This year we did something special and hosted an Expat Table Christmas Dinner that brought together people from all over the world.  It was a lovely day filled with stories, food, learning, and love.


AsiO Gusto

This week Asia gets it's very own Slow Food festival and it's right here in South Korea.  AsiO Gusto is a massive undertaking for a continent which is just beginning to enter this global conversation.  Certainly, Asia has been filled with slow foods forever, but they have not minted themselves into the Slow Food movement, which started in Italy, until now.

We first heard about the festival via an online call-for-contestants for a Foreigner Cooking Competition happening during the event.  As big fans of the Slow Food movement in generally, our interest was immediately peaked and when we were ask to participate in the WWOOF  booth we jumped at the chance to get involved.  In addition to working with WWOOF, our Korean Falafel recipe will also be served at a special luncheon on Thursday.  It's going to be great fun.

Even though we aren't sure what to expect from the event, we are very excited to be a part of it.  This is a big moment for South Korea as they move to enter into the global food conversation and bringing a Slow Food festival to Asia is an important step forward.  On a personal level, this event will give us a chance to connect with people passionate about Asian Slow Food, something that can be hard to do from our countryside apartment and limited Korean speaking abilities.

In fact, we are super excited about the fact we will also be attending a Slow Food Iran Taste Workshop and another on local bees.  (Ever since come across Urban Bees Seoul we've been wanting to know more.) You can check all of the Asio Gusto Taste Workshops here.  If you love food, you will find something you like on the list.

In addition to the workshops, the conference seminars look pretty amazing:
(List taken directly from website for your convenience.)
 If it were possible we would go to every single one of these - but alas - we can't be in two places at once.

So, if you are inclined, will be able to find us at the WWOOF booth talking about food sustainability, buying local, and fusion cuisine on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 am - 2 pm.  During that time we will be demonstrating recipes as well.  There might even be samples if you time it just right.


  • Address : San 95, Ipae-dong, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
  • Telephone Number : +82 (0)31-560-1301
  • Homepage :



We have been wondering where to find cheesecloth in South Korea for a while.  We gave up on finding the real thing and started looking for a local solutions, hoping to find one that was readily available, affordable, and easy to work with.  If it had been a snake it would have bit us in the asp.


Hemp Tofu Cloth

As it turns out, South Koreans weave amazing hemp cloth that they use to strain their tofu, and - well - it's everywhere you look.  We picked up ours at the local outdoor market, but it's in nearly every grocery store and kitchen store you come across.  

To top it all off, it's spectacularly effective.  In fact, we ended up with almost no loss during the cheese making process, thus ending up with 1/3 more cheese.  Cheese didn't get caught up in the fabric at all.  Then it easily slid off into it's container. 

Currently we are reeling a little overwhelmed by how much easier it is to work hemp tofu cloth.  It feels like it must have been a dream.  Tomorrow we are just tossing our old, traditional cheesecloth.  This is far superior in every way.  Ug, where has this been all our lives?


Jessie & Ali

From: the USA and Iran Respectively

 Living In: Malaysia

The View From Her Kitchen
The Expat Table: Where do you hang your apron these days? (where are you living)
Jessie: I hang my apron in Bangsar, a funky neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur. 
TET: How did you end up in KL? 
Jessie:Long ago, I was a dirty backpacker and was passing through town en-route to Bali. However, destiny intervened. I ended up at a reggae bar in Chinatown, the night before my flight, and met my future husband, Ali.
TET: What inspires you to get in the kitchen?
Jessie:I like to create things, randomly. When I’m in the kitchen, I see what ingredients I have and depending on how I feel, I just make. 
A little magic in the kitchen.
TET: What does your kitchen look like? 
Jessie:  Well, we just moved into a funky studio. All the kitchen facilities are along one wall. Starting from the right, we have a hobbit refrigerator (Not a mini fridge but not a real fridge either), then a red and pink counter that takes up the rest of the wall. Underneath is storage, on top we have our coffee maker, some food, sink, stove top and the most important thing in our house, our shisha. We’re about to paint and are stuck on choosing blue or yellow. We also have a lot of food photos from markets around Southeast Asia. It’s sort of our thing.

