Chuseok for Foreigners? What Would You Serve?

Since we now have a dining room and inherited a dining room table and chairs with this house, I decided to invite some friends over for Chuseok dinner in two weeks.

This was not my best idea since the house is still pretty much a disaster, but I guess I’ll need to at least get the kitchen and dining room in order, hmmm?

Most of the people who are coming are Korean food virgins, or they’ve had bulgogi and not much else. As far as I know, none of my guest have dietary restrictions (except that I don’t do beef most of the time).

Readers: What would you serve to a bunch of Korean food virgins for their first Chuseok? (Keep in mind I’m the only one who will be cooking, although I can make Good Man my sous chef.)

15 thoughts on “Chuseok for Foreigners? What Would You Serve?

  1. Things that are fairly easy and foreigner-friendly:
    만두 — You can make a variety of different fillings (e.g. pork or beef or even well seasoned ground turkey & an all veg one [leek or scallion and tofu based]) Something I like to do is add a lot of fresh spinach to the mixture, and use the meat as a flavor rather than the bulk of the filling. Another hint, use different color 만두피 (white and green) for the different types.

    잡재 — This is kinda a pain to make, but I know it’s a crowd pleaser. Alternative – make a pseudo japchae using buckwheat noodles and that soy sauce/vinegary sauce, as well as sauteed slivers of carrot and scallions and other veggies.

    송편 — Any kind of 떡 seems like a huge pain, so I would either skip (Chuseok sacrilege, I know) or farm this out and buy it from H-Mart or someplace like that… Do you have any H-Marts near you?

    갈비 — I’m sure anyone that liked bulgogi will like kalbi also. You’ll want to marinade them at least overnight — soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lots of sliced onions, also I hear many people like to used Korean pear instead or in addition to onion to impart sweetness to the meat. If you search Maangchi on YouTube, she has lots of videos about Korean cooking. (Though I would simplify a lot of what she does, she’s pretty authentic and precise, whereas I would improvise more)

    some kind of soup — this is my inherent Korean-ness I think, but some kind of broth might be nice to go with everything else; take your pick (they’re all pretty easy to make) seaweed, spinach&miso, tofu&miso, beef&무.

    and rice, obviously — as if the above isn’t enough, you could do the whole wild rice cooked in gourds thing, they look awesome and are tasty, but they take a long time to steam

    Sorry about the wall of text haha. I like cooking.

    • Now we live less than a mile from a Super HMart. ;) I will farm out 송편. You’ve gotta have it, but I made some when I worked in Korea, and what a pain in the ass!

      I didn’t even think of 만두 (which I’ve never made, but I think I could) and 잡재. Great ideas with those!

      I think a miso tofu soup would work. Simple enough. Seaweed soup has a weird texture that I can’t stand, and while I could easily deal with leftover miso tofu soup, I’d dread having leftover seaweed soup. (I only make seaweed soup for Good Man’s birthday.)

      I was thinking some 파전, too?

      A few weeks ago we have a cinnamon-y tea at a Korean restaurant as dessert. Any idea what that could have been?

  2. A cinnamon-y tea? Could it have been an herbal or flower tea flavored with cinnamon? It wasn’t plum juice, was it?

    But yeah, a miso soup would be good, you do it lighter or heartier — basic miso and tofu or you can add rough chopped onion and wedged zucchini and even button mushrooms. 파전 is a great idea, in addition or instead you could make a 호박전 if maybe people (crazy people) don’t like scallion.

    만두 is simple. I would regularly sit around with my sisters and make tray loads of dumplings. My basic recipe: 1 lb ground beef, 2 cups chopped scallion/leek, 3 cups chopped baby spinach, 6 cloves minced garlic, 2 onions finely chopped, 2 eggs, 1 block firm tofu, black pepper, splash of soy sauce, sesame seeds, maybe some minced ginger too. Mix that all together (get in there 손맛 style). When making the mandoo, don’t overstuff! Usually a slightly rounded teaspoonful is good on standard skins. This’ll make quite a bit of filling, I would always tend to run out of skins first (this’ll use at least 2 packs of skins probably.)

    Gotta love living near H-Mart. Does the one near you have a little cafeteria in it?

    • I don’t think it was plum juice. Maybe I’ll just do a ginger tea with pine nuts in it.

      Thanks for the mandu recipe! I’ll give it a shot. I wonder if those suckers freeze well. Then thaw and steam? Oh man, that would be a dream come true.

      Yes, our HMart has a cafeteria in it. Friday night Good Man had 해물 돌솥비빔밥 and I had 탕수육. They also have sushi, but we never go for the sushi.

      • mandu freeze well. the trick is to freeze them loosely first then bag them. if you put them in a bag and then freeze, they will stick together and seperating them will be impossible without destroying them. hope that helps.

      • I don’t know if I’d steam the 만두, though I guess that would hold up better than boiling. Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve only ever boiled or shallow pan fried mandu, never steamed! Huh. You’ll notice when you’re making the dumplings, the skins will have one side that is more flour-y than the other — I would make that the outside, thus helping them not stick together. David is right, freeze them (at least partially) on wax papered/plastic wrapped trays/plates before transferring them to bags. They do freeze great though, super convenient to make a bunch and use as necessary.

        • David, Jonathan, yep, flash freezing. Works for grapes, egg rolls, strawberries, muffins, etc. The trick to freezing–a good cookie sheet.

          Seriously, now that I know I can make a pile of mandu and freeze it, we are going to be eating a lot more mandu!!

          In fact, we just bought a chest freezer for the basement. Wha haa haa!

      • Hey, I like boshintang! Stateside, they use goat, which is pretty yummy, and has an interesting gamey-kind of texture…

        • Never done boshintang, although we could have easily tried it in Anseong. They had restaurants all over the place.

Comments are closed.