It’s summer, which means it’s time to hit the beach and eat cool summer treats. Of course, in South Korea, nothing says summer treats more than patbingsu, or shaved ice.
This incredibly popular dessert can be found almost everywhere–in bakeries, hotels, specialty shops and street vendors. Traditionally, patbingsu consists of shaved ice and three other ingredients: red bean paste, rice cakes and ground nut powder. Fruits and ice cream are occasionally added for presentation and taste.
But according to Kotaku and Korean forumInstiz, several students at all-girls high schools have been adding a few more ingredients of their own.
Here’s what a traditional patbingsu looks like before it’s mixed:
Simple, cute, classic. Now, this is what these schoolgirls made:
I’m not sure whether I should be more impressed by the number of ingredients or the sheer massive size of the bowl. In the past few months, images of these female students’ hodgepodge of sweets have popped up on various Korean foodie sites like GreedEat and several Internet forums.
The ingredients seem to include tubs of ice cream, Peperos, cookies, chocolate bars and pretty much anything sugary enough to give you a heart attack.
This looks like an explosion of colors and future regrets.
Death by chocolate, anyone?
They really should have added more popsicles.
If you’re looking to create your own gigantic patbingsu, you’ll need a lot of ingredients and some hungry friends to help you finish the meal. Seriously, do not attempt to eat this junk food beast by yourself.
I counted, and there are 20 cups of nutella on that bench. No one needs that much nutella.
You pour everything into bowl like this…
Attack the bowl with your spoons!
Make sure to eat everything.
Lick the bowl clean if you have to. You don’t want to waste precious ingredients.
And you’re done! Good job, you’re a champion.
Many of these female students seemed to have participated in the giant patbingsu challenge to create memories and bond with their fellow classmates. You have to admit, the dessert is a pretty good dish for group study sessions.
When I started posting recipes on YouTube, one of the most requested recipes was for KFC, otherwise known as Korean Fried Chicken. Coated with a sweet, sour, spicy sauce, yangnyeomtongdak is a relatively modern dish in Korea: It’s take-out food, rarely made at home, so my readers had to wait while I perfected my recipe, which is based on what I saw being made in local fried chicken joints in Gwangju.
When refining the recipe, at first I tried not to use corn syrup or ketchup, replacing them with more wholesome, less sugary ingredients, but I was never satisfied with the result. To get the authentic taste, corn or rice syrup and ketchup are essential. Something else is also necessary: frying the chicken twice. Double-frying makes the batter-coated chicken stay crunchy for hours after cooking, while leaving the inside moist. You can use a whole chicken; use a cleaver to cut the breast, thighs, and legs into smaller pieces.
Serves 10 to 12 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course
For the chicken:
2 pounds chicken wings or chunks of chicken, rinsed in cold water and patted dry, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
1/2 cup potato starch or cornstarch
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten Corn oil for deep-frying
For the sauce:
2 teaspoons corn oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown rice syrup (ssal-yeot), corn syrup, or sugar
1/4 cup Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)
2 teaspoons distilled white or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1. Make the wings: Combine the chicken, potato starch, flour, salt, pepper, baking soda, and egg in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or your hand until the chicken is well coated.
2. Heat about 4 inches of corn oil in a deep pot over high heat until it reaches 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, test it by dipping one piece of chicken in the oil. If it bubbles, it is ready. One by one, carefully add the chicken to the pot, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, and fry, turning a few times, until crunchy, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a strainer and shake to drain, then transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Return the oil to 350°F . As it sits, the chicken will become less crunchy.
3. Meanwhile, make the sauce: While the chicken is frying, heat a large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn oil and garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, brown rice syrup, hot pepper paste, and vinegar. Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sauce bubbles and becomes shiny, about 7 minutes.
4. Fry the wings again: Fry in batches, turning a few times, until the wings are golden brown and very crunchy on the outside, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the wings to a strainer and shake to drain, then add them to the pan with the sauce and stir until the chicken is coated.
5. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and serve.
Reputations have a habit of preceding, and it was no different when it came to two of the most established chefs on the West Coast.
“You’re not as intense as I imagined,” Roy Choi quipped to Corey Lee in front of an enthusiastic group of foodies and fans in Santa Monica in late April. “You’re a very calm and nice guy, actually. I was scared, I was ready to say, ‘Oui, Chef.’”
“That’s what I heard about you,” Lee retorted. “‘He’s a gangster.’”
On April 22, the two Korean American chefs met face-to-face for the first time for a chat in Santa Monica, Calif. as Lee kicked off his tour to promote his new cookbook, Benu (published by Phaidon), which is named after his three-Michelin-star restaurant in San Francisco. The recipes are presented as a 33-course tasting menu, and Lee includes several personal anecdotes that reveal the influences behind Benu’s signature dishes.
At first glance, the chefs come across as two distinct players in the business: Choi, a visionary chef who reps L.A. hard and is responsible for single-handedly changing how the world looks at food trucks; Lee, who is renowned worldwide for his culinary skills and knowledge of French, Chinese and Korean cuisines that play out into the unique offering at Benu.
But while their products may seem like they belong to different spheres in the culinary world, Lee and Choi explained there are more similarities to their food—especially when it comes down to how their respective upbringings and backgrounds play out in the dishes.
Corey Lee. Photo by Eric Wolfinger
“I’m not sure if Roy’s food is worlds apart from ours [at Benu],” Lee said in response to a question from an audience member. “I think from a consumer’s perspective, it might be. But from a chef’s perspective, from an entrepreneur’s perspective, I think there are a lot of parallels, and the more I talk to Roy, I realize that.”
“I had an upbringing that doesn’t seem like it would foster a chef’s career,” Lee added. “But I think that for those of us who were born in another country and came over to the U.S., this process of trying to recreate the food culture of our native country here in the U.S. is a very big part of our lives.”
Food writers haven’t found a specific brand to describe Lee’s food at Benu. Some have summarized it as Asian and French fusion or having Asian “influences.” Lee doesn’t subscribe to a certain brand—though he did write a book trying to explain it. At the same time, Lee admits he didn’t intend the cookbook to be as personal as it eventually became.
“When you go to explain your motivations for a dish, or the reasons why you think it’s worth documenting, that’s the kind of journey I thought was really educational for me in writing the book,” Lee explained. “Getting a better understanding of why these dishes were important to me, or where they came from, how they were conceived, and how that relates to my upbringing—a lot of it is tied to Korean food, Korean culture and Korean traditions.”
Be sure to check out our video of the highlights from Lee and Choi’s conversation as the chefs discuss their respective backgrounds, philosophies and influences in their careers—as well as their favorite Korean dishes.
Lee will be in Asia during the month of May, stopping by Hong Kong and Seoul before hitting the final leg of his tour in Toronto. On May 27, Lee will close his tour in Toronto with a conversation featuring Momofuku’s chef and founder, David Chang, who also wrote a foreword in the Benu cookbook.
Below are a few images and excerpts from Lee’s Benu cookbook, which is available on Amazon through publisher Phaidon.
The thousand-year-old quail egg, the first course on the menu. Pidan, as it is known, is usually made with duck eggs, but Lee went with quail eggs for the smaller size and a “whimsical variation” from tradition.
“How pidan was conceived and developed is one of the great mysteries and triumphs so often found in Chinese cuisine,” Lee writes. “And its enjoyment can be a great reward for the adventurous and open-minded eater.”
The beggar’s purse of treasures from the oak is composed of acorn, Iberico ham and black truffle. These are innately connected, Lee says: “It’s such an obvious and natural combination of flavors, but one that’s a product of being Korean, living in northern California, and working in European kitchens.”
