog & love reading them(though managed to read just a few). Interesting, esp about your late father’s farm. Keep up the good work, I’ll enjoy reading them!
    Greetings from Malaysia

    1. Hello! I am so happy to hear that you found my blog interesting. Hopefully it will be helpful as well. Thank you so much and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. Take care~

  20. Hi JinJoo,

    My name is Lydia and I work with DramaFever.com, the premiere video on demand website for Korean entertainment and many other international television shows and movies. Many of our followers are extremely interested in Korean cuisine and given our overlapping audiences, I wanted to see if you might be interested in working with DramaFever.

    We have many different opportunities in which we can work together, but I would love to hear your ideas on how we can collaborate.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon!


  21. JinJoo, a coworker of mine recently made some kimchi and shared your excellent “no crazy kimchi” flowchart with us. Would you please contact me about the possibility of using the flowchart on our blog (we would credit you and provide a link back to your site, of course). Thank you…Elly Leitz.

    1. Hello Elly! Thank you so much for contacting me. I will be happy to give you permission and I will contact you directly
      via email to see how I can help you. Talk to you soon – JinJoo

  22. Hello~ I just wanted to say thank you. Your blog has really saved me. I am American with a Korean husband in Florida. I have a stressful job and going through your blog cooking the korean food my husband loves has been the highlight of my weeks and pulled me through. Also, it has helped my mother-in-law accept me ^.^~ It also has inspired me to create my own blog pulling some of your recipes, I hope you don’t mind. I just want one place I can put them all together so my family can see what I am up to. Anyway, thank you so much again.

    ~ Lauren

    1. Hello Lauren! Yay!! I’m so glad to hear that my blog was helpful for you. Hearing comments like yours definitely make it all worthwhile. :) And FLORIDA!! I went to UF and lived in Gainesville for over 4 years. I miss it.. :) Oh and sure, your own blog sounds great. I would actually love to visit your blog – let me know how I can find you. Happy cooking and thank you!

  23. I lived in Korea for just under 6 years (just moved back to the US last year). I tried to learn to cook Korean food while I was there but none of my Korean friends knew how to cook. :( I figured a few simple dishes on my own but since moving back to the US I’ve found the need to learn to cook the dishes I loved in Korea so much to be much stronger. I’m so happy I found your site while searching about the cuts of meat for bbq. :)

  24. My husband just ate the Korean Young Chicken Soup. He said he hadn’t eaten it in 20 years. He had told me recently that he was craving it. I wanted to surprise him and searched for the recipe. First, I couldn’t find it because I thought it was called “백수” instead of “백숙.” Hahaha!

    Well, I wanted to thank you for the recipe. My husband thanked me so many times for making it; It was strange to work with Cornish hen. And it was tempting to season the broth before serving it. But I followed your recipe. I’ll try more of your recipes. Ciao~

    1. Haha.. you know what “백수” means.. a bum..
      Anyway, you are very welcome. Thank you so much for your comment. And I apologize for the late response. I thought I replied already.. old age.. sigh.. Good luck and all the best to you! Enjoy~


    1. Hello Ana shi! :) Haha.. funny hearing how your LOVE for Korea is out of control..It’s a good thing!
      Thank you SO much for your wonderful comments about my blog. I am so touched and honored to hear that my recipes represent the age old spirit of Koreans. I totally agree that Korean food is the product of love and wisdom – I think you put it in perfect words. I would love it if you can come and visit my studio someday. Till then, all the best wishes.

  26. Hello.

    I work with the Tokyo Journal, Japan’s oldest and most prestigious English magazine and we are preparing to roll out a number of journals in S. Korea, China, and Taiwan. We like your work and we’d like to include some of your articles and photos in our journals. I have included access to the most issue of the Tokyo Journal which will give you an idea of what we are planning on doing as we expand our network to Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and other cities with new city magazines.

    Link to Tokyo Journal Issue #276
    Enter the case-sensitive password “TJGuest276″ and click “Submit Password”
    The PDF file will then download to your computer
    Given that we are starting several magazines at once we do not have a large budget and cannot afford to pay the contributors at least in the beginning but it will provide considerable coverage as our publications tend to get included on airlines, etc. Would you be interested in sending us one article per month for inclusion in our journals?

    We are also interested in having you perhaps do some reporting in and around town in Seoul. If you are interested please contact us by Skype or e-mail. Skype is preferred if possible. Our Skype ID is tokyojournal.

    With kindest regards,

    Shreya Bose


    Tokyo Journal International


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