Saturday, April 23, 2011

Aeri's Kitchen vs Maangchi

I started cooking Korean food about four years ago. At that time, I had no idea what I was doing, even though I live with my MIL who is a Korean cook. My MIL cooks by taste, meaning she never uses measurements for anything. I found it really hard to learn from her and the fact that I could barely speak Korean didn't help so I turned to the Net.

The first website I found was Maangchi. It seemed amazing and had so many followers. The first recipe I tried - Panfried Tofu with Spicy Sauce - turned out great and I still use it today. I was excited to start cooking Korean food so I tried other Maangchi recipes but none of them tasted right. When I served my MIL Spicy Beef and Vegetable Soup she spit it out saying it was 맞없어 (not delicious!). She had to add various ingredients to make it taste right and since then pretty much every recipe I've tried from the Maangchi website just doesn't taste right.

I wonder then why there are so many followers on Maangchi's site? Maybe they just have no idea what Korean food should taste like.

On the other hand, Aeri's Kitchen is excellent. Most of the recipes on the site turn out pretty good. The first time I made Korean Curry Rice, my husband's eyes widened in amazement, he couldn't believe my cooking could taste so good^^ . I use certain Aeri recipes all the time such as the Seaweed Soup, Spinach Bean Paste Soup, Tuna Kimchi Jiggae, Clay Pot Bulgolgi and Tuna Pancake.

9 comments:

  1. OMG I couldn't agree more! Every time I've followed a Maangchi recipe I've been disppointed. Thanks for the tip about Aeri's Kitchen...I'll have to go check it out^^

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  2. Did you check it out? Find anything you like? Do you know of any other good Korean food websites? I have not found any so far. I'm planning on trying to learn a lot more from my MIL.

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  3. I had the exact same experience as you. I wanted to learn how to cook Korean food and stumbled on Maangchi's website, first. I've tried 3 recipes from there and none of them turned out very tasty. They were very unbalanced in flavor.
    I found Aeri's website later and every recipe I've tried has turned out very good and taste 100 times better. I think her measurements are more accurate and her general process how makes the food makes all the difference.
    I think Maangchi is better for people who do not actually cook the food and want eye candy, but for people like us who do want to cook Aeri's recipes are much better :)

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  4. Vliet, Glad you agree. The thing that irks me is that Maangchi is now famous and goes around the world "teaching" people how to cook Korean food. It's just wrong! Her recipes are horrible. But she did bring recognition to Korean food, I give her that.

    I wish there were more Korean food blogs/sites. My Korean is getting better so I'd like to use Naver more. If you come across any good Korean food blogs, ect. let me know:)

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  5. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for a recipe for hoddeok. I tried Aeri's recipes many times and I love them! I prefer her recipes than Maangchi, but Maangchi is so lively and fun to watch!!



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  6. My long reply somehow couldn't be sent. In short I'm a cooking enthusiast with a Korean wife and definitely prefer maangchi over aeris both of which are my primary sources of korean recipes. MIL is a traditionalist who makes her own gochujang, dwenjang, and even she thumbs up my maangchi interpretations much more. I've done side by side comparisons in the past and Maangchis dishes get much better feed back. Main thing is that I follow maanchis recipe for her techniques and material usage. I mixe my own seasonin measurements by taste. Asian cuisine, esp. Korean really requires the chef to sample cook and know the taste pref of his/her target. My MIL often individually seasons her cooking based on each person she serves! Uses plenty of pots!

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  7. hmm, i think it depends on the preferences. for me, Maangchi is really good, i've tried a lot of her recipes, and it turned out really good, even my boyfriend who doesn't like Asian food love it so much :) hehehe :)

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  8. Hi, I found that it also depends a lot on where in Korea your family originated. My dad was raised in Seoul but his mother is from choongchundo and the seasonings/ marinates taste really different than how my mom, who is solely from Seoul, cooks. I like both sites and get different responses from different people!

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  9. I've tried many of maangchi's recipes. They all turn out great and taste good to the point where it reminds me of my mothers cooking. I am korean myself and growing up i watched and helped my mother cook. I'm wondering if its because maybe since you did not grow up with the culture and the tastes it may be hard for you to discern what is correct and incorrect in terms of what korean food should taste like. Its one thing to live in korea or have access to korean food and enjoy it, but it does not necessarily mean that you know what korean food should taste like..and i agree it does differ what region that person in korea might have come from.

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