Lee didn’t have the fondest memories of growing up with kimchi, and it took him years to reconnect with it. But things have come “full circle” for him, as Benu now makes and serves their own kimchi.
“The most well-known variety, baechukimchi … is what we make at Benu. The flavor profile is based on my mother’s–refreshing, loaded with daikon and green onion, firm in texture, not too sweet or spicy, and just a hint of seafood.”
A view of San Francisco from the Marin headlands. “Benu is very much a restaurant that’s influenced by different cultures,” Lee writes. “The cooking at Benu often explores how Asian flavors, ideas and aesthetics can harmonize with Western ones.”
Lee at a specialty barbecue restaurant in South Korea.
The haenyeo, or “sea women,” of Jeju Island in South Korea. During his visit, Lee and his team had the chance to meet them and photograph the haenyeo as they went about their daily free-dives.
“They are the living emblems of Korean cultural heritage and embody the resilience of its people, and, in particular, the strength and self-sacrifice of its women,” Lee writes. “And for me, their unwavering spirit is much more beautiful and palpable that can be imagined through any folklore.”
Looking for one place to taste over 100 national cuisines? Try Milan.
Expo Milano 2015, which began last Friday and will run until Oct. 31, is showcasing the agricultural and gastronomic contributions of 145 countries from across the globe under this year’s theme, “Feeding the planet, energy for life.”
South Korea is one of many pavilions promoting healthy, accessible and sustainable food in the designated space of 1.1 million square meters in Milan this year. Built in the design of a “moon jar,” a traditional Korean work of pottery shaped like a full moon, the Korea Pavilion is the ninth largest pavilion in the expo. It recently announced that it plans to introduce Korean food, or hansik, to the world as “Food for the Future: You are What You Eat.”
According to Korea’s Expo page, the Korean Pavilion “explores the possibilities of taking its precious heritage of culinary tradition into the future, and demonstrates how to apply these traditions to resolve challenges for the whole of humanity.”
“Our goal is to let the world know Hansik could be a good alternative foods for the future,” said Park Min-gwon, first vice minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “We hope to discuss issues regarding sustainable foods during the expo.”
The Korea Pavilion features five exhibitions that guide visitors through today’s food crisis and how Korean food can be a possible solution. Starting with the theme “What Our Bodies Tell Us,” the first exhibit increases awareness of contemporary problems caused by overeating, over-production of processed foods and depletion of food resources.
The following exhibits, grouped under the theme “Hansik: Ask and Korean Wisdom Shall Answer,” illustrate the healthy harmony that comprises Korean food, benefits of fermentation in Korean cuisine and the environmentally preservative practice of underground storage in the fermentation process. The final exhibit, under the theme “Hansik: Food for the Future,” presents Korean food as a reliable and sustainable resource for humanity.
Guests can then taste Korean dishes in the Hansik restaurant, which offers dishes based on the three themes of harmony, health and healing, with an emphasis on natural foods and traditional seasonings. Bibimbap, a mixed rice dish, represents the harmonious aspect of Korean cuisine with its “combination of colors, flavors, and nutrients” in one bowl. The healthy menu includes fermented foods such as kimchi that are rich in probiotics, while healing foods are exemplified by Korean sauces and pastes, or jang, that help boost the immune system.
The expo is “considered one of the three biggest global events alongside the Olympics and the World Cup,” according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It will be a huge opportunity for Korea to showcase itself, and, of course, K-pop as well as several other events to spread Korean culture will be held throughout the months of the expo.
The fifth season of CNN’s travel show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknownpremiered Sunday night, opening the episode with a scene of Bourdain nursing a bottle of soju alone at a pochangmacha, or a street food vendor.
“So, we begin at the end. After a wild week in Seoul, there was, I believe, something called ‘soju’ involved,” Bourdain says, retracing the previous evening’s activities as the entire episode plays in reverse, Memento-style. “Like returning a dog returning to its own vomit, I keep flashing back to—what was it, last night? The night before?”
