Koreatown: A Cookbook

15 Great Grilling Recipes for the 4th of July!
June 30, 2017
Spicing Up Store Bought Pickles
July 10, 2017

by Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard

A collection of 100 recipes exploring the foods and flavors of Koreatown, a New York Times bestseller and one of the most praised cookbooks of 2016.

This is not your average soft-focus "journey to Asia" kind of cookbook. Koreatown is a spicy, funky, flavor-packed love affair with the grit and charm of Korean cooking in America. Koreatowns around the country are synonymous with mealtime feasts and late-night chef hangouts, and Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard show us why with stories, interviews, and over 100 delicious, super-approachable recipes.

It's spicy, it's fermenty, it's sweet and savory and loaded with umami: Korean cuisine is poised to break out in the U.S., but until now, Korean cookbooks have been focused on taking readers to an idealized Korean fantasyland. Koreatown, though, is all about what's real and happening right here: the foods of Korean American communities all over our country, from L.A. to New York City, from Atlanta to Chicago. We follow Rodbard and Hong through those communities with stories and recipes for everything from beloved Korean barbecue favorites like bulgogi and kalbi to the lesser-known but deeply satisfying stews, soups, noodles, salads, drinks, and the many kimchis of the Korean American table.

– Epicurious: Best Cookbooks of 2016

TSG Review

I love korean BBQ but that is pretty much the limit of my Korean food experience, hope everything else tastes as good as that! I am a little concerned about how many of the recipes have fermented shrimp in them. The pictures look really good and the recipes seem to be fairly straight forward. Think I will start with the Napa Kim Chi!

I followed all of these recipes exactly as written except for the Kimchi, I couldn't do those tiny little shrimp, sorry.

Baechu Kimchi

Napa Cabbage Kimchi
Makes about 2 Quarts
The had an ingredient that grosses me out in the recipe, fermented shrimp, so I made three different versions of this to see if I could even eat it.. This recipe makes quite a bit and it really wants you to use these tiny fermented shrimps and lets be honest, I find that disgusting. I made a jar with the shrimp, made one with a bit of fish sauce, and yet another completely vegan. The shrimp one was uneatable to me. The fish sauce one would have been perfect if I used about half of the Tablespoon of the stuff instead of a whole Tablespoon. Finally the vegan one with no fermented seafood flavor tasted the best to me, I used it on sandwiches and as a side for dinner a few times.May favorite was adding it to stir-fry. This is pretty spicy and has a ton of flavor.

Ddangkong, Fritos, Jwipo

Peanuts, Frito's and Toasted Fish Jerky
Serves 4 to 6 as a snack
I just can't do this stinky fish stuff. The Fritos and nuts are great, the peppery mayo dip works really well, but after adding the toasted file fish I got one bite in and had to lose the fish, to fishy flavored for land locked me. I did sorta like the smell at first but now my house just smells like a seafood plant.


Whole Roasted Chicken
Serves 2 to 4
A very simple roast chicken recipe. Cooked in a hot iron skillet instead of a roasting pan at a very high heat makes this the quickest way to cook a chicken in the oven I have ever seen. Takes under an hour to make and has the crispiest skin so it's golden brown and fast. I didn't really notice the ginger and onion stuffed inside but it smelled good cooking. It has a spicy sauce The recipe recommends serving it with the next recipe, Jangajji.


Quick Soy Sauce Pickles
Serves 4
I made two out of the three Pickle recipes this book offers. Daikon and Garlic tasted good but the garlic was still really hot. The Daikon radish begins to wrinkle after it sits in the marinade overnight. The other one I did was Jalapeno and Onion. This was my favorite out of the two. The peppers lose some of their heat to the marinade making them the perfect temp after a few hours. Besides making a great accompaniment to the chicken above, these are pretty fantastic on crackers and cheese. My favorite—add the peppers and onions to garlic flavored Triscuits and creamy Havarti.


Apparently my taste leans more to the American version of Asian foods. This book is much more traditional Korean than I am used to but I can see how well the recipes are put together and the short memoirs of other chefs and the high ratings on Amazon leads me to believe that this is a really good cookbook about what you can get at K towns around the country. I have already opened my mind to many new flavors I normally would never try with this book and I am not ready to put it down yet. The recipes are easy to follow and make, it has a small ingredient list but assumes you know what some of these ingredients look like in the store.

It would have saved me about an hour at the international store if they explained what certain ingredients were and which ones out of all the different options to pick. Some of the ones that had me scratching my head were, Saeu-jeot - Fermented Shrimp, Korean rice flour, and Doenjang - bean paste. It's hard to figure it out when most of the products don't have any English in the packaging and you've never had this stuff before. That said, I liked the book and the recipes I enjoyed I liked a bunch, the ones I didn't I hated. I am sure that is just my Middle American tastebuds trying to compensate--and the fact that I don't like fermented shrimp! Get the book, it's mostly good!