TET: Do you make a lot of things from scratch? 
Jessie:  We do make excellent homemade yogurt and we cook home cooked meals but as for making cheese or dough, we don’t do it so much. 
TET: How has doing this changed your life? 
Jessie:  We make things from scratch because it’s something that we can do together. After a long day, it just feels good to listen to music, drink a glass of wine, and cook with my lover man. Also, I really hate buying prepackaged things, like yogurt. It’s wasteful and Malaysia isn’t huge on recycling yet. 
TET: When you are missing home, what do you cook? 
Jessie:  Tacos or Tex-Mex ( an awesome dip my mom makes). My mom makes the best of both and when I’m really missing her and days at home, I make ‘em. 
TET: What is the one ingredient you can’t live with out? 
Jessie:  It’s a tie between tomatoes and lemons. 
TET: How has KL affected your cooking? 
Jessie:  KL is a paradise for foodies. Food, GOOD food, of all kinds is readily available at all times. Dah makan is a common saying for, "Have you eaten?" And that just what we do here. During any given week, at some point, we’ll go to mamak (local eatery) for tea and tosai or roti, and usually at midnight. So, when we do cook at home, we make sure to eat fresh, raw, or wholesome. 
TET: Before you lived elsewhere in Southeast Asia.  How did living in Thailand/Malaysia affect your cooking? 
Jessie:  I never cooked in Thailand because food was cheap everywhere. Even fresh foods, not so much of that in KL.  I started to cook more in KL because Ali loves to cook and pretty much taught me what I know. 
TET: What do you do when you aren't in the kitchen? 
Jessie:  Most of the time, I write. I’m a freelance writer but I haven’t figured out how to survive completely on that. So, I also teach part time. When I’m not working, I’m crafting, going for walks, or traveling. 
TET: What do you want to make next?

Jessie:  Cheese!  A tradition Iranian breakfast is bread, cheese and walnuts. We eat this a lot. Sometimes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’d be nice to make our own. 

TET: How has being married to your wonderful husband inspired you?

Jessie:  Honestly, he’s really the one that inspired me to get crafty in the kitchen. Before I met him I used to never cook. Only breakfast sometimes. But he showed me the light : ) and how amazing Iranian food is. 

TET: How is cooking related to homesickness? 
Everything is related! Sometimes, we’ll be cooking an Iranian dish and Ali will say, “Oh, in Iran the vegetables and spices are brighter and taste better than here…” and it just goes down that homesick path. 
The View From His Kitchen
TET: You moved from Iran, to Malaysia and are married to an American. How has this affected your cooking, your ideas about food.

Ali:  Well, I tried more western style food, like yogurt in the morning. That’s just weird. We eat yogurt as a side dish with lunch and dinner. 
TET: How is cooking related to homesickness?
Ali:  Well, you remember those days when you sit at home and your mom cooks Persian food for you. Food reminds me of Iran and makes me homesick. 
TET: Where do you hang your apron these days? (where are you living)
Ali:  Kuala Lumpur. Bangsar. 
TET: How did you end up in KL?
Ali:  To study. 
TET: What inspires you to get in the kitchen?
Ali:  Well, sometimes I’m tired of eating Malaysian and Indian food and I want to eat something good, like kebob. 
TET: What does your kitchen look like?
Ali:  It looks like shit right now. 
TET: Do you make a lot of things from scratch? 
Ali:  Not as much as I’d like, but I want to do it more often. 
TET: When you are missing home, what do you cook?
Ali:  When I miss home, I don’t cook. I go to a Persian restaurant.
TET: What is the one ingredient you can’t live with out?
Ali:  Spice. Black pepper and the yellow thing. Saffron
TET: How has KL affected your cooking?
Ali:  Well, I wasn’t used to eating spicy food but in KL, you have to eat spicy food. If you don’t get into it, you have to be hungry most of the time. 
TET: How did living in Iran affect your cooking?
Ali:  Well, in Iran because the ingredients are better and cheap, I can make better food. In Iran most people cook at home for all meals, its not common to eat out,  but here everyone eats out. 
TET: What do you do when you aren't in the kitchen?
Ali:  I play chess. 
TET: What do you want to make next?
Ali:  Actually, it’s a long time we haven’t made chicken rice and home and we make good chicken rice. 
TET: How has being married to your wonderful wife inspired you?

