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After living in South Korea for nearly two years I realized that while I had fallen in love with the country’s cuisine, I had relatively little idea how to create the dishes I’d been eating daily in my own kitchen. With my friend Kasey, a fellow food lover and excellent cook, in town I knew it was the perfect time to sign up for a Korean cooking class at the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine. She could learn more about an important part of Korean culture, and I could further develop my appreciation for it.
Where to take a Korean cooking class in Seoul
For those looking for a Korean cooking class in Seoul, the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine offers Korean cooking classes in English every second, third, and fourth Saturday of the month. The menu changes every week, and there is an option to take a nine week course with certificate. The institute’s location is absolutely beautiful, in a converted hanok, and the classroom is modern, bright, and large.
Learning to cook Korean food
The course started at 10 am, with an hour long demonstration of the dishes we would prepare. After the demonstration finished, we split into groups of four and began cooking. Each person in the group was responsible for a dish.
I was in charge of the dubu jorim, or soy sauce braised tofu. I plopped a big block of homemade tofu onto the cutting board and picked up a rather large knife. Tentatively, I placed the knife on top of the block, ready to slice.
“I usually hold the knife a little closer, with my index finger like this.”
Doug, the translator and one of the assistants, came up behind me and demonstrated the correct way to hold the knife. The other assistants were flitting around the workspace, helping students as they needed it. Kasey was preparing her gamja sogogi jorim (braised potatoes and beef) solo, and the other two members of our group had the kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) and dalkyalchim (egg souffle) under control by themselves.
Doug stuck to my side the entire morning. I wasn’t sure whether to be happy to have the help, or insulted that I looked like I needed it. Either way, it was nice to be in a cooking class with such individualized attention.
After about an hour of cooking and plating, we sat down to enjoy the meal we had just prepared. All of the food was delicious, even my tofu that Doug had been so worried about. It was interesting chatting with the diverse group of students enrolled in the class. Some were expats like myself, while some were travelers just passing through. Most of the students were actually pursuing the certificate, something I wish I’d known about earlier! Once we’d finished eating, we cleaned up and headed home- full, satisfied and with a little more knowledgeable about the Korean kitchen.
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Want to take a Korean cooking class yourself?
For more information, visit the website or call 02-3673-1122-3. One class costs 40,000 won (around US$40) and includes all supplies, ingredients, instruction, and recipes. The nine week course is 320,000 won.