About expatkimchi

Photo credit: LuminoxX Fotografie.

I started this blog during a family and personal transition in late 2012 to chronicle a significant part of my life, feeding my kids. I cook mostly Korean food for them because of the feedback I got from them. Peace prevailed hearing all three of them quietly slurp their seaweed or rice cake soups and eating their washed kimchi with their training chopsticks without a complaint.

I don’t think this challenge of feeding my kids Korean food would be half as interesting if I were living in the United States where I come from. My family and I currently live in Germany where there are approximately 31, 000 Koreans living. We live in a small city in the southwest where there aren’t many Koreans. As of this writing, I’ve met three here. [Update: one of them moved back to Korea.] This is all to say, Korean cuisine and ingredients are not so readily available.

Photo credit: LuminoxX Fotografie.

Photo credit: LuminoxX Fotografie.

UPDATE: My family and I moved in the summer of August 2014 to Essen in North Rhine Westphalia. The Korean food game has changed as this region is well populated with Koreans, having been a coal mining region (check out my German Way blog post to understand why this matters) and full of universities with strong music programs. In addition, educating my children as Koreans has changed since we are happily surrounded not only by Korean restaurants and grocery stores, but also Korean schools.

While I originally set out to blog mostly about Korean food, I also write about other key themes in my life. I am an expat mother and wife. Between my husband and me, we share three cultures in our home: Korean, American and German. Raising our kids mulitilingually and multiculturally plays a prominent role in the choices we make – what languages we speak to them, what books we read to them, what videos they watch, and what activities they participate in. While our kids are bilingual in English and German, the biggest challenge for us right now is teaching them Korean language and culture beyond Korean food.

I’ve recently completed a children’s book manuscript based on my oldest child’s experience trying to learn Korean at Korean School in San Diego, California. It’s my dream to get this published, develop a language learning program for kids based on it and work on a German language manuscript to help bring the multicultural dialogue to the 21st century here in Germany. You can check out my writer’s website, but the ideas behind these dreams can be found in this blog.

Please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail with any feedback or questions: expatkimchi (a) gmail.com. And while I am not blogging in German language, please feel free to write to me auf Deutsch if that is what you prefer.

– Jane

10 thoughts on “About expatkimchi

  1. Hi Jane..
    I am so glad I found your blog. Ever since I watched the Korean Soap opera “Pasta” I have been very much interested in Korean people, food and culture.
    You have an interesting story to tell living in Germany with Korean and American background. I’ve lived in the U.S for nine years and it was a challenge for my husband and me to keep our language and culture alive at home for my oldest daughter ( age 8) so I understand your situation. I’ll defiantly come back to check more recipes. You have a lovely family and your kids are gorgeous.

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    • Thanks for your comment, Fatemah! I’m getting back into the blogging swing of things slowly now. I can’t wait to check your site for more gorgeous photos and food. Interesting to compare notes on raising a child multilingually. Stay tuned for more now that our Korean au pair is here. And er, thanks for the “Pasta” tip. I prefer to watch Korean dramas about food. 🙂

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  2. Hi Jane,
    I fear the lack of Korean there in Germany.. I am half korean/half American and I am in need of Korean desperately. I will be living in Stuttgart and while I am fine with preparing foods at home (I can cook most Korean), I am worried about finding korean products!

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    • Hi Patricia,
      You sound like a Korean concerning your desperate need for Korean food! You are lucky to be in Stuttgart though as there is at least one grocery store and one restaurant. We are more than an hour away and have to wait till we make trips to the Rhineland or Frankfurt to stock up. The small Korean grocery story in Stuttgart-West on Bebelstrasse is called Dong-A. It is very clean and the owners are friendly and helpful. They don’t have much fresh produce but they do have fresh kimchi and tofu. They have a decent selection of Korean ingredients too. Be sure to let us know if you figure out any other tricks in the area. I have on my to do list to review Shinhan. I’ve already ordered once from KMall.
      Best of luck in feeding your fix and keep checking back here!
      Jane

      P.S. I understand that Eat, Drink, Man, Woman just moved. If you will be in Stuttgart later this month, you might want to consider checking it out with the International Women’s Club. In any case, I recommend the IWC as a way to find bearings and meet others.

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  3. Hi Jane,

    Great blog! I’m also an American living in Germany and absolutely looove Korean food! Will try your Kimchi dumplings tonight 😉

    Bernardette

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    • Hi Bernadette! Thanks for checking in here. I’m curious to hear how the dumplings were. It’s actually on my list to simplify this recipe! I’d love to hear your feedback. Best wishes, Jane

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  4. Hallo Jane!
    What a nice blog!
    I actually stumbled over it when I googled for a cuckoo rice cooker a few days ago 🙂
    (which are apparently hard to get in Germany…)
    but I already read through a whole lot of other articles and have enjoyed reading them it a lot! And made me hungry, too 😉
    Since my wife and me really enjoy eating kimchi, but have not tried making our own yet, I wondered if you have a suggestion regarding where to find a good recipe.

    By the way: I finally found a place to buy my new and shiny cuckoo: The Hanaro Markt (before they moved it used to be Kim’s Asia Markt) in Düsseldorf. What might be interesting for you is the point that they not only have a huge choice of Korean and other Asian products, but also sell online! So you have an alternative to KMall. Their adress is www_kjfoods_de (exchange _ for dots).