Ali:  It’s the best thing that could happen in my motherfucking life. I show more effort and now I know what I want to do in my life and planning for future is easier, its given me direction in my life. 

Originally from the Northwest United States, Jessie is a freelance writer currently based in Southeast Asia.  You can follow her work on The DFR and at Travel This.  You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter



You might not know this, but Korea grows amazing figs.  Like super awesome extra delicious figs.  They are grown in Mokpo and every summer we love to head south to purchase some of these delicious delights.  It's not like they are a secret, Zen Kimchi and others have blogged about them, but it still feels life folks don't give them enough attention.  However, we feel Sir-Mix-A-Lot described them best when he sang:

I like big figs and I cannot lie, 
you other brothers can't deny, 
that when a vender flies past 
with an itty-bitty case 
and a round fig in your face you get some.  

Wanna pull up quick 
'cause you noticed that case was stuffed
deep in the back country garden
I'm hooked and I can't stop starin'.

Oh, baby, I wann get wit'cha
and take yo, picture
the expats tried to warn me
but that big fig you got makes m-m-me so hungry. 

Breakfast Figs v.1:

Toasted brioche topped with baked figs, butter, and red ginseng with honey.

Breakfast Figs v.2


Red Ginseng with Honey

Recently we bought this on a whim.  It was surprisingly affordable and a pretty color which are two of the most important reasons to try a new food.  Plus, red ginseng tastes like dirt which seemed like an interesting flavor profile to mix with honey.

If you aren't familiar with eating red ginseng, our friend Norma Jean described it best as an angry carrot.  Its taste is unbelievably earthy and leaves you with impression you've been tricked into eating/drinking a mud pie that will somehow cure all your diseases.  Who knows if red ginseng is actually as helpful as they say, but it sure tastes like it.

That said, we kind of like things that taste a little bit like medicine and dirt. Kind of reminds us of the grit in our teeth after a gnarly day of motorcycles and mud. And, as it turns out, when you mix it with honey it's like kissing your hot boyfriend/girlfriend after said ride through the mud.

That's right folks, Red Ginseng with Honey tastes like dirt and kisses and we love it. 

Now, you can be a wussy pants and just put it on your toast, but we recommend a walk on the wild side.  We added it to our Raspberry, Blueberry Smoothies and it knocked our socks off by adding a sort of "garden fresh" flavor.  

Of course, don't go to crazy with it or it will taste like you are just licking the berries of the ground in your garden.  I mean, we did mention it tastes a bit like dirt.  Even delicious, tasty dirt has its limitations. 

This isn't everyone's cup-of-honey, but we love what we tasted and we will keep this in the pantry from now on.  


Norma Jean

From the USA to Indonesia with love.

THE EXPAT TABLE: Where do you hang your apron these days?
NORMA JEAN: Ubud, Bali
THE EXPAT TABLE: How did you end up in Bali?
NJ: I came on a vacation and met some friends who loved the songs I wrote and encouraged me to write an album!
THE EXPAT TABLE: What inspired you to get in the kitchen?
NJ: Most people in Ubud are transient and quite a few are on a "vacation high." There's great restaurants here - like WORLD CLASS great - but after awhile you need the space to nourish yourself to feel at home. Also, I started the Anti-Candida Diet, cutting out all sugar, fruit, bread, anything with yeast, and alcohol, so making my own food has become the easiest way to make sure my body's getting what it needs (and what it doesn't!)
THE EXPAT TABLE: What does your kitchen look like?
NJ: Ovens are like unicorns here, so I'm operating on a pretty basic scale. Sink, 2 gas burners, a lot of counter space. I bought a blender which has made my life infinitely easier. Also, my kitchen is outside and overlooks my lotus pond... one of those beautiful Bali things.

