I was intrigued by the new cookbook Koreatown because I have been trying to learn a bit about Korean culture. After hearing all the buzz about Korean skincare, I started doing Korean sheet mask facials once a week back in December, and I also attempt to do the “ten step process” of skincare that is described in The Little Book of Skincare by Charlotte Cho. If you want to learn about Korean skincare (pretty neat stuff), a good place to look is www.sokoglam.com. I’m not affiliated with that site in any way, but it’s one of the best resources I’ve found.
Anyway, after skincare, I naturally wanted to learn about Korean food as well. As an American, the closest I might ever get to authentic Korean food is if I were to visit a Koreatown somewhere around a major city in my country. I would love to travel to Korea, but since that is not in the cards (a.k.a budget!) right now, I have to get creative.
To bring the flavors to my house and learn more about the food in general, I decided to check out Koreatown by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard. The first thing I noticed about the book was the gorgeous illustration on the outside and all of the beautiful food photography on the inside. I did not know very much about Korean food, beyond the fact that Korean people eat kimchi, so the illustrations were incredibly helpful so that I could see what the food should look like! I am definitely inspired to try a few recipes. Some of the dishes are more traditional, while others have a spin on them. I’m thinking some of the American-Korean fusion recipes will be a nice place to start. I also liked how the book describes various ingredients that are used in Korean cooking since I have no experience with many of the ingredients.
Another part of the book that I enjoyed was learning about the food culture in general. For example, I did not know that Korean people are having a surge of interest in French-inspired baking (but that their baked goods come out different and less sweet than the French versions apparently).
My family has one connection to Korea that has been on my mind lately. My father-in-law was an American prisoner of war during the Korean War, and he was heroic in helping the South Koreans while he was there. He had a strong love of Korean culture and the Korean people throughout his lifetime. He passed away last month, so I think cooking some Korean food would be a good way to honor his memory for my husband.
Blogging for Books sent me a copy of Koreatown in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. I think the book is visually appealing and also highly educational for a cook who may not have much experience with Korean food. I have an American perspective, but it would be interesting to hear what native Koreans think about the book as well.