kochen in kopenhagen

return of the vikings?

I just spent a long weekend in Copenhagen and decided to take the opportunity to try out social experiment number 2.

Random cooking of Korean deliciousness in a stranger’s apartment.

I was going to Copenhagen to partake in a friend’s wedding festivities, and since Copenhagen is notoriously expensive, decided to couchsurf.  For those unfamiliar with couchsurfing, it’s an amazing way to keep traveling affordable, as well as a great way to meet interesting new people.  Anyone willing to let a stranger stay with them is crazy in a way I can relate to!  (www.couchsurfing.com)

I threw out a few feelers for surfable couches and was…rejected!  What can I say, sometimes even a fräulein gets turned down, but soon enough,  I was “accepted” by a few friendly couches and had a secured place to stay in a very nice apartment in the Vestebro (*side note- let me just say Danish people have good taste!)

So normally, as a thank you gesture for the kind souls who take me into their homes, I’ve been known to cook a meal or two…this time I decided to take it a step further.  I invited myself into the home of a random couchsurfer who had to “reject” my request due to coinciding travel dates.  He seemed genuinely bummed to miss out on a chance for Korean essen, as evident by his email:

“I have a recurrent dream: I’m in a big city, and all of a sudden I remember this wonderful neighbourhood where they have Korean food and I will go looking for it. I have dreamt that at least 10 times.”

so I decided, what the hell…I was staying an extra night in Copenhagen, have chili, will travel. The poor boy was clearly going through kimchi withdrawal, so I offered to come over and show him some basics of Korean food.  I brought along my very hospitable couchsurfing host and momentarily invaded the home of a Danish filmmaker and his Norwegian girlfriend with my dried seaweed, kochugaru, sesame seeds and dried anchovies.  The kitchen was “cosy” so it turned out to be a little too small for a real teaching session, but I put my new Danish friends to work chopping onions and peeling garlic.  An hour later we sat down to dinner. Guten appetit!

fishheads, fishheads, eat 'em up, yum!

On the Menu was:

Bulgogi with shitake mushrooms

Miyook-guk – a seaweed soup

Oi-moochim- spicy cucumber salad

Seaweed salad

Myulchibokkeum- dried anchovies (usually my American friends recoil in horror at these tiny fried bits of strange crunchy fishy sweetness, but a country that eats pickled herring apparently also liked dried fishiness ; )

Saenggang Cha- ginger cinnamon tea with pine nuts

It ended up being a great evening with good food and camaraderie.  I introduced the leckericiousness of Korean food to 3 kimchi virgins and was reminded of why it is the fräulein loves the kitchen.  The nicest compliment I think I’ve ever been given about my cooking was when at the end of the evening I was told- “you are making the world a better place.”….did I mention again that I like the Danish?

the table is set

and of course my trip wouldn’t have been complete without trying the smørrebrød.  My friend Idil took me to a cool cafe where they served up some slamming versions of smørrebrød…tee hee, somehow that word just really makes me giggle.  I went for the typisch Dansk- potato version of their daily smørrebrød.  delish.

kartoffelnsmørrebrød- don't even think about it if you're on a low carb diet!

kimchi für das Volk!

So last Sunday, I decided to don my dirndl in search of a social experiment.

Just how far can a Fräulein go with a winning smile and bowl of fresh kimchi?

Apparently pretty far.  Being a Sunday in Germany, I couldn’t pop over to a shop in search of daikon-rettich or chinakohl, but I did have a freshly purchased, 100% organic kohlrabi.  What the heck, kohl is kohl, and this Fräulein is all about the fusion.  So I chopped and mixed my way to a bowl of instant kimchi and fed the masses.

The recipe for my deutsche Kohlrabi-Kimchi  was simple:

Peel and slice a kohlrabi into thin slices and then quarter. In a bowl mix together 1-2 TBS Korean Chili Powder (now you should know how I feel about bad chili powder…for heaven’s sake whatever you do don’t buy a Korean chili powder that’s been made in China! And yes…it is worth it to shell out for the more expensive stuff.  Look for the label that’s the Korean equivalent for “organic” co-op farming), 2-3 TBS rice vinegar, a dash of fish and soy sauce, 1-2 tsp sugar.  Mix together madly, add a few toasted sesame seeds and minced green onion, and voila…instant “kimchi.” (this isn’t the kind that ferments so eat up while its fresh)

My friend Max joined me on this venture to document the experiment, and here are some of the results.  If anyone wants to be my photo/videographer to hit up yet another one of Berlin’s finest Flohmarkts…drop me an email.

kimchi on the run

you'll like it, promise

sehr scharf!

schmeckt das?


the lovely stand where i bought my kohlrabi

you know you want it!

the amused bystander

she looked skeptical but she liked it anyway

now everybody wants the kimchi

"that would taste good with beer!"

open wiiiiiiiide!