We were raised cooking for large crews of people in small/portable kitchens.  For example, mom baked this birthday cake in the portable oven that sat over a gas range.  (You can see it behind her head on the right.)  This is how we learned to make homemade ovens for gas ranges like THIS ONE we made here in Korea a few Christmas ago when we really wanted cookies.

You will also notice that the table and cooking counter are made from found and reclaimed arctic timbers.  They were raw, rugged and the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.  Kitchens don't have to be fancy and new to be loved and useful.  In this kitchen we cooked three meals a day for up to twenty people.  We baked bread, cakes, pies and anything else we could imagine.  There were never excuses, there was just getting delicious things done.

In addition, all of our water was hauled from a nearby river and boiled for dishes and cooking, we sunk barrels into the ground where we kept items that need refrigerated and the nearest shop was a 500 mile flight away.

With all of these complications, we had to be very creative.  We often ran out of important ingredients before new shipments could arrive.  We had to find ways of making up for their absence in a way no one would notice.  Which is how mom became the master of substitutions.  She taught us how to do the same.  Sometimes we would place all of our ingredients on the counter and brainstorm for ages, trying to imagine the food we had left could still make something.  In the end, it always worked.  We always found a way.

This is the sort of fun we love to have in our adopted international homes and the inspiration behind our fusion recipes.  Our weird childhood was the perfect training for a happy and delicious expat life.


You might find yourself thinking, "I can't cook all this.  My kitchen is just too small."  Well, here is our kitchen.  This is where the magic happens.  Actually, half our kitchen is in the entry way and the other half is on the porch (or rumpus room as we call it).  We squeeze every last bit we can out of our little space and in return it loves us. 

Cooking here is delightfully simple.  We aren't overrun by excess we have what we need and only what we need.  Each item in our kitchen is important and used.  If it ever fades into disuse we pass it on to a new expat that needs it more than us.  It's a magic system that makes us cook even more than we did when we had a giant US kitchen.

Since our pantry is small it holds very few prepackaged foods, instead we keep it filled with the staples needed to make things from scratch.  It's nice to not have the space for crap because it keeps us from buying it.  Notice we can't live without our imported molasses and ketchup :) Everyone has their Achilles heal.

Here are all our cooking utensils.  We love that big red pot for canning and the two cast iron skillets are our pride and joy.  Sometimes we look at it and wonder if there is anything else we need, but this really covers it.

On the porch you will find our little fridge and our pride and joy - the oven. 

So there you have it.  This is the space we have.  These are the supplies we have.  We are very curious what other people have in their kitchens so feel free to send us photos at theexpattable@gmail.com


Korean Salsa

Alright, straight up, I'm in love with Mexico and I feel a little bit like I'm cheating on her by living in Korea.  To make it more complicated.  Mexican food can become a bit, shall we say, misunderstood when it makes the jump across the ocean.  Now, I haven't figured out why this is but I'm determined to set it right without importing everything from home... because that's already been imported from Mexico.  Bad carbon usage, bad.  On the other hand, if it's not "authentic" I'm not eating it.
So, first things first, we've got to master the basics: Salsa


1. Cilantro is limited.
2. Korean's don't always like cilantro.
3. Korean garlic and onions are different from Mexico and need to be "toned down" in order to translate into a successful salsa.


6 - 8 large ripe tomatoes
3 medium onions
6 green onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 table spoon whole coriander seeds
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
4 spicy Korean Peppers
1 tablespoon apple vinager
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon Korean chili powder (optional)
1/4 cup jalapenos (optional)



  • FIRST: Bring a big pot of water to a boil.
  • SECOND: Cut out where the tomato vine attaches and cut an X on the bottom.  Put the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch until the skin starts to come off.  
  • THIRD: Take tomatoes out and peel, putting into a bowl.  I use a spoon and tongs so that I don't burn my self.
  • FOURTH:  Smash/Mash the tomatoes and drain off extra liquid, but not tomato juices until you like the texture.  


  • FIRST: Cut the onion up into small pieces, but not as small as you would do for Pico De Gallo.  
  • SECOND: Lightly saute the onions in oil.  Don't cook through, we are just softening them up a little so that their flavor mellows.  It is better to cook them less than more.
  • THIRD: Add onions to Tomatoes.