During his epic weeklong trip to South Korea, Bourdain eats a couple of adventurous dishes, including beondegi (silkworm larva) and sannakji (live octopus), as well as some all-time favorites like Korean-style fried chicken, barbecue and budaejjigae (army base stew). Needless to say, endless glasses of soju and beer were consumed.
In the episode, the host also partakes in mukbang (eating live-streams), sings karaoke with a group of salarymen and plays an online game in a PC bang.
“PC bang sounds like a male porn star, I know,” Bourdain says, as his Red Riding Hood avatar gets slaughtered during an online gameplay. “But this one has a smoking lounge and a well-stocked snack bar.”
As for what he believes defines Korean culture, the host tells the viewers that it is “the drive to succeed–a churning engine fueled by decades of han, a remarkable ability and a remarkable willingness to anticipate the future.”
You can watch the full episode below:
To learn how to make budaejjigae, watch Bourdain cook the dish for Anderson Cooper below:
The 4th Annual KFESTat UC Irvine kicks off just one week from today. If you’re looking for good food, games and music, you might want to stop by next Tuesday evening. Awkwafinaand Parker, a.k.a. Dumbfoundead, will headline as featured performers accompanied by DJ ZO.
This year, KFEST promises “The Korean Experience,” with plenty of Korean cuisine, games and performances by fellow Anteaters. Admission is free, but be prepared to pay for parking if you do attend.
If you need any indication of the power of hallyu and Korean popular culture, look no further than how CJ E&M‘s KCON has grown since its launch in 2012.
KCON hosted over 42,000 attendees from around the world last summer at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, and this year, the convention is bringing its A game. From Friday, July 31 to Sunday, Aug. 2, fans can expect plenty of panels, workshops, food fashion and more at the L.A. LIVE plaza in Downtown L.A., punctuated by two concerts at the Staples Center on Saturday and Sunday.
Last year’s lineup included B1A4, BTS, CNBLUE, G-Dragon, Girl’s Generation, IU, Jung Joon Young, SPICA, TEEN TOP and VIXX. We’ll keep you updated on when this year’s artists are announced—KCON promises that the concerts will “Ignite Your Feelz.”
Check out KCON 2015 USA’s websitefor more information. You can watch a recap of last year’s KCON below.
Acclaimed chef Corey Lee will be hitting the road later this month to promote his new cookbook Benu, which was named after his three Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco.
The cookbook isn’t just your run-of-the-mill collection of recipes: The picture-heavy, 256-page hardcover work is presented as a 33-course tasting menu that includes Lee’s anecdotes and essays that showcase the inspirations for Benu’s cuisine.
Publisher Phaidon announced the dates for Lee’s book tour on Monday, just a few weeks after Lee was nominated for another James Beard Award for 2015. The events will feature book signings, conversations with other famous chefs and dishes highlighted in the Benu cookbook.
Angelenos can look forward to seeing Lee next Wednesday with one of the most prolific Korean American chefs out there—Roy Choi will sit down with Lee for a chat after the reception, followed by a book signing in Santa Monica. On April 29, Lee will hit New York City and reunite with his mentor from The French Laundry, Thomas Keller.
Lee will then head to Asia in May, stopping by Hong Kong and Seoul before hitting the final leg of his tour in Toronto. The last event on May 27 will feature a conversation with another well-known Korean American chef—Momofuku’s chef and founder, David Chang.
For more information on Lee’s tour, you can take a look at the full schedule on Phaidon’s website. Tickets are available for his events in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. Tickets for Seoul and Toronto are TBA. You can also find more information on purchasing Lee’s cookbook, Benu, at the above link, as well as Amazon.
Benu was awarded three Michelin Stars by the 2015 Michelin Guide back in October 2014, and the recent James Beard Award nomination isn’t his first: He won the Rising Star Chef of the Year award while he was at The French Laundry in 2006.