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Experience this Korean culinary adventure & excite your senses with exotic flavors!

I believe that there is no better way to experience and learn about a country, than through its food. If you are anything like me, I always try to book a cooking class when I visit somewhere new. So let's embark on this Korean culinary adventure together!

K-Idol cooking class - Photo: Koreaboo

I have always been inspired by food from other countries, and since I moved to Korea back in 2020, I have always wanted to learn how to make some of the local dishes. So when I visited Gangneung (Gangwon-do) Korea, I booked an afternoon cooking class, to learn how to cook '"Soft Tofu" which I learnt is a Korean traditional food, and is local to the area. Now, coming from a Western culture, I had experience eating hard tofu before, but I had never cooked it. I wanted to push myself and try something new, as well as to learn about the traditional methods.

Cooking class building Gangneung - Photo: Lewis Hooper.

The cooking school had a large space, which was great as there were around 15 people taking part in the class with me. You know, it's said that a trip to Gangneung is not complete without eating Soondubu (순두부 - soft bean curd or soft tofu) in Chodang! The seawater in Gangneung has a deeper and lighter taste than other regions in Korea, which maximizes the flavor of the soybeans and provides rich minerals.

First, we were shown a demonstration on how to "milk" the soybeans the traditional way, which was on a stone grinder which looked pretty simple, though when it came to my turn it was a lot more difficult to keep the pace.

Milking the Soybeans. Photo: Lewis Hooper.

As you can see in the picture above, the soybeans go inside of the grinder and you then have to rotate the handle for the milk to come out into the bowl. Actually, because the soybeans are very firm, they usually need to soak for around 6-8 hours before starting this process, so the beans were pre-soaked.

Tofu mold - Photo: Lewis Hooper

Once this step was finished it was time to boil the tofu for a short time and then place it into a mold. In Korea, there is not a big difference between soft and hard tofu other than the time it spends in a mold and the simmering time. (For soft tofu, you need to leave it for a short time).

After all of the hard work in the kitchen, it was FINALLY time to enjoy the labors of our efforts and try the tofu itself! I tried a piece of the tofu before it was added to the soup, and I have to say, I could really taste the fresh flavors!

We were then given the option as to which soup, we would like to have our tofu with. For me, I chose the spicy Kimchi soup. The flavor was insanely good!

Soft tofu and Kimchi ramen. Photo: Lewis Hooper

You can book a full-day tour, where you visit a local market and purchase ingredients, or make some other side dishes, or a half-day tour where you simply just do the class.

Regardless of where you travel and how much time you have, I think a great way to learn about a new place and culture is through its food.



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