  • FIRST: Peel and mince into small pieces.
  • SECOND: In the same pan as the onion, add a table spoon or two of oil to a pan and brown the garlic.  This soften the flavor of Korean garlic so that it enriches the salsa instead of overpowering it.
  • THIRD: Add the garlic to the tomatoes. 


  • FIRST:  Grind coriander the seeds well however you can.  There are many solutions to this.  I have found that people who are unfamiliar with cilantro leaves are often still ok with ground cilantro/coriander seeds.  On the same note, if you love fresh cilantro and can't find it, freshly ground coriander seeds will help fill that void in your life.
  • SECOND: If you find cilantro (it's usually carried in any "world" market).  Chop it up into VERY fine pieces.  The smaller they are the easier it is for folks new to the flavor to enjoy it.  I've had success with very picky local eaters LOVING cilantro as long as I didn't go cray cray with it.
  • THIRD: Add to salsa and mix well.  


  • FIRST: Dice up the green onion and toss it it in.  We like the fresh, light "crunch" of it.
  • SECOND: Add lemon or lime to taste.  (you can get limes grown on Jeju if you are particular like we are :)
  • THIRD: Add sea salt to taste.  (We believe sea salt is a critical part of the flavor, but if you only have basic salt we are sure you will still be happy.)
  • FOURTH: Optional ingredients.  Sometimes we want to take it to the next level and add a bit of Korean chili powder and about 1/4 cup of jalapenos which are imported.

COOKING NOTE:  Cilantro and coriander are the same plant.  The Korean palate understands cilantro/coriander seeds better than cilantro leaves.  I have found that substituting ground coriander.  Also, this salsa can be easily frozen for later. 

TASTING NOTES: This recipe is a little more complex than most we make.  It has been carefully designed to meet the needs of both the Korean palate and the palate of those in love with traditional Mexican food.  We took the time to taste test it with both groups and both were very excited about it.  In fact, the ate the bowl dry.  Those in love with Mexican food called  it, "Spot on".  And Korean's asked, "Do you have special ingredients because this is better than any salsa we have had."  No complaints at all about the coriander/cilantro.  


Ginger & Cinnamon Soy Dutch Babies

Dutch Babies have been one of our all time favorite comfort foods for years.  However, some of us are now very allergic to cows milk so changes had to be made.  Living in Asia inspired us to try something a little different and see if we could bring the Dutch Baby back to life, this time with a more exciting flavor and a new twist.  It totally worked and we are in love all over again.


Since dairy is out for personal and political reasons, we decided to give the handy old soy milk a try.  The first time it was a little flat, but we added baking soda and all was right with the world again.  Of course, we wanted more east with our west so we also added ginger!  The result was a delight that doesn't even need syrup.


2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
The smallest dash of baking soda
2 tablespoons soy spread or regular butter

FIRST:  Preheat the oven to 245 Celsius. 
Put your baking dish in the oven to preheat for 4 minutes. You can use an 8x8 baking pan or a 8" cast iron skillet.

SECOND:  In a bowl mix together the eggs, flour, soy milk, ginger, cinnamon and dash of baking soda.  
Cooking Notes: The baking soda makes up for the milk and allows your Dutch Babies to rise to their full potential.  Don't over do it though, or your babies will crawl out of the pan and attack the oven.
THIRD:  Turn heat down to 220 Celsius.
Add 2 tablespoons soy spread or butter to baking dish and melt in oven.
Once butter is melted, pour your mixture into the hot buttered pan.
Put in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until done.

FINALLY:  Take out and eat with fresh fruit, syrup, jam, ham & cheese, or whatever you have sitting around looking tasty.

(PS We will play with this and see if we can bring you a stove top version.)

I buy mine at the market.  They are super affordable.


 Baba Ghanoush

Roasted eggplant is one of those gifts from God.  When you mix it with Tahini is like you've found love for the first time.  Two things we are rolling in here are sesame seeds and eggplant, so making this dream-in-a-dish was a no-brainer.


