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Eating Korean: from Barbecue to Kimchi, Recipes from My Home Hardcover – January 21, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Her stories will inspire you to put up gallons of kimchi (try the cucumber) and flip dozens of green-onion pancakes." (New York Times, June 5, 2005)

From the Inside Flap

From aromatic hot pots to piquant kimchi (pickled cabbage) to classic bibim bap (rice bowls), Korean cuisine's exhilarating harmony of robust flavors, colors, and textures spices up any meal. And though Korean is an increasingly popular dining-out option, few people venture to explore the peninsula's rich culinary arts at home. In Eating Korean, Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee invites us into her family kitchen to reveal the secrets—and the surprising simplicity—of the "other" Asian cuisine.

This warm, evocative celebration of Korean food features more than 100 authentic recipes alongside fascinating historical morsels and personal remembrances. Lee's passion for the foods of her native land is rendered vividly in reminiscences—of early morning mountain hikes followed by soothing chicken soup with rice, or the cozy hum of activity in her mother's kitchen before a celebration—that bring Korean cuisine richly to life.

These enchanting narratives are the perfect prelude to the dishes themselves: the fragrant medley of Seafood Hot Pot, the intensely spiced Fire Meat, the scrumptious nuttiness of Sweet Spiced Rice, and a host of others. The dishes here cover all parts of the Korean menu—rice specialties; soups and hot pots; seafood, meat, and poultry dishes; desserts and snacks; side dishes; and more.

Eating Korean reveals how delightfully easy Korean dishes can be to prepare at home. Many hot pots and soups, for instance, can be on the table in less than half an hour of cooking time. Spicy, flavor-rich marinades, made with just a handful of ingredients, offer deliciously simple alternatives for barbecuing chicken, beef, and ribs. Quick, trouble-free preparations make the dishes in these pages ideal for any meal, from family dinner to holiday feast. The fact that Korean ranks among the world's healthiest cuisines makes it even more enticing—and not just for special occasions.

Lee also offers illuminating insight into Korean eating traditions—etiquette, essential foods, and key ingredients. A full chapter is devoted to the customs and foods of holidays and celebrations, including New Year, Harvest Festival, birthdays, and weddings. The book's 65 photographs and illustrations—of Korea's food markets and countryside, its bountiful tables and traditional celebrations—round out this captivating portrait.

In its beguiling presentation of a cuisine and culture that are at once wonderfully exotic and remarkably accessible, Eating Korean inspires us to explore the eye-catching, mouthwatering delights of the Korean table in our own kitchens.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (January 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764540785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764540783
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Despite growing up in a Korean American kitchen, cooking Korean food has always been this mystery to me. Like many others, I have read many Korean cookbooks trying to find a way to make the comfort food I grew up with, and I find this particular cookbook to be exactly what I've been looking for. For one, it's the only Korean cookbook to have more than 1 or 2 recipes that I was seeking. Not only does it have more than 1 or 2, it has ALL the important ones I've wanted. I think any cookbook recipes will have some flaws. You have to tweak them for sure, so I don't feel I can take off stars for this fact. I actually appreciate that the ingredient lists are simple and uncomplicated. I plan on using the recipes as a springboard - to get the gist. Then I plan on calling my sisters and mom for advice on how to improve it and what to add. I also am increasingly wary of complaints concerning superficial aspects of cookbooks: black and white pictures, lack of pictures, and - the most offensive to me - the color of the recipe titles. I used to think these things were important, but the more and more I read cookbooks the more I find the higher quality cookbooks don't have color pictures or fancy visuals. Bottom line, Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee has lifted the mystery of Korean cooking, and, yes, the stories are a great bonus.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm part of a military family currently living in South Korea. I recently bought this cookbook on base after my husband and I grew to love Korean food.

We had dinner at a local Korean restaurant and ate clams with a delicious sauce as one of the many side dishes. I asked one of my Korean friends for the recipe and she ended up making me some because she said it was hard to make. What sold me on this cookbook is that it had the recipe for that very sauce on page four, Seasoned Soy Sauce. It is very good on dumplings and steamed rice. We also love bulgogi or "fire meat" and the cookbook offered that recipe as well.

Surprisingly, Eating Korean is not only a great resouce for Korean recipes, but also and enjoyable read. The author, Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee's writing style is warm and colorful. Her personal essays paint fun and interesting glimpses of her childhood in South Korea. I highly recommend it!
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Format: Hardcover
I first heard about this book on the radio while I was driving and listening to "The Splendid Table." I love Korean food, and the author sounded interesting so I ordered it. The book is really good! I read most of the stories the first night. They're funny and charming, and really drew me in to the author's life and childhood.

I'm a decent cook, but if I wasn't, this book would get me there. The recipes are simple and Cecilia Lee spells it all out pretty clearly. I've made about 5 or six dishes so far, and they have all tasted great. I know Korean food pretty well, and these recipes are the best I've ever run across. If you're at all interested in Korean food you'll want this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like a lot of Western fans of Asian cooking, I never am quite sure if what I'm eating in a restaurant is the real, authentic cooking of a regions, or an overly Westernized version. Korean food has not been homoginized to the extent that Chinese and Thai food have in this country, but unless you're dining with a Korean-born companion you can never know for sure. The same goes for cookbooks; is this the real recipe someone would serve in their home in Korea, or something that's been homoginized to a MacDonld's-trained palatte?

I bought "Eating Korean" after reading reviews both here at Amazon and at a few on-line bulletin boards for Korean expats and Korean-Americans. The general concensus was that while the recipes were toned down a bit in seasoning, they are indeed authentic. So far, my experience has been that carefully following the recipes in Celia Hae-Jin Lee's book will deliver something very close to what I've had in various restaurants. I've made her seafood pancakes (Pa Jun), kimchee pancakes, and various namool, and all have come out very close to what I expected.

Unlike some cookbooks for non-western cuisines, no special cookware or difficult techniques are required for most of the recipes presented here. A large pot and a skillet or wok should suffice for most any recipe. Grilled meats like Bulgogi can be made on a barbecue grill. You might want to buy a traditional bowl for serving the hot BiBimBop, or some large mason jars for making Kimchee, but that's about it.

Aside from the recipes, the author's stories of growing up Korean in Korea and America are very enjoyable, and provide a context for the recipes; I was greatly reminded of another favorite cookbook, "Every Grain of Rice: A Taste of Our Chinese Childhood in America", which, although about Chinese and not Korean cooking, has a similar narrative structure.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent cookbook, albiet one written by a Korean-American. Like most younger Korean-Americans, she has toned down the fire. This is not a problem because almost all of her dishes can be heated up or energized by adding ground Korean Chilli Pepper. She gives excellent background on the dishes and this book is one of the best Korean Cookbooks I have seen in English. The only other comment I have is that she like many young people adds a bit too much sugar for my taste in her recipes.
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