Review: Kyunga’s Seoul Meal from Korea by Culture.licious

The table laden with with information and goodies

Food and culture are blended together in many countries and that’s definitely true about Korea. One cannot fully appreciate the one without the other. Lucky for me, I love both food and culture!

Just look at the place settings… so pretty

Last Saturday I was treated to a feast of both Korean food and Korean culture and I walked away a very happy Cindy! Seriously, even though I’d been looking forward to the event for weeks – almost months – it didn’t disappoint. It was amazing! And by now you are probably wondering what I’m talking about… well, unless you’ve read the title. ^^

Culture.licious Korean cook, Kyunga

I was lucky enough to attend Culture.licious’ first Korean cooking class with their Korean home cook, Kyunga. Since you all know I love eating and cooking Korean food, this class was a match made in heaven. And it really was as Kyunga was fabulous. She was knowledgeable, friendly, and comfortable teaching the group of us – I believe there were eleven students in all – the dishes of the day. Kyunga patiently answered all our questions along with Wendy Chung, Culture.licious’ lovely founder – with help from James, Kyunga’s husband and another Culture.licious helper (I’m sorry, I didn’t get her name but she knew a lot about hamburgers in New York – food facts always stick in my mind).

We learned four dishes – two mains and two banchan (반찬), Korean side dishes (although, in keeping with the standard North American preference for three-course meals, one of the mains was presented as an appetizer and one of the banchan was presented as dessert). I was super excited about the two banchan as I’d never made either and quite enjoy them both.

What did we make?

So delicious!

First up was haemulpajeon (해물파전), or Korean seafood pancake which I love to order when out with friends. I loved how, along with explaining and showing us how to make it – and allowing some student volunteers to make their own – Kyunga explained some of the culture around the dish. The Korean penchant for sharing food often surprises Westerners when they arrive in Korea and haemulpajeon is always shared.

Our yummy banchan, oi muchim

I was so excited to learn how to make oi muchim (오이무침), a common banchan of spicy cucumber which is so quick and easy to make. I’m definitely making this one again.

This was the highlight of the class for me ^^

But the highlight for me was when Kyunga taught us about mat tang (맛탕), which are candied yams. I love mat tang so I was ecstatic to learn how to make it. This was our dessert – along with some Korean pears – but I’ve had it more often as a banchan.

Yay, the bulgogi is cooking

Our final dish of the afternoon was the main course – and an all-time favourite of many people – bulgogi (불고기), Korean-style marinated beef or more literally “fire meat”. The secret… marinate your meat overnight!

What did I like about the event?

Our finished product 🙂 delicious!

Everything!

Wendy & Kyunga were so friendly!

Seriously, everyone involved from Wendy to Kyunga to the other “students” were so nice that it was just a lovely afternoon. It was wonderful meeting new people who had an interest in Korean food and I absolutely loved chatting with Kyunga beforehand. Friendly people make all the difference.

Our lovely recipe booklet

The dishes we learned were authentic and easy to replicate at home – perfect for either a novice or experienced cook. We were each given a recipe booklet so we could make all the dishes at home.

Tea!! I love tea ^^

Our gift of Korean barley tea, bori cha (보리차), was lovely and much appreciated. I used to drink this often in Korea – especially cold.

Student volunteers making maemulpajeon

The balance of instruction and participation was perfect. Every dish was explained while Kyunga prepared it and afterwards, volunteers were able to help or make their own version. Plus it was fun to see how others’ haemulpajeon turned out. Note to self: don’t make it too thick!

What didn’t I like?

Other than having to go all the way to Mississauga (and that was my choice), nothing! I truly wouldn’t hesitate recommending Culture.licious or Kyunga’s Seoul Food from Korea class to anyone.

Want more details?

Interested in learning more about Culture.licious (I totally recommend it)? Then check out their website and Facebook page. And it’s not just Korean cooking classes; they also offer other cultural cooks as well. I’ve only attended Kyunga’s Seoul Food from Korea class but the pictures on the Facebook page make them all look great! Here’s the full list:

  • Kyunga – Korean Cook
  • Aleks – Former Yugoslavian/Bosnian Cook
  • Jay – South Indian Vegetarian Cook
  • Minh – Vietnamese Cook
  • Lizka – South American/Panamanian Cook
  • Raymond – Goan/Kenyan Cook

Seriously, I loved the afternoon! If you get the chance, take one of Kyunga’s classes. You won’t be disappointed. And I’m not the only one who loved Kyunga’s Seoul Food from Korea class, check out the review on Food Junkie Chronicles

Oh… and I have more pictures for you! Click an image for a bigger version, if you like. ^^ This is a new format for pictures on Life’s an Adventure 2, please let me know what you think!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

3 thoughts on “Review: Kyunga’s Seoul Meal from Korea by Culture.licious

  • October 9, 2012 at 9:34 am
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    I love Korean food and I love making it. I wish there were classes like this in Europe. It’s also difficult to get proper ingredients. I guess I have to wait until I go to Korea.

    Reply
    • October 9, 2012 at 9:37 am
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      Luckily we have a large Korean community in Toronto so there are several Korean grocery stores. Outside of Toronto, it’s much harder though.

      Reply
      • October 9, 2012 at 9:49 am
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        That’s really nice. I hope I can visit Toronto some day. I have some family there.

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