1) We don't use Fahrenheit in these here parts.  200 Celsius
2) We only have small Japanese eggplant. 
3) During off season we have to use lemon from a bottle.
4) Not everyone has an oven.


  • 4 large Japanese eggplants
  • 1 cup tahini (or more or less, it's your choice)
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

FIRST: Preparing the eggplant 
Option 1) Stick eggplant with a fork and put it in an over pre-heated to 205celcius for 50 minutes.  Then remove and keep in a plastic bag for 25 minutes and then remove the skin (the bag makes it easy for the skin to come off.) 
Option 2) Stick eggplant with a fork.  Wrap well in tinfoil and grill over an open flame (can be your gas range) until very soft.  Turn regularly to keep it from over cooking.  Then stick in a plastic for 25 minutes and then remove the skin.

My little babies looking good.  I roasted them a bit too long.
 SECOND: Mix It All Together
Add everything together in a bowl and mash the blazes out of it until it's a constancy that you like.  There is no right way other than the way you like it.  Add more or less of everything mentioned until it's just the way you like it.  This is our version.  Make it your own. (Click For A Tahini recipe here)
The magic.
The result was easy to make perfection.  You don't have to live without and you don't have to have it shipped in.

Everything I used was from the local market. 

You can make healthy, delicious, authentic Mediterranean food with local ingredients.  So stop bitch'n and get in the kitch'n. 

Here is the fantastic Dede showing you how it's done. www.dedemed.com


I say falafel, you say felafel. Either way, this originally Egyptian food is delicious.  It also can't be found around South Korea (2013) which is a problem because it's something that has been a big part of our family since welcoming our Egyptian sister-in-law to nearly two decades ago.  It is one of our comfort foods.


 1. Chickpeas can be hard to find
 2. Chickpeas are imported.
3. Parsley isn't always in season.
4. We are addicted to spicy foods now.



  • 1 cup dried soybeans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh local greens (chose something not to bitter and light in flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (we used ground coriander seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin or curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 hot chili (or less depending on your taste)
  • Oil for frying


Place dried soybeans in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow them to soak at least two hours.

Drain soybeans, and place in pot with fresh water, and bring to a boil.

Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer on low for about 45 minutes.

Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl or blender.

Mash soybeans, ensuring to mix ingredients together.  If you don't have a masher use the bottom of a glass jar or a soda bottle that is still full.  You can also combine ingredients in a food processor but it is not required. You want to make a thick past.  We make ours a little "chunky" because we like the heartiness of it.

Using two spoons or your hands make small balls, about the size of a golf ball. Slightly flatten so that they cook more easily.

Fry in oil until golden brown (5-7 minutes).

These are great hot, but they are also excellent cold.


Create Soy Falafel "mini burgers" topping them with baba ganoush, kimchi and Korean Medi Salad.

Or make the traditional appetizer plate with baba ganoush, soybean hummus and a goat yogurt dill dipping sauce.


Think locally, eat globally.  We believe that the world is at our doorstep if only we dare to step outside.

The Expat Table has been influenced by many things and many places.  With over 41 countries and counting, we've tasted and explored until our bellies and eyes were full.  Now we are settled down in South Korea and wish to explore and share what we have learned and tasted.

This May, in partnership with Come Together Korea, we will host the first of three meals which present Korean ingredients and traditional foods melded with global cuisine.  The food will be a delightful blend of what we expect and what we've dreamed of.  Sourcing our ingredients from local vendors, we wish to share the joy of discovering the global potential in our own backyard.

Please note: these events are hosted and presented by people who love food.  We do not own restaurants, stores or sell products.  We are simply a group of food lovers who love to explore and share the world and the cuisine around us.


Hosts: Come Together Korea & The Expat Table

Date: Saturday May 11th @ 6 pm

Where: Seoul (Exact location to be announced)

Guest Country: Spain

Location: To be announced  

Featured Guest: Rowan Chadwick
Read his article DIY Beer: Brewing a Fine Ale at Home

We are excited to announce that we will feature home brewed beer especially created for this event.  In addition, the brewer will be joining us to share his knowledge and stories of beer in Korea.  

