Koreatown is such a fun and interesting book to read. The authors definitely captured the spirit and food of the Koreatowns that I’m familiar with. I’m huge on photography and although it lacks those beautiful pictures of dishes that make me want to lick the pages, its authenticity makes up for it. The photographs, captured through a documentary style, take the readers on a tour of people, supermarkets, bars, and restaurants across the US. The stories and interviews are interesting but I was most excited about the food. My first introduction to Korean food happened in high school and I find myself eating Korean food pretty often--whether it’s going to eat Korean bbq with friends or having a jar of homemade kimchi in my fridge.
Let’s dive into the food! The list of banchan (small dishes of food served along with rice) is extensive, ranging from fish cake, different kimchi, bean sprouts, to spinach, etc. The recipes seem very simple and easy to follow but I can easily find them at my neighborhood Korean supermarkets so I won’t spend time making them. I made the kimchi pancake first and it turned out delicious and didn't have a hard time finding the Korean pancake mix at the supermarket. The kimchi fried rice was next on the list. I don’t think adding bacon to it added extra flavor to the recipe and it definitely asked for way too much kimchi. I couldn’t taste anything for a couple hours and will definitely cut the amount of kimchi in half next time. The japchae (wok-fried glass noodles with crispy shiitakes) was on par with the ones I usually order from our favorite Korean restaurants even though I only used two of the four types of mushroom that the recipe asked for. The last and definitely my favorite recipe would be the toasted rice ice cream! The ice cream was gone in a couple days so I’ll need make another batch to soon.
Overall, Koreatown is a great introduction to Korean food culture. The recipes are authentic and have different levels of difficulty that can be accomplished in the comfort of your own kitchen. Shopping for the ingredients might pose a challenge if you don’t live near a Korean supermarket but can definitely source them on Amazon. If you’re interested in making Korean food at home, Koreatown is a great starting place.
*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher