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Koreatown: A Cookbook Hardcover – February 16, 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard have given us a deep and important look at the people, places and cuisine that are reshaping what we want for dinner. Koreatown thrills with flavors that will change your life." -- Anthony Bourdain
"Koreatown is not a place. It’s an energy, an attitude, a painstaking stew of spice and frugality and brutally honest flavors. For the first time, here’s a book that captures all of its electricity and mystery in a voice that is both vibrant and respectful." -- Edward Lee, chef and author of Smoke and Pickles
"Eating Korean food is the best legal high in the world and Koreatown is the gateway drug you need!" -- Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Little Failure: A Memoir 
"The food of Korea is complex, and becomes fully realized in this amazing new book by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard. With a thrilling new voice and original ideas, this is not the same boring "ethnic eats explainer" that is often used as an excuse to profile a country's cuisine. I couldn’t put it down, and can't wait to start cooking from these pages. Bibimbap for the win!" -- Andrew Zimmern, author and television host
"I fell in love with Korean food over a decade ago, and enjoy learning as much as I can about this complex and flavorful cuisine. Koreatown is filled with information about ingredients, techniques, and insights into Korean American food culture. This cookbook is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to know more about where to find delicious Korean food across America and how to prepare dishes at home."  -- Eric Ripert

"Deuki Hong is making great Korean food, and not just for Koreans." - David Chang Chef/Founder of Momofuku

“Thanks to this cookbook, I can finally make all the dishes at home that I obsess over when I visit Koreatown. It’s amazing to have all these mysteriously delicious recipes in one place.” -- Sean Brock, chef and author of Heritage

Unwrap the world of Korean-American food through a guide demystifying the cuisine of fire and fermentation."  -- The New York Times

"A detailed and sharply written collection that includes nearly 100 recipes, as well as photos, short essays, and interviews that explore various K-towns across the U.S." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A book that’s true to Korean cuisine and totally accessible.” — Bookforum

"A great book whether you're new to Korean food or looking for recipes for old favorites, Koreatown will have you running to your local Asian grocery to stock up on rice cakes, gochujang, and kimchi. Or, better yet, making your own kimchi from scratch." — Epicurious

is one of the most accessible and entertaining tomes on Korean cuisine we've come across." — Cool Hunting

"The evangelists Korean food needs to become the next big cuisine." — Tasting Table

"The last Korean cookbook that you will ever need."  — Vice 

"In the burgeoning genre of cookbooks written as much to be read as to be cooked from, Koreatown paints a portrait of America's vibrant Korean-American communities and invites a broad audience to experiment with this style of cooking."  Eater

"Korean food is built on bold flavors: spicy pickled vegetables, sweet, smoky meats and pungent, salty stews. That can be a little intimidating for some American diners. But the authors of Koreatown have changed that."  NPR "Morning Edition"

About the Author

Deuki Hong is chef of the smash-hit Korean barbecue restaurant Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Manhattan’s Koreatown. He began his cooking career at 15 as a line cook under Aarón Sanchez at Centrico before heading to the Culinary Institute Of America. After graduating near the top of his class, he cooked under David Chang at Momofuku Noodle Bar before spending two years on the line at Jean-Georges. He's recently been recognized as an Eater Young Gun and named to the Zagat 30 Under 30 list.
Matt Rodbard has written about restaurants, chefs, drinks, cooking and music for the past decade. His writing has appeared in Bon Appétit, Travel & Leisure, Men's Journal, Tasting Table, SPIN, and he currently serves as Contributing Editor at Food Republic. He's the author of Korean Restaurant Guide: New York City, a comprehensive guidebook detailing the 40 best Korean restaurants in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (February 16, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804186138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804186131
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.9 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I love Korean food, and having lived in Chicago, New York and LA, I've hit up some of the best the U.S. Koreatowns have to offer. This book was exciting to receive, and the photos are beautiful, although some of the narrative writing is admittedly a bit cheesy. My girlfriend says that's not really an issue, because who buys a cookbook for the articles, but for me that's part of the whole package. At points it just feels like the authors got a bunch of their celebrity chef friends together to parade them around and win points with less-savvy readers, but I wasn't fooled. I'm in it for the spicy goat soup, yam so tang (unfortunately that recipe wasn't included.)

The recipes that were included were pretty good. There's a fairly extensive list of banchan, ranging from typical (kimchi variations, fishcake, sesame spinach) to fun (water radish kimchi, bubbling egg). And on the entree side there's all the hits - soon dobu, japchae, bulgogi, kalbi and some fun additions too, like braised hamachi, whole squid, or fire chicken feet (in the "drinking food" section).

Overall, the recipes are pretty straightforward, and there's a great section in the front for beginners who don't know what certain ingredients are, an index of sorts with ingredient explanations and places to purchase. There's a good expanse of recipes, with lots of little celeb-chef interludes that take you to various Koreatown experiences. But that feels a little unnecessary, especially if you just want to get to the food. I felt the recipes themselves were a little too pared-down and simplified, although easy to make. They lacked some of the funk and spice I love in Korean food, so I just chose to add more doenjang, gochujang, or anchovies to taste.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good book. It has some very good recipes which will be attractive to -Westerners. However, it could have used some more photos especially for recipes which are not so familiar. I'm very familiar with Korean food, but I still had to guess what the foods should look like....example the book has a fish cake recipe, but I had no clue that it should look like my attached photo. Frankly, in a recipe book I don't think I should work so hard, including doing research on the Internet to find photos of the foods. Maybe less space could have been given to photos of the operators of the restaurants.
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Format: Hardcover
My first taste of Korean food was on a trip to New York City ages ago. Mike and I found a Korean BBQ restaurant that we just had to try. At this stage, I can't remember what we ate but I do recall the experience itself: cooking food on a tiny grill set into the table, trying dishes that had familiar flavors but were completely new to us... it was novel and it was fun. And it was something we couldn't do back home.

Skip forward a few years and surprise! We have a Korean BBQ restaurant of our very own now. And it's amazing! What's more, we have two "world" markets that offer such a wide variety of foods that we can actually recreate these dishes at home.

Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard's Koreatown: A Cookbook is a little bit of a dream come true in that sense. It's a guidebook to cooking Korean food in your own home! Just about every imaginable aspect of Korean food, too.

Now if you've ever been to a Korean BBQ place yourself, then you know that one of the coolest parts of the meal is the plethora of side dishes. Everything from multiple kimchis, pancakes, and fish cakes to fermented bean sprouts and potato salad. Yes, potato salad. So it's fitting that the very first chapter of the book is focused on Kimchi and Banchan or side dishes. I hadn't realized, until cracking the book open, that kimchi is not actually the name of the fermented cabbage dish in particular. Kimchi actually just refers to the pickling method itself. With one base and cure the authors offer up five different quick kimchi recipes for the home cook - and none of them are cabbage! That's actually the next recipe in the book, "Baechu Kimchi aka Napa Cabbage Kimchi" something that still intimidates the crap out of me.
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Format: Hardcover
Okay, well to say I was excited about this book is kind of an understatement. I am half-Korean who spent one year living in Seoul in the 1990's. I love the culture, have huge gaps in my knowledge of it, have a complex relationship with this identity but, that said, I LOVE THE FOOD. This identity and experience has been hard, as I imagine most cultural identities are, to summarize and capture. I feel this book accomplishes this or at least takes the best stab at it that I personally have seen.

What I like about is I feel like it really encapsulates what, to me, is modern Korean-American culture. It's fun and relatable to see Trader Joe's mentioned in a book that also has very deep, traditional roots in old-school Korea. As I cobbled together my personal kitchen & pantry over the years, I developed some very stringent specifications for "must-have" authentic Korean essentials while at the same time, our kitchen became kind of Trader Joe's/international hodge podge so this really resonated. I love hearing some of the information and history of the foods that I wasn't aware of (the difference between Doenjang (Korean fermented bean paste) and miso (Japanese fermented bean paste), using Roy Choi's quote "You can call it miso just like you call a girl a ho; that is, you can't." (I have already quotes this multiple times to my children, call it cultural inheritance. They will thank me later.)
Most of the Korean food cookbooks that I have seen so far are missing this ingredients, the politics, the
"spice" of what I see as modern Korean culture. This book is not "white-washed", and I love it for that!

As far a cookbook, it has all the things I have wanted in Korean cookbook, but have not seen so far.
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