When I came to Korea, I had a list of things that I was absolutely determined to do, and this month I finally got to cross off a huge one – I took a Korean cooking class! For somebody who adores eating Korean food, I have very little knowledge of how to make it, and I really want to be able to cook up some of my favourite dishes when I return home.

The class I attended was with OME Korean Cooking Lab. We began outside the Seoul Gyeongdong Market in Jegi-Dong, where our teacher met with us to guide us around the market and purchase some of the ingredients we would be using. Being the weekend before Seollal, the market was absolutely heaving with busy shoppers, but we survived! It was great to be able to wander around the market with someone knowledgeable to explain the more unfamiliar ingredients to us.

After that, it was time to return to base and start preparing our meal. I really didn’t know what to expect, but, as someone who is definitely less than great in the kitchen, I was a bit nervous. I needn’t have been. Visitors work together in small, intimate groups to make each dish, all the while receiving guidance and tips from an extremely kind and patient teacher. There was a wonderful atmosphere as our group of eight chatted and encouraged one another through the process.

I was so impressed by our teacher’s knowledge of her craft, especially her ability to identify which ingredients we might struggle to find outside of Korea and suggest some good, more accessible alternatives.

The menu changes with the season and with each day of the week, including classes on Korean street food and a dessert-specific class. My friends and I opted for the Saturday class, focusing on Korean home cooking. This is what our menu looked like:

Bulgogi (불고기), japchae (잡채), pajeon (파전), doenjang guk (된장국), kimchi fried rice (김치볶음밥) and kimchi salad (겉절이).

After the workshop, the teacher sends participants a recipe for each of the dishes made during class (fantastic for forgetful cooks such as myself) and photographs taken during the session, so that you can show off the delicious food you made later.

Each three-hour class costs ₩60,000, and, in my opinion, the experience is worth every penny. Not only did we learn a thing or two about Korean cooking, we also had a lot of fun and left absolutely stuffed by our delicious home-cooked meal. (For me, the best part of cooking will always be the subsequent eating.)

If you are ever visiting Seoul and want to pick up some Korean cooking skills, please consider OME Cooking Lab – it has been one of my favorite experiences while living in Seoul, and I’ll absolutely be going one more time before I leave Korea.

Writer: Laura Dewey

Editor: Kaily Long

Lead Contributor: Rachel Casseline Pinnock