BEST FOOD PODCAST James Beard Awards, Webby Awards

Cooking In An Immigrant Time Warp With Maangchi

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Feb 17, 2020

Maangchi posted on YouTube for the first time in 2007. It's a shaky, grainy video of her making the Korean dish ojingeo bokkeum, or spicy stir-fried squid. Even though the video quality is lacking, Maangchi expertly slices the squid open and chops vegetables. Now, more than a decade later, Maangchi's videos are sleek, sharp, and professional; she faces the camera with her perfectly coiffed hair, often wearing a fascinator or other fancy hair clip. You might already be one of her 4 million subscribers, but if you're not: she's got hundreds of videos on her channel for you to browse.

You could say that Maangchi has brought Korean food to the English-speaking masses. But because she left South Korea decades ago, her food is in an "immigrant time warp" — frozen in the era when she left, rather than evolving at the same pace as the country's current tastes.

On this week's Sporkful, Maangchi talks with Dan about her unlikely path from a Korean fishing village to YouTube star. She also tells Dan how she got the name Maangchi, and about her take on ram-don, a popular dish that was renamed for the recent Oscar-winning movie, Parasite.

Maangchi's Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine is available now.

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

  • "Party Hop" by Jack Ventimiglia
  • "Minimaliminal" by Black Label Productions
  • "Sidewalk Chalk" by Hayley Briasco
  • "Bourbon Fanfare" by Devon Gray
  • "Happy Jackson" by Ken Brahmstedt
  • "Mellophone" by JT Bates

Photo courtesy of Maangchi.

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