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    • Hi Marco, this is great information. Thank you for sharing all of this. First though, are you happy with your Cuckoo rice cooker? Do you use it for other things other than rice?
      I never answered your question regarding a good kimchi recipe. I start with maangchi.com. She’s got delicious, classic recipes and has videos. So she’s a lot of fun to watch too. I also like Beyondkimchee.com, Koreanbapsang.com and Aeriskitchen.com. I try to cut back on the fish sauce (too much msg) so am trying to play around with these recipes to get a healthier and tasty version. Please keep me posted on your successes!
      I so appreciate your inside info on the Duesseldorf market. I added your kjfoods.de link on an upcoming book I’ve been working on about expat life in Germany based on the German Way blog. Stay tuned for more.
      Best wishes,
      Jane

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  5. Dear Jane,
    You are most welcome!

    First: Both my wife and I are thrilled about our new Cuckoo rice cooker. We used to have a simple conventional on/off rice cooker before and it is overwhelming to experience how much better and more convenient it is. Most of the time we have cooked “plain” rice, i.e. sweet (or glutinous) rice, brown rice, basmati rice and red rice. But we already enjoyed cooking and eating multi-grain-rice (japgok-bap) or Indian Pilau (basically Basmati with different spices). I also made a few porridges with and without coconut milk and/or maple syrup, fruits and spices. I am still looking for a cheap way to get Steel Cut Oats in Germany, but have not been lucky, yet. Everything we used the Cuckoo for turned out great so far. I am impressed of what else you can do with it; I am eager to try out a risotto soon. And I got myself the kindle version of the “Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook” by Julie Kaufmann und Beth Hensperger. It offers quite a lot of good tips, inspirations and possibilities.

    Thanks for your great tips regarding websites for kimchi (and other Korean) recipes. In the meantime I found beyondkimchees website, have enjoyed reading through it and found her shopping tips to be very helpful – especially for non-Koreans, who are not used to the different products and brands. I added the other websites to my favorites, so I have them as recipe resources! Especially Maangchi’s videos and eBooks seem to be a very useful pool of information.

    To be honest: My personal Kimchi-project got on hold. I planned on making a large batch using beyondkimchees “Mastering The Art of Kimchee” recipe during my vacation between Christmas and New Year, but these days turned out far busier than I would have expected. So homemade kimchi and kimchi pancakes have to wait a few weeks. Until then we keep our taste buds happy with some homemade BIR curries (British Indian Restaurant Curries) like Vindaloo, Rogan Josh, Bhuna, Garlic Naga Tikka, etc. – I admit, not Korean but still sooo tasty… – which we finally found out how to make at home without using any shop-bought curry-pastes.

    Wow, I am really looking forward to hear more about your new book and hopefully be able to read it sometime soon! Will it be published as an eBook, too? My wife and I became Kindle junkies about a year ago, which helps a lot with shelf-space since one of our hobbies is buying and reading books.

    Some more info regarding the Hanaro Markt, which I visited 4 or 5 times in the last 2 months:
    It is really huge (about 700 m²). So they offer a great variety of product which I have rarely seen in any Asian shop before. They for instance have around 30 different kinds of frozen Mandu and dumplings; not counting Chinese Dim Sum. And they just recently opened a “Frischetheke” (fresh food shop counter?) with fresh food and nice quality fresh fish for sushi.
    One more thing regarding your book: Have you ever heard of the book “Kimchi – Geschmack und Migration: Zur Nahrungskultur von Koreanern in Deutschland” by Gin-Young Song? You can get it at Amazon or read through a couple of free pages at Google books (put the title in Google and the Google books hit should be about the third hit you get). It could be interesting for you as a Korean expat AND as the author of the book you are writing. The chapter “Die Versorgungsmöglichkeiten im Wandel der Zeit” (starting on page 43, it is included in the Google books preview) could really be of interest. Maybe it is worth contacting her. She seems to have left Tübingen and works for the Universität Zürich now.
    Best wishes, Marco

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    • Dear Marco,

      I think that you do get what you pay for with the Cuckoo Rice Cooker. It’s pricey, but the capacity and convenience are much greater than no rice cooker or the basic on/off model. It sounds like you are getting your money’s worth!

      Whenever you do try to make kimchi, you might want to start with a smaller batch. I’ve made the mistake a number of times to start with a big batch of not so nice kimchi. The key to success is really the salt. I need to explore which salt in Germany is best, but the bottom line is using enough salt. I found that it’s better to put too much salt and then rinse if iyou find that it’s too salty later. Usually I don’t need to rinse at all though and the saltier it is, the better it will keep – basic principles of pickling!

      Your Indian dishes sound divine though. I brought a few Spices of India packets from the States that were convenient and good. Recently, I’ve been exploring Persian food.

      To answer your question — our book will be an ebook as well as a traditional one! This project has been in the works for a while, so we are excited to be nearing the finish line. Thanks also for the migration book recommendation. I remember coming across it when doing my own research. I’ve written a few posts for the German Way (which will be in the book) on Korean guest workers. Here’s one on a photo exhibit marking their 50th anniversary in Germany:
      http://www.german-way.com/50-years-of-the-korean-diaspora-in-germany/
      And another sharing my early thoughts on integration in Germany.
      http://www.german-way.com/whats-in-a-name/

      Thanks again for that info on Hanaro. I am really excited to check it out. I just looked it up on the internet, and I recall shopping at the old location!

      Best wishes,
      Jane

      Like

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