THE EXPAT TABLE: Do you make a lot of things from scratch?
NJ: Yes. I find that making things from scratch brings more gratitude and enjoyment to the finished product.
THE EXPAT TABLE: How has doing this changed your life?
NJ: I'm more process oriented, and less results oriented. I guess you could say I'm more present about what I'm doing.
THE EXPAT TABLE: When you are missing home, what do you cook?
NJ: When I'm missing home, it's less about the recipe and more about the ingredients! I used to go straight for the cheese, now it's either avocados or almonds (I AM a California girl!) Also chicken soup is pretty reminiscent of home. I'm of the school of thought that says "Soup makes most things better."
THE EXPAT TABLE: What is the one ingredient you can't live with out?
NJ: Olive Oil. I know it's not local like coconut oil (which is so rich I use it in my hair more than my cooking) but sometimes you have to shell out for what's really important.
THE EXPAT TABLE: What is your favorite new ingredient from Bali?
NJ: Bali is an amazing place and there's a plethora of great, locally grown commodities.
A LOT of chocolate is grown here, and I started making my own chocolates with stevia (instead of sugar) that use local cocoa powder and cocoa butter! Even my friends who eat sugar are having me make them en mass!
I also like a lot of the local tea - Rosella is my favorite!

THE EXPAT TABLE: How has Bali affected your cooking?
NJ: Things are slower and less processed here. It forces you to insert yourself into the process to get the results you want.
THE EXPAT TABLE: How did living in Korea affect your cooking?
NJ: In California, everything is available year-round. It may be more expensive at certain times, but there's a general accessibility that anything can be had at anytime.
Living in Korea was not only the first time I lived anywhere with real seasons (or snow) but where there was a limited time-frame for certain foods, making things like eating locally and seasonally all that more conscious.
THE EXPAT TABLE: What do you do when you aren't in the kitchen?
NJ: I sing! I just finished my first album (it's on iTunes!)
Ubud is also a phenomenal place to live, there's so much to do, see, experience... There's great live music here every night of the week, so I go dancing a lot, practice yoga, and work for a magazine.

THE EXPAT TABLE:  What do you want to make next?
NJ: I've been on a Mediterranean kick recently, making hummus at least 2 times a week (I like to garnish it with sunflower seeds that I've freshly roasted in the pan with olive oil and a bit of salt.)
I think the next logical step is Baba Ganoush!

Norma Jean is a singer and Expat living in Ubed, Bali.  She just released her debut album The Devilicious Sessions.  You can find it on iTunes and playing around Bali.


Goat Milk

Yah, yah, yah.  This is going a bit far right?  Do we really need to be hunting down free range, green goats milk on the outskirts of Seoul?  The answer for us is, "Hell, YES!!" because there are all sorts of reasons to use goats milk instead of cows milk

When we decided to make this change after seeing goats all over Korea, we had a little trouble finding it because we didn't know who to ask or where to get started.  However, once we did a little research we found that goats milk is all over.  For example, it is sold at many Homeplus and E-mart stores across the country.

It's also readily available at icoop stores (an organic food coop).  This is their website  We have one in Pyeongtaek and it makes the best organic pizza.

However, we are always trying to go straight to the source, so recently through a friend, we found a "Green Goat" farm about 30 minutes away from us in Pyeongtaek.  We LOVE this goats milk.  No strong flavor, very rich texture, and it makes the PERFECT cheese.  A much better quality than the cheese made with the goat milk from E-mart.  Although, we are still happy to use the store brand when we are feeling lazy.

Here is the contact information for the goat farm:
Hand Phone: 010-9853-5869
Office: 031-352-1100
Address: 평택시 청북면 고렴리 1061 번지

As an added bonus for visiting the farm, you get to go hang out with the goats.



We had so much success with our Chèvre / Soy Cheese recipe that we thought we would kick it up a notch.  Inspired by a recommendation from Travel This we decided on Feta so that we can try more Iranian dishes, especially some of their great breakfast ideas.   We googled, checked out a few recipes and made our cheese plan. 


As you may, or may not know.  Feta is traditionally supposed to be made from sheep or goats milk so it fits into our dietary restrictions so that worked out great for us.  Of course, Feta is a lot more complicated than chèvre so we wanted a better quality milk so we started looking around for a better source including the local organic grocery.  However, serendipity stepped in and solved this problem for us.  

A local foodie/friend texted mid-week and asked to come over to learn how to learn how to make cheese, of course we jumped on it and said, "OF COURSE!!"  Then she mentioned it to a mutual friend who said she'd taken her son on a field trip to a local "green" goat farm and they sold goat milk.  Hurray!!  We will post a blog about said goat farm next week, for now we are focusing on the cheese.

