Korean American Review

Korean America: Food That Tastes Like Home

By Eric Kim

I received a free copy of Korean American from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

An homage to what it means to be Korean American with delectable recipes that explore how new culinary traditions can be forged to honor both your past and your present.

“This is such an important book. I savored every word and want to cook every recipe!”–Nigella Lawson, author of Cook, Eat, Repeat

New York Times staff writer Eric Kim grew up in Atlanta, the son of two Korean immigrants. Food has always been central to his story, from Friday-night Korean barbecue with his family to hybridized Korean-ish meals for one–like Gochujang-Buttered Radish Toast and Caramelized-Kimchi Baked Potatoes–that he makes in his tiny New York City apartment. In his debut cookbook, Eric shares these recipes alongside insightful, touching stories and stunning images shot by photographer Jenny Huang.

Playful, poignant, and vulnerable, Korean American also includes essays on subjects ranging from the life-changing act of leaving home and returning as an adult, to what Thanksgiving means to a first-generation family, complete with a full holiday menu–all the while teaching readers about the Korean pantry, the history of Korean cooking in America, and the importance of white rice in Korean cuisine. Recipes like Gochugaru Shrimp and Grits, Salt-and-Pepper Pork Chops with Vinegared Scallions, and Smashed Potatoes with Roasted-Seaweed Sour Cream Dip demonstrate Eric’s prowess at introducing Korean pantry essentials to comforting American classics, while dishes such as Cheeseburger Kimbap and Crispy Lemon-Pepper Bulgogi with Quick-Pickled Shallots do the opposite by tinging traditional Korean favorites with beloved American flavor profiles. Baked goods like Milk Bread with Maple Syrup and Gochujang Chocolate Lava Cakes close out the narrative on a sweet note.

In this book of recipes and thoughtful insights, especially about his mother, Jean, Eric divulges not only what it means to be Korean American but how, through food and cooking, he found acceptance, strength, and the confidence to own his story.

Summary from Goodreads.

Cookbooks, for me, always only tend to include 5 recipes that I actually cook. In Korean American, well lets just say that I have about the equivalent of at least 10 cookbooks!

Korean American is broken down into seperate sections: TV Dinners, Kimchi is a Verb, S is for Stew, Rice Cuisine, Korea is a Peninsula, Garden of Jean, Feasts and Korean Bakery.

TV Dinners includes Pan-Seared Ribeye with Gochujang Butter, Maple-candied Spam and Creamy Bucatini.

Kimchi is a Verb includes recipes filled with kimchi galore, like Caramelised Kimchi Baked Potatoes and Spam, Kimchi and Cabbage stir-fry.

S is for Stew has a selection of mouthwatering dishes including Budae Jjgae and Seolleongtang Noodles with Scallion Gremolata.

Rice Cuisine explains how to cook the perfect white rice, as well as giving you recipes such as Gyeranbap with Roasted Seaweed and Capers for you to see put into practice cooking your rice!

Korea is a Peninsula is all about fish. Roasted Lobster Tails with Lemony Green Salad and Pan-Fried Yellow Croaker are some of the delicacy’s that await you here.

For Garden of Jean we have vegetables galore! From Smashed Potatoes with Roasted Seaweed Sour Cream Dip to Grilled Trumpet Mushrooms with Ssamjang, you will love the vegetable based recipes.

Feasts includes Sesame-Soy Deviled Eggs and Lasagna with Gochugaru Oil.

Korean Bakery gives you amazing sweet treats such as Milk Bread with Maple Syrup and Chewy Black Sesame Rice Cake.

All in all, I will probably end up giving every recipe in Korean American a go! It will take me a while but they all look worth-it, and I cannot wait to add these to my repertoire.

If you like Korean food, the Korean American definitely deserves a place on your shelf.


Have you read Korean American? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Check it out on Goodreads here.

Purchase it on Amazon here.


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