BBQ Oysters – Gochujang Butter, Kimchi, Scallion

BBQ Oyster - Korean Style

BBQ OYSTERS – KOREAN STYLE
Gochujang Butter, Kimchi, Scallion

Let’s not pretend that these BBQ oysters will appeal to everyone. But surprisingly, those who said they were not fans of bivalve molluscs nor fermented cabbage found themselves enjoying several of the Korean Style Oysters hot off the grill. At a recent party, we served Fanny Bay Pacific Oysters boldly dressed with Korean flavors – a spicy rich gochujang butter, complex kimchi, and fresh scallion. And paired with cold Hite lager to get the party has started!

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A Smoky Old-School Korean Bar (in LA)

dan sung sa

I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Korean pub scene, in fact I’ve only been to this one. But here, my older brother Bill and I were transported to what I imagine to be a secret hideaway in a back alley somewhere in Seoul. He served in the military in Korea and was happy to accompany me as I reviewed a dozen restaurants for a Korean restaurant publication. We began our experience at Dan Sung Sa with a complimentary seaweed soup, perhaps served for drinking stamina? And positively addictive shoestring potatoes curiously sprinkled with sugar.

dansungsa korean pub
We were warned that Dan Sung Sa is not easy to find. It has no exterior signage in English, adding to the mystery and charm.

Dan Sung Sa
3317 W. 6th St.
Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA

This is a bar. Trippy, authentic, hip, smoky. We loved it. Definitely not a fine dining establishment by any means. If you are looking for a place to imbibe and experience what could be Seoul’s cultural underbelly, this is the place. We drank Hite and soju, we ate esoteric ahn-joo. The service fit the atmosphere, the music was perfect. By the way – it was smoky…and not just from the grill.

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mind-blowing appetizer: kimchi jeon (kimchi pancake)

kimchi pancake recipe
kimchi pancake / kimchi jeon 

김치전

I’m obsessed with a pancake. Korean Kimchi Jeon. How does a simple combination of flour & water plus kimchi produce such a sublime pancake? It is kimchi’s spicy, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami, fermented flavors when added to a basic pancake batter that result in an extraordinary snack. Complex in flavor with textures ranging from chewy to crispy and a delightful orange-hue, guests can’t get enough of this popular ahn-joo.

With a jar of kimchi in the refrigerator and the rest of the ingredients pretty much standard pantry items, in 15 minutes or so I can serve a mind-blowing appetizer. Pair with cold beer or makkoli (rice wine) to get the party started!

Two ways to enjoy ~ choose either the partially burnt caramelized kimchi pancake or the crispy/chewy version ~ same ingredients, different method.

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A Potato Lover’s Dream: Colcannon, Three Ways

kimchi mashed potatoes, kimchi colcannon

Kimchi Colcannon
Garlic, Scallion, Butter

cabbage leek colcannon

Green Cabbage & Leek Colcannon
Chick Peas, Olive Oil, Nutmeg, Garlic

southern greens colcannon guinness gravy

Southern Greens Colcannon
Mustard, Turnip, Collards, Spinach
Guinness Gravy

I am of Russian, Romanian, English, and German descent. But on March 17th I will be Irish. In the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day, I’ve been playing with potatoes. Mashed potatoes. Been taking the famous Irish potato & cabbage dish, colcannon, and giving it my spin. I was going to share one recipe, but honestly, I can’t pick just one. Spicy fermented garlicky kimchi with butter and scallion? Green cabbage and leek flavored with nutmeg, studded with chick peas? Loads of dark leafy greens with Guinness gravy? Please, you pick. . .

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Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup

미역국 korean seaweed soup, miyeok guk, miyuk guk
Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup

Traditionally this satisfying soup is savored by Korean mothers who have just given birth as a restorative meal, to replenish vitamins and nutrients. Consequently, it is also enjoyed on one’s birthday, as a way to commemorate that special day.  Here, the addition of some gorgeous huge Atlantic Sea Scallops definitely adds to the celebration!

This soup, miyeok guk or miyuk guk, is simple but super-flavorful and the scallops add a luxurious component. It’s made with seaweed known as miyeok in Korean/wakame in Japanese, lots of garlic and ground pork  in an ocean-y broth. It is garnished with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, a sprinkling of crunchy sesame seeds, while a restrained amount of Korean red chile flakes called gochugaru adds a lively quality. The scallops are seasoned with Kosher salt and seared in a hot pan with just a bit of canola oil to let their natural flavor shine.

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