Recent articles on Epoch Times

Recent articles on Epoch Times

We had a stream of friends visiting in Bangkok. April and May must be the traveling season.  Could this be my excuse for not writing as often as I should??? As I promised, my recipe on Korean chilli squid  and more garden update should be on the way.

In the mean while, Here are some of the articles which were featured in Epoch Times last few months.

 

 

 

 

February article (click here)

Feb Article_Epoch Times

 

 

 

March article (click here)

March article_Epoch Times

 

April article (page 1-click here) (page 2-click here)

April Article 1_Epoch Times

 

April Article 2_Epoch Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Bangkok Farmers Market

February Bangkok Farmers Market

Yes, I finally started back at Bangkok Farmers Market in February. Unfortunately, my husband was away to help with the heavy lifting so it was hard work and I ended up with a minor back injury!!  Thank goodness for my friends who came to help out over the weekend and those that visited my stall. I don’t know what I would do without them…Hope my husband is reading this!! hint hint!!

Back in Sydney, I used to make necklaces and sell them at a market in Mosman. It was never about selling though, it was all about catching up with friends, eating and shopping. Except for the Thailand heat, it feels almost like that here at Bangkok Farmers market. Ah, the good old days…!

Busy packing before the market.

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I had a new item to sell at the February market and it was really exciting to hear all the great feedback! My new “Green papaya” kimchi! It’s a mix of the crunchiness of green papaya together with Kimchi sauce! A great combination!!

 

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My organic kimchi!

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My bibimbap stand which comes with organic brown rice! Very healthy…

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Making hodduk(cinnamon pancake) – a lot of people are often surprised to know that this is a popular Korean street snack food!

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The cooking classes are getting a lot of interest, especially Kimchi making class. I love meeting people who have the same passion as I do about cooking or are just curious about Korean food. I’ll be starting regular monthly classes soon so get in early to avoid disappointment!

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I will be back at the March Bangkok Farmer market (15th & 29th). If I have time, I will take my friends suggestion and try making green mango kimchi as well this time. That should be an interesting flavor mix. Be sure to come and visit if you are in Bangkok!

 

 

 

 

Korean food at Bangkok Farmers Market

Korean food at Bangkok Farmers Market

We finally did it. Two days of pure excitement, fun and most of all, hearing all the great comments from the customers who came to visit my stall. It made me forget how tired I was. Without my friends, this wouldn’t have happened(you know who you are – thanks you!!) and also to my husband for his encouragement.  Thank you all lovely people!

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If you were wondering what I was cooking and selling, here is our menu.

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First, Hot Cinnamon Pancake (aka. Hodduk). I must have tested this recipe 10 times until I was finally satisfied. My aunt in Los Angeles has a shop selling hodduk and she shared her secret recipe. I thought mine was actually better though. We also played around with fillings including jam and nutella  to see if we could sell other flavours. In the end we stayed with the traditional sugar and cinnamon filling. It was a great success!

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Next, Organic Kimchi – this was my best seller. I have never had  much success with Kimchi in Singapore but I found using fresh organic cabbage  in Bangkok made so much difference. Check out the labels that my creative friend designed!!  I sold out the whole batch I made on the first day of the market and stayed up all night making more for the next day.

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Seafood pancake and bibimbap.

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My dear friends who helped out both on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, thank you!!!

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sandra and Nicky

 

Enough about my stall, let me share some photos of the rest of the market. There were interesting and fun activities throughout the two days and even a live band to keep us bouncing.

 

My favourite bread stall – Urban Pantry, fantastic sourdough breads.

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Organic veggies!! I love these baby carrots. Check out the colours of the lettuce…

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I finally feel like I am being part of the community in Bangkok. I met some really interesting people who are working towards building a great community  here and I am proud to say that I am a part of it. Until next time….

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Bangkok Farmers Market food tasting

Bangkok Farmers Market food tasting

Six years ago I tagged along to see a fortune teller with my brother in Seoul. It was just for fun but it was quite amazing how the fortune teller told me so much about myself just by my name, date of birth and my face. One of the distinct points she mentioned was not to go into the food business. But my passion for food and sharing my skills with other people won over and I ignored her advice and started Nicky’s Kitchen cooking school.

My next mile stone is about to occur this weekend at the Bangkok Farmers market at K-Village. I will be cooking a variety of Korean dishes to sell. Before the real deal though, I decided to do a test run and invited a few friends for a tasting session.

We set up a pretend stall to see what it would be like. Below are my two lovely assistants who will be helping this weekend! 

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Seafood pancake and home made kimchi for tasting!

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Cooking two Seafood pancakes at once!

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Korean sweet pancake – aka hodduk was very popular!

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Tasting time… these are delicious!!

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If you are in Bangkok, we hope to see you this weekend!

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In Korean….