Reserve Your Seat: 


All A Chair At The Table meals are priceless, however, contributions based on the ones experience are appreciated.  During each meal a vessel will be placed at the end of the table.  Guests are encouraged to contribute an amount equal to what the meal was worth to them. 

The more guest value the meals, the more often our volunteers and contributors will host them.  The funds will be used to buy ingredients, secure locations and otherwise present increasingly interesting meals.  The table will exist as long as it adds value the lives of those that participate and attend. 


We have saved a seat just for you.  It's not just the food that makes the meal, but the company we keep.  So pull up a chair and join in the culinary conversation.
What are your favorite substitusions?
How small is your kitchen?
What do you wish you had?
What have you found you can live without?
What's your favorite new ingredient?
 Share your discoveries with us and the world.   Join us on Facebook and celebrate global dining from a local perspective.


We source all possible ingredients locally.  Our buying begins locally with many of our ingredients sourced from surrounding farms, and our menu is limited to only three items which are from the global market place.


Korean Egyptian Spring Salad

In the spring and summer we love to eat fresh green salads and in Korea there are all sorts of amazing greens we'd never seen or eaten.  We decided that we needed to introduce these handsome greens to an Egyptian Mediterranean dressing and see how they felt about each other.  It was love at first bite. satisfying.  


New foods and cultures are scary, but we all moved abroad to learn and have adventures so let's get to it.  One way we get used to our new world is to go to the local market and sample things we've never tried.  Most vendors will give you a bit of leaf, or whatever, so you can understand the flavor.  They get you're new and - often- want to be helpful.  A nice green salad is the perfect excuse to head down to the market and get sampling.


The Dressing
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon or lime juice
2 tbs fruit vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
pinch cumin, sea salt, black pepper, red pepper to taste

The Salad
Green onion
Local leafy greens

These are little spring onions.  SUPER yummy.

We've actually seen folks foraging for this but don't know the name.
Either way, it's exceptional in salad.

Salt Sit
During my search for the perfect fusion tapas 
made with Korean ingredients,
I realized I needed Spanish cured sardines.

Pear Vinegar Bath
I used this recipe from The Spanish Hipster:
but made a few changes.
I let them cure for 6 hours
(because I needed to go to work)
Experimented with lime juice 
(because I was out of lemon)
Used Korean Pear Vinegar
(because I don't like imports)

Oil Bed
The result was just delightful
and perfect for my toasts.
Perfection with fresh cheese.

NOTE: You might not want to let them sit in the salt for six hours if you are planning to eat them on their own.  I like the longer salt bed because they last longer and are great with other plane ingredients.

So begins the big adventure.
Melding together
Spanish Tapas
Korean Side Dishes

The first thing I needed to do 
was pick three flavors  that worked together
from each country.
These make the pallet 
for painting the recipes.
This required making lots of little toasts.
The first try.  Tastes great, but not even close to what I'm going for.
Total bust.  Too much soy.  Too much olive.  Too Soggy.


The first toasts, 
although delicious,
were not well balanced flavor wise.
They were too "Korean".
After a few more tires I found the perfect balance.
From Spain I chose:
From Korea I chose:
Soy Sauce
Spicy Peppers

This was ugly as heck, but a lot more delicious and sent me down the right path.


After that I needed to refine my textures.
"What?" you ask "Textures?"
Yes, believe it or not texture
is as a key part of fusion cuisine.
I consider it equally important to taste.
Spanish food has a lovely 
balance of crunch and smoothness 
that's critical for it to "taste" Spanish.
At first my toasts just didn't have it.
The perfect crunch was found in:
Toasting the bread
Making goat and soy cheese.
Using lotus root
This was where I started really picking up speed.


Finally, I had to decided what was going in things.
The two cuisines have a great deal in common,
but I still needed to narrow it down.
So this is what 
I'll be making the tapas out of.
Chicken eggs
Quail eggs
Lotus Root
Olive Oil
Korean fruit wines
In the end I knew just what I needed to take it to the next level.


After this I need to work on 
marinating my own lotus root.  
The stuff from the market is just too strong.  
It needs to be less intense.
It needs to float inside the recipe, 
not stand out on top.