The Best Korean Recipe My Grandma Taught Me

January 19, 2017

I was born and raised in America by Korean immigrant parents and my grandmother, who cooked Korean cuisine everyday. While my parents worked hard at their convenience store, my grandmother endlessly cooked an abundance of food to greet my parents in the evening. All day, I would watch my grandmother prepare these delicious meals (and I'd sample them, too!). I didn't speak Korean very well, and didn't know much about Korea unless it was about Korean food.

The first time I set my feet on Korean soil was in the summer of 1989, when I was eight years old. We arrived in my family's hometown of Gwangju, located in Jeolla province. It was the first time I met my uncles, aunts, and cousins. It was a bit intimidating since I didn't speak Korean very well, but the food, which tasted just like my grandmother's, helped comfort me as I met relatives, who were like strangers to me, for the first time. This was also when I realized what the famous Jeolla province was known for: traditional Korean cuisine.

I continued traveling to Korea numerous times in my late teens and early twenties because of my love for Korean cuisine and interest in learning more about my heritage. My grandmother's delicious Korean meals helped ignite a curiosity in me and as a result, led me to study abroad in Korea and to minor in Korean language during college. Even though my grandmother is no longer here with us, we are able to remember her whenever I make a Korean dish.

Shop the Story

This Korean barbecue (a.k.a. galbi) is the recipe I'm most proud of because it is a great tribute to her. My grandmother taught me how to cook the most delicious Korean recipes, but this one is at the top of the list. Galbi was one of my favorite Korean dishes to eat as a child and I still love it to this day. Now I have a two-year-old son who also loves galbi and can't stop eating it. This family recipe is something I can pass down to him to help him learn about his heritage, too.

What's the recipe you're most likely to pass down to your children and grandchildren? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Eun Jung Han
    Eun Jung Han
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
Sarah D

Written by: Sarah D


Eun J. January 19, 2017
Great food. I love Sarah's Galbi. Thanks for her hospitality to treat me and my son during our stay in LA. We miss the food and care by Sarah and her family.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 19, 2017
Great read and tasty looking recipe I need to make ASAP!