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Eating my way through Seoul II

Eating my way through Seoul II

If I have to pick one restaurant from my childhood memory in Korea, there is only one that pops up in my mind. Every time I visit Korea I always go.  The restaurant has been around since 1966 and it’s renowned for their handmade noodle soup (kal guk su-칼국수).  Why do I like this restaurant so much?  Firstly, there aren’t many non-chain restaurants that make their own noodles and their authentic stock like this one. Any guesses??  Drum roll please….. Myundong Gyoja (명동 교자) restaurant!

My last visit to Korea was going to be a slightly different to my usual trip. Instead of going to all my usual favourite places, I decided I was only  going to try new places,  but Myundong Gyoja had to be an exception. I just couldn’t go back home without having my fix from Myungdong Gyoja restaurant.

My girlfriend and I arrived at the restaurant exactly at noon and luckily there were only a few people waiting for a table. Usually, there is a long queue with a mix of locals and tourists.  By the time we finished our lunch, there were at least 50 people waiting outside for tables.  The staff  were very efficient and friendly despite the high turn over of the customers and all the food was served really fast. Don’t expect to sit and chit chat however. It’s one of those restaurants where you eat and run…

 

 

kal guk su(칼국수), aka handmade noodle soup is the star dish here. The free flow Kimchi is also very famous and has an incredible amount of  garlic.  It’s so strong they give you chewing gum when you ask for the bill to ease the smell of garlic. Besides the kimchi, a bowl of rice mixed with millets is served free of charge with  the noodle soup. It’s a lot of food for only S$10.

 

 

I was reading through a few reviews on the restaurant in Korean and one of the reviews suggested to order only one bowl of kal guk su and one serving of dumplings so you can have best of the both.  We were silly enough to order a bowl of noodle soup each and ended up staring at other customers with dumplings!!

 

 

 

Other dishes served in this restaurant include cold soy bean noodle (kong guk su) and chilli noodles (bibim guksu). I have never tried these dishes simply because the kal gul su is the best and leave no room for anything else. According to the restaurant website, you can  buy their home made kimchi and take it away.

 

How to get to Myung dong Gyoja:

 

Address:

Seoul-si Jung-gu Myeongdong 10-gil 29
(Myeongdong 2-ga)

There are two Myungdong Gyoja restaurants in Myungdong, They are not too far from each other.  If you are heading to Seoul next time, don’t forget to check this out!

Happy Chu Seok everyone!

Happy Chu Seok everyone!

Days like today makes you really miss your family.  A friend in Korea shared these photos of her family celebrating Chu Seok. They remind me of when I was living in Korea. When my grand parents were alive, the entire family (my dad has 5 brothers and 1 sister) got together to celebrate Chu seok.

For those who don’t know what Chu seok is, it’s Korean Thanksgiving. We buy the best season produce and serve it on a table like in below picture to show respects to our ancestors. Looks a bit like a ghost month, right?

 

 

 

We also serve Korean rice wine to the ancestors.

 

 

Then we bow on the floors to the ancestors. The two kids in the middle are wearing hangbok (Korean traditional costume). So cute!

 

Now time to eat…  I can see various kimchi, stir fried vegetables and Korean soy bean paste soup. The most important dish for Chu seok is Song pyun rice cake.

 

 

This table is an indication of the hard work by the Korean house wives. Grandmothers, Aunts, daughters and daughter-in-laws would have slaved away over the last few days to put all this food together. Hmmm, now I have a big craving for all this food…. ^_^

Happy Chu seok everyone!

 

**Photos provided by Erin Kim in Korea**

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking competition

Cooking competition

I was asked by Korean Tourism to be a judge for a Korean cooking competition earlier in the year. The first prize was two return tickets to Korea!!  I wish I could enter.. 😉

The two day event involved a lot of preparation. There were many terms and conditions we had to consider and lots of questions from contestants regarding ingredients they could use. The first preliminary round involved making Korean pancake(파전) and Korean BBQ beef (불고기).

Despite all the hard preparation, it was really fun event. It was great watching all the contestants working so hard to cook delicious dishes. The best part was having to taste all the dishes!!

 

 

The aim of this competition was not only to cook authentic Korean dishes but also to be creative. I was proud to see a few male participants who were showing off their culinary skills.  Another competency that was judged was the cleanliness of each participants’ workstation.  Here is a photo of the judges walking around and assessing each workstation.

 

 

Each dish had to be created in one hour. It sounds like a lot of time, but when you are cooking in an unfamiliar environment, this can be quite scary and stressful.

 

  • 1st round – pancakes (파전)

 

 

 

  • 2nd round: Korean BBQ beef (불고기)

This contestant was one of my favourites. He was a young University student who had the creativity as well as culinary skills.

 

This contestant made chilli bulgogi. Not quite what the judges were expecting but tasty nonetheless.

 

Bulgogi in  wraps – very original!!

 

Nicely decorated… Bulgogi in capsicum cups

 

This contestant definitely knew what she was doing.

 

And the four finalists were….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The final round was any dish that included kimchi. And the winner is….

