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Monday, February 27, 2023

KOREAN CUISINE; an illustrated guide (Firefly Books, 2022, 128 pages, ISBN 978-0-2281-0389-9 $19.95 paper covers

KOREAN CUISINE; an illustrated guide (Firefly Books, 2022, 128 pages, ISBN 978-0-2281-0389-9 $19.95 CAD paperbound) is by Luna Kyung, who lives in Paris and has written books about Korean food. Ahnji is a Korean illustrator and graphic designer who also lives in France, and is a co-author. Their book was originally published in French, in France, in 2021 – this is the English translation. There is a lot going on here; in addition to recipes, there are memoir materials, anecdotes, histories and background. For the food itself, there is in-depth coverage on techniques, utensils, and Korean ingredients. It's a colourful book since all of the illustrations are watercolours of food, utensils, finished plates, meal composition, tableware, staples, condiments and sauces. These are everyday dishes. But just one thought: there is no pork neck bone soup recipe. I've noticed this omission in many recent Korean cookbooks, no doubt because pork neck bones are difficult to obtain, even from a butcher. The closest "bone" to find is either hock trotter or spare rib bone, and even these can be hard to find, especially (for the latter) in grilling season. I mention all of this because I regard pork neck bone soup (Gamjatang), along with Bipimbap, to be a quintessential Korean dish. You can easily check out the ingredients through the Internet. It is worth trying to do because of its bounty of flavours, even if you have to use spare ribs where is no real difference in flavour, although neck fans may question that assumption. Kyung's book is full of vast quantities of everyday dishes, fermented foods, noodles, party dishes, temple food, street food, lucky foods, and even North Korean specialties. This is an extremely useful book. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures Writing.

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada

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