One of the best parts of the NSLI-Y Korean Summer Program (I sure say this a lot XD) is culture clubs. Culture clubs are figured out during the in-country orientation. There are a wide variety of culture clubs to choose from: Cooking Club, Traditional Music Club, Traditional Fan Dancing, and Taekwondo. The spots in the cooking club are limited because the food costs are generally more expensive than the costs of the other clubs. During my program, we decided what culture clubs we would be in by writing down our top two picks on a small piece of paper. Our resident director counted to 3, and afterward, we all ran up and basically tackled him on the stage as we gave him all our slips of paper. Later during the evening, we were told what clubs we would be in.
Culture clubs are a great way for NSLIYians to be more hands on with the Korean Culture. By taking part in a culture’s traditional music, food, dancing, or martial art, NSLIY students are able to understand more about the Korean society besides the language. These culture clubs provide context behind the food that is eaten every day, Korea’s history, music, etc.
Now onto the main point of this blog post, Korean Cooking Club! Culture clubs are on Fridays for around 2 hours. Cooking club takes place at the Food & Culture Academy (푸드앤컬쳐 아카데미) which is a very famous tourist attraction. Also, many celebrities have been there. They have a whole wall dedicated to pictures of the head chef with K-pop idols, actors, comedians, and even the former Korean president 박근혜. At the cooking club, we usually learned a little bit about Korean food culture/manners and then the food we would be making before actually getting in the kitchen. In the kitchen, we each had our own personal set up: Portable Mini Stove (I am not sure what the official name of it would be) and all the ingredients that would be needed for each recipe. The cooking club also included a built-in language lesson as the head chef would always teach us the names of every ingredient we used (as well as the meaning behind the names of many of the meals). It was hard to pay attention to the language acquisition part of the class because of FOOD, but we all successfully learned the word for mushroom (amongst others) by the end of the program. (Mushroom seemed to be the word that everyone would forget by the start of every class. For anyone wondering, 버섯 is the Korean word for mushroom.)
Korean class had a lot of fun memories such as the time I waited, patiently, for my seafood & green onion pancake (해물파전) to cook while it looked like everyone and their mother was already plating their food. Turned out, my stove was out of fuel the entire time. We also had contests to see who could flip food the highest with the frying pan and have the most (successful) flips in a succession. There was also a lot of sassy remarks by both cooking club members and JT (our resident director).
We made a TON of food: 해물파전 (seafood & green onion pancake), 비빔밥 (mixed rice with vegetables & meat), 불고기 (grilled beef), 김치/김치전 (kimchi & kimchi pancake), and 잡채 (sweet potato noodles).
After we all got to be chefs and cook some Korean food, we always got to eat our food. The head chef’s mom would come around our table before we would start eating and pick one dish from a boy and a girl that she thought looked the best. Let us just say that I never won anything! XD Most of us would not eat lunch before coming, so the food was usually devoured in minutes! At the end of each club meeting, one member volunteered to write a reflection on the meal that was made that day. Therefore, we had a total of 5 reflections by the end of the program. (I wrote the one for the 불고기 class!)
Here are some pictures!
At the end of the program, we were given recipes for everything that we made during the duration of the classes. We also received certificates of completion and a measuring spoon that we actually used when cooking at the academy.
And that is all I have to say regarding 요리동아리! I hope this blog post was informational and maybe encouraged some future NSLIYians to want to partake in Korean cooking club. I will be posting future blog posts about the other three culture clubs. Obviously, I did not participate in them, but I will have other alumni from my program write up posts about their experiences with the clubs. Stay tuned for those! 안녕 친구들!~
- 엠마 (Emma)