This winner went to a Korean restaurant the night before the final competition and tasted all the Korean kimchi dishes and came up with her own Korean pork dish.

Well done everyone!!

Korean Temple food

Korean Temple food

I can’t believe this will be my last blog for 2011. It’s been a busy last few months and I finally managed to squeeze in some time to write a blog I have been meaning to write for a while…. This is long overdue!

I was invited to attend a Korean cooking demonstration conducted by a Korean Buddhist Seonjae nun a few months ago. Being reasonably ignorant of Buddism, it was a good opportunity to educate myself.  I noticed a lot of Temple food cooking books were very popular during my last trip to Korea.

The cooking demonstration was organised by the Singapore Korean Women’s Association and was held at the Korean International School. The turn out was fantastic. There must have been at least 200 people filling the school hall. I guess everyone was curious to see the difference in the Korean temple food. Seonjae nun was going to show us how to make a few different types of kimchi in the Buddhist way.

I learnt that Buddhists don’t eat garlic, spring onion/leek and onion. This was hard to believe when Koreans use so much of these ingredients. I was really looking forward to taste Kimchi which has no garlic!

 

Seonjae nun is a cancer survivor. When she found out that she had cancer, she decided to focus more on the Korean temple food and treat her illness with food that she cooked. All her vegetables were grown in the temple organically and she treated the vegetable like any precious lives. She explained that what you eat is what you are. So you need to eat good and healthy food or your body will get sick.  How true…

 

Check out the different variety of kimchi that she made and we tasted.

Lotus root white kimchi

 

Cabbage Kimchi

 

Eggplant kimchi

 

 

Cucumber kimchi

 

All the different variety of kimchi that I tried tasted much less salty but still very fresh. I still couldn’t believe she didn’t use any garlic in any of the cooking. One more thing to note is that she makes her own soy sauce and substituted that with fish sauce.

Well, thank you all for following my blog this year and I hope I can bring more instresting stories for you next year! Happy New Year everyone and all the best in 2012!

Doongji Korean restaurant Singapore

Doongji Korean restaurant Singapore

A lot of people ask me which is my favorite and most authentic Korean restaurant in Singapore. Out of all the ones I have tried, there is one that I brag about to everyone but it’s actually a Korean Chinese Restaurant. I am usually too busy gobbling up their black bean noodle(짜장면) and spicy seafood noodle soup(짬봉), so I haven’t had a chance to do a review on the restaurant. I promise to soon!

Anyway, there is one restaurant near where I live and the dishes I have tried have been so disappointing I had decided not to add it in my blog in the past. Rice cake soup(dduk guk-떡국) tasted like it had too much msg, and so did dumpling soup (mandu guk-만두국).  Jja jang bap (rice with black bean sauce-짜장밥) had a fried egg on top which made me wonder just how authentic can it be?!

Out of desperation and convenience, I went back the other day with a girlfriend and tried their lunch special kimchi stew (kimchi jjige-김치 찌게) and this time they hit a home run!!  It was a perfect kimchi stew!

 

 

I am not a big fan of tofu so I have asked the restaurant not to add any. It’s served on a clay pot and very spicy. I usually make my kimchi stew at home with canned tuna but this restaurant makes it with pork. Also, they add my favourite dangmyun (Korean vermicelli noodles) so I was over the moon!

 

 

The kimchi stew is served with a bowl of rice and 4-5 side dishes and it’s only $8.90+ for lunch special. What a bargain!! My husband always order kimchi fried rice but I find it a bit too oily.

Here are the details of Doongji Korean restaurant. By the way, Doongji means “nest” in Korean and the restaurant owner are Koreans.

 

If you are nearby, drop by for my favourite Kimchi stew!  Kimchi power! 🙂

 

Korea town – Sydney Australia

Korea town – Sydney Australia

I was back in Sydney visiting family and friends a few weeks ago and took some snap shots of an area that I grew up called Strathfield. My family moved to this area when we first moved from Korea. Strathfield has a lot of Koreans and therefore a lot of the shops cater to the Korean community. Sometimes, I felt I was in Korea rather than Australia.

I went to my favorite Korean restaurant at Strathfiled Plaza called Tomoya (Korean/Japanese) and had a lovely lunch with my family. The silken tofu soup wasn’t up to the usual standard according my father but my hot stone bibimbap with fish row was amazing!

While we were in Sydney, the weather was amazing. It was not too hot and we had an amazing clear blue sky every day except our final day. The weather turned completely and it was like being in winter so I was craving for a hot and spicy soup to warm me up. My brother recommended a restaurant tucked away in a sports club called “Red Pepper @ Strathfield”. They had an incredible kimchi jjige cooked with pork ribs and I also highly recommend the chilli fried chicken (yang nyum chicken). It was so crunch and spicy. I loved it…Drop by if you are around the area! 🙂

Red Pepper @ Strathfield restaurant

Address: 45 The Boulevard  Strathfield Sydney, Australia   Tel: +61-9746 7500