My mom was never a good cook.* As a kid, I remember lots of microwave dinners, fast food visits, and white rice with raw veggies and unseasoned beef. I joke that if she had been a better cook, I probably wouldn’t have been vegan for five years.
It took me living in Korea for a year to give up my vegan diet and truly appreciate Korean food and food in general. I love how it brings people together and how integral it is to a person’s culture and identity. In Korea, I watched my aunt cook and helped when I could. I started to learn the different ingredients along with the timing and love that went into each dish. I started to get a sense of what flavors worked by eating. A lot. I came back to the States a carnivore and a kilo or two heavier and I don’t regret it at all. Because that’s when my love of cooking really began. Plus, R says he wouldn’t date me if I was vegan, so there’s that. What can I say? Our love is strong.
In LA, I’m lucky to have big Korean supermarkets conveniently located to both home and work. Last week, I picked up some kalbi or Korean short ribs. LA kalbi is different from traditional kalbi because it’s cut across the bone. According to Maanchi, this type of kalbi wasn’t/isn’t common in Korea. I love her blog, by the way. It’s often where I start when I’m cooking Korean food. Although, she never takes any shortcuts, which is awesome for knowing how you’re supposed to do it, but I usually adapt because I don’t have ingredients or the time. Anyway, Maanchi says there are two theories on where the name “LA kalbi” came from:
Theory #1: LA galbi** is cut laterally, so the name comes from the first 2 letters of the word “lateral.”
Theory #2: Korean immigrants living in Los Angeles, CA innovated this cut.
Either way it’s delicious and just requires time to let the marinade do its thing.
Gochukaru (red pepper powder), honey, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame seeds
Not pictured: brown sugar, white sugar, sparkling water, lemon, lime, Asian pear, green onions, onions, garlic, ginger