Of course, feta is much more complicated and part of the complication is the fact that almost all the recipes tell you to put in "cheese culture".  Well, we aren't about to find greek cheese cultures floating around rural Korea so that was just not going to happen.  After sorting through lots of recipes we decided it could be done without the culture.

Another thing we chose to ignore was all kinds of talk about cheese salt, this salt, and that salt.  Screw it, we live in South Korea and we just use this the wicked delicious local sea salt from the local market that costs a dollar.  That's what's available so that's what we use.  


Mostly we followed this video on YouTube.
We recommend you do too,
but we also made some changes.
After the video, you can read what we did.


3 liters of goat milk
1/2 teaspoon rennet 
1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride 
6 tablespoons water

Create a double boiler using two kitchen pots and add three liters of milk.  Heat it slowly to 30 celsius.   This will happen pretty quickly so stay with it.

Cooking Note: If it gets to hot DON'T PANIC if it hasn't curdled just let it cook down by putting the pot in some cool water.  You haven't ruined it.  Just stay calm and cook it down.

While this is heating, dissolve rennet in 3 tablespoons of water and the calcium chloride in another 3 tablespoons of water.

Add the calcium chloride and stir.  Then let it sit for 1 minute.
Add the rennet and stir into the pot. Then let it sit for 1 hour.

After that cut the curd into squares with a knife and stir.  Then let it sit for another 20 minutes.

Now your curd will have a nice elastic texture that makes you wish you were making mozzarella.

Pour it out into your cheesecloth lined strainer.  During this step, if you drain the whey back into a pot, you can go ahead and make some Ricotta using this recipe:

Tie up your cheese clothe nice and pretty.

Now, put something on top to squish it down for a few hours.  Turn it regularly.

While it's pressing you can make the brine.  Follow the directions in the video.  It works just fine.  When it's finished draining it looks like this.

And once you put it into the brine it will look like this.


K-Country BBQ

Since half of this cooking team is a born-n-raised Southern boy, it was only a matter of time before this blog went K-country (Our name for Korean Southern fusion food).  The first item on our K-country menu is actually a two-fer:  Marinated Pork Ribs and Baked Beans.  They are so amazingly delicious you will want to put on some cowboy boots and drink some beer.


Here is the biggest issue with Southern BBQ in Korea - Molasses.  It's a bitch to find... or so we thought.   In actuality, Korea exports over 66,000 tones of molasses every year.  They call it 당밀 and you can order it on G Market for cheap.  Just do a search for 당밀 and have a co-worker help you order.  You'll be glad you did.  Now, onto the magic


1.5 small onions
2 tablespoons ginger (powder or fresh)
6 garlic cloves
2 fresh lemons
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 rack fresh and separated pork ribs.

Cooking Note: We used a small, half rack of pork ribs but it would also be good with other kinds of pork or chicken.  Please note, this marinade is very light and designed to highlight the flavor of the meat and not over power it.  You want fresh meat for the best result.  We use a local butcher to ensure quality.

First, add all the ingredients together in a mixer, food processor, blender, whatever.  Blend it all together and poor over your meat in a small container.  Add additional water to allow the marinade to cover the ribs and put in the fridge over night.

When you are ready to make dinner/lunch, take out the ribs and put them into tinfoil packets.  4-5 ribs a packet works nicely.  Put these on the grill to cook.  This will help keep them juicy.  Once they are cooked, you can quickly brown them on the open flame.

We work late so the magic happens in the dark.
Leftover marinade from meat
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cans beans
(we used kidney beans)

While you're beans are grilling, take the left over marinade and put it into a small-medium pot.  Add two cans of beans, molasses and brown sugar.  Let these simmer on low heat while the ribs are cooking, stirring every once in a while to keep them from burning and make sure they cook evenly.

Serving Note: This is delicious to also eat with rice, wrapped in lettuce leaves Korean style.  We use the lettuce from our roof garden. 

This recipe takes a bit of prep time, but then its very easy to make dinner.  Great for when you want something really delicious but you work late.  All the heavy lifting is done the day before, and come dinner time you just cook it and enjoy.