My friend Laura set us up with an awesome company called the Food and Culture Academy where we could learn to cook Korean cuisine in English. Our teacher, Ellie Hyewon Lee, is a professional food stylist with over 10 years of teaching and cooking experience. Her company is also a food consultant for Korean TV shows and dramas, so we were in good hands and eager to soak up some knowledge.
Here’s a look at the kitchen and our prep table:
The class began with introductions, then straight to cooking. We started off by making haemul pajeon (해물파전) which means seafood pancake.
Once our haemul pajeon was mixed and ready, it was set aside as we began to prepare the makings of dalk galbi (닭갈비) which is a spicy, stirfried chicken dish. Galbi actually means the ribs of the chicken, which is how it used to be made but nowadays, people just dice up a deboned chicken to avoid the hassle of picking out the bones later. First we made the spicy red sauce which is the base of the recipe, then added the chicken and veggies and mixed it all in the sauce.
After both dishes were ready for some heat, we turned around and went to the stoves. First cooking up our haemul pajeon like a big delicious pancake, then frying up the dalk galbi.
Once that was sorted, we took some photos like proud parents of our food babies, then mowed down on our creations.
After lunch, if you like, you can try on some traditional Korean dresses, called hanboks, for 5,000 won (approx. $5) and take some photos in front of beautiful Korean scenery. Although there were no men with us, there are costumes for the men to wear as well.
For the ladies with bigger chests, they do have bigger sizes of hanboks to wear so don’t worry about being left out of the photo shoot. You may not get your choice of colour (I was dizzy from all that pink) but it was a cool experience and much cheaper than going to one of the traditional villages or specialty hanbok renting places. It was a great way to wrap up our afternoon of learning about traditional culture and culinary secrets.
For those in Korea who would like to check this out, the Food and Culture Academy is near Gyeoungbokgung station (line 3), exit 3 if you’re taking the subway. The academy is also near Gyeoungbokgung palace and the Korean president’s home, called the Blue House. The class runs from about 11am-1pm so there’s lots of time to enjoy the neignborhood once you’re done cooking. Aside from English and Korean, classes are also offered in Japanese so click here if you want to book a session.