Monday, February 09, 2009

Cooking Classes and what in the heck is White day and Black Day!

Heya, so I work for TBS eFM radio station on the show: Soul of Asia with Sara Kim. Recently we have recieved some foodie related questions so I wanted to share the questions and the responses with you. And if you ever have any questions for living in seoul, or foodie related things just e-mail us at or post a message on our message board. Sara and I will work hard to answer your questions.

Oh, and if you have any special events you would like for us to announce on the radio, just let us know as well.

Writer for Soul of Asia
101.3 eFM
Listen online at

Frank wrote: Are there any cooking courses or academies in Seoul conducted in English?

Why, yes there is.

Now if you are looking to take a cooking class, there are lots of different cooking classes around Seoul. You can take short 1-day classes or you can take a fully accredited course. And since you are in Korea, you should probably learn how to make Korean food. One I found to be very interesting is called “Han Cooking.” You can find them at They have 1 day courses either in the morning or in the afternoon and you can learn how to make kimchi, bulgogi, rice cake, bean sprout soup and other dishes. Again that is at

The Seoul Global Center has cooking classes from time to time. I believe they had one last month to learn how to make rice cake and they had one the month before to make japchae and bulgogi. Frank, you should contact them at or at 02-120 for more information.

If you are really serious you can take intensive courses at the Institute of Traditional Korea Food- go to or you can go to Yejiwon at These accredited courses range from 1 to 3 months. These courses are taught entirely in Korean.

Another question we got was, written by Troll. That’s a very interesting name…Troll. The title is:

Valentine's Day, White Day, Black Day???

And the question:
What are all these different days? Can you explain them?

Troll, I would be happy to explain them:
February 14th is Valentines Day and girls are supposed to give their boyfriends chocolate.

March 14th is White Day and the boys are supposed to give gifts of hard candy to the girls that gave them chocolate the previous month. They are supposed to give three times the amount that they received. So…if a girl gave a boy piece of chocolate on Valentine’s day, then the boy is supposed to give three pieces of hard candy in return.

April 14th is Black Day and it is the day for the lonely and disenchanted. Single people who are did not give or receive chocolates for either day are supposed to sulk around, dress in black, and get together to eat white noodles topped with a black sauce to commiserate their singledom. These famous black noodles are called Ja Ja myeong.

The origin of Korean women giving gifts of chocolate to their boyfriends on Valentine’s Day has its roots in Japan. On February 14th, the girls would give gifts of handmade chocolates, (“giri choko,” which translates to “obligatory chocolate”), to their beloved . On March 14, which has been designated “White Day,” the men are to give their girlfriends “sanbai gneshi” or “triple return” of the chocolates given to them on the previous month.

Unlike the Japanese, Korean men give gifts of hard candy to their girlfriends on March 14th. Hard Candy! How unjust! Hard candy is not a fair exchange for chocolate. I believe this is why April 14th has been dubbed “Black Day” in Korea, because the girls break up with the boys because they recieved hard candy in return for chocolate.

Guys, if you don’t want to wear black and eat jja-ja myeong alone on “Black Day,” I suggest you buy chocolates for your girlfriend. And ladies, do not settle for a “Hershey Kiss” or “ABC Chocolate”- demand the good stuff (because you’re worth it.) Here are some of the best artisan chocolate places that I have found in Seoul.

il Cacao

Choi Young-kyoung’s chocolate cafe in Gangnam has a whimsical edge- evidenced by the cute horse blinds covering her storefront. As soon as you step inside you’ll be wooed by the giant chocolate fountain and various chocolate memorabilia- my favorite being a photo of a man injecting himself with a chocolate bar. Obviously, this is a person that is obsessed with chocolate. Young-kyoung specializes in Italian chocolates and her dark chocolate bars are famed for their high cacao content. Some of her more adventurous truffles waltz with such intriguing ingredients such as orange peel, cognac, and balsamico. But wait, she also offers chocolate classes and there is cute upstairs parlor for sipping on a strong cup of Italian espresso.

Gangnam exit 7 take the first right. Go up the hill towards the Children’s Library.


Remember the scene in the movie “Chocolat” when the cankerous old woman takes a sip of hot chocolate and her whole demeanor and outlook on life changes? If not, you can relive this experience at Cacaoboom by drinking a cup of their “strong” hot chocolate. This velvety cup of zen is an epiphany- it’s like drinking Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” And when that is finished I suggest truffles, truffles, truffles and pralines, pralines, pralines! Cacaoboom approaches chocolates with Belgian expertise and prides itself on using only the finest and freshest ingredients. A box of their pralines can warm the coldest of hearts and it would be wise to keep a box of their fresh truffles on hand- just in case you have a bad day.

Hongdae exit 4- see map on website.

Passion 5

Right next to Hangangin station exit 3 is the headquarters for the Paris Croissant, Paris Baguette empire. The stylish black building has an eye opening chandelier and inside is a cafe, bakery, patisserie, and chocolat store. The products inside Passion 5 seem like to be the harbinger of trends that will come to the Korean confectionary and bakery industry. The chocolates are unique with such exotic ingredients such as rose and earl grey tea. Passion 5’s chocolates are beautiful works of art and should be displayed rather than eaten- but alas, that is the sole purpose of a chocolat’s existence. The flavor of their truffles are complex, rich, and sophisticated- it is like a fine wine. It is very pleasurable to taste an entire box or two or three.

Hangangin station exit 3
Posted by Daniel Gray at 3:48 PM 3 comments
Labels: Food