Whether you have tasted every Korean food on Earth or you are new to it, these popular books by the ever-famous Korean cooks themselves will let you recreate popular dishes. You no longer need to spend at fancy restaurants for your K-food cravings.
Here are the ten best books about Korean food, enlisting everyday dishes, and special-occasion cuisines. All of these books deserve a spot on your bookshelf!
Big Book of Korean Cooking By Maangchi.
You know someone is famous when you can call them by their just one name. Dubbed as Youtube’s Korean Julia Child, Maangchi is widely known for her Youtube videos. She is a vlogger and has carved out a way to establish herself as an authority on Korean cooking. With childhood and youth in Korea, she learned traditional Korean food from her family.
This cookbook is the best one overall on our list. Maangchi enlightens you with her traditional recipes in this book. It covers everything step-by-step with a range of recipe styles for you to try and implement. The best part of it is that it covers the range of difficulties too. Hence, there is something in store for both beginners and experienced cooks. It also includes photos of steps to help you follow the techniques better, with a section answering the most asked questions over the years.
Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes By Robin Ha
Cooking new cuisines is an intimidating task. This Korean cookbook by Robin Ha is a great one for beginners with its graphic novel format. It makes this experience lighter and easy. However, the book is not just all fun and games. It covers at least 64 recipes with a great emphasis on the ingredients used.
The book takes you through the recipes and steps with a whimsical touch via colorful illustrations. The recipes have difficulty ranges — we recommend attempting the easier ones before going up the ladder of levels. In addition to recipes, the cookbook comes with some personal and cultural notes from the author. It is a great attraction if you would love to learn about Korean food and culture while you know how to cook it.
Koreatown: A Cookbook
Koreatown is a New York Times Bestseller. With recipes of Chef Deuki Hong himself and food writer Matt Rodbard, this book takes one down on a journey through the bold flavors and spices of Koreatowns. It is a cookbook for Korean-American communities in particular. The book covers 100 recipes with anecdote-filled short essays and interviews. There are colorful pictures and historical backgrounds of each recipe, making it one great pick for those interested in Korean food and culture.
You will find multiple recipes that are both well-known and traditional favorites, like but not limited to Kimchi, bibimbap, and bulgogi. There are some lesser-known ones as well, like jjampong.
Korean Food Made Simple By Judy Joo
The star chef of the Cooking Channel, Judy Joo, is a famous one that people across Korea look forward to nailing their traditional favorites. Judy is known for her concise Korean recipes.
This cookbook has fun and easy recipes for home cooks. There is a lot of information on how to stock your pantry before starting to cook Korean anytime. It is one excellent resource for an introduction to Korean cooking.
Her cookbook enlists 130 popular recipes, modern favorites, and creative staples. However, the book is not famous for its traditional flavors. It also features drinks, sauces, and desserts for a perfect all-rounding Korean menu.
Seoul Food Korean Cookbook: By Naomi Imatome-Yun
Naomi Imatome-Yun learned Korean foods from her Korean grandmother despite growing up in America. With 135 star recipes, this cookbook has traditional and modern cuisines for all levels of Korean cooks. There are Korean-American recipes as well, with traditions meeting new ingredients.
The cookbook also has information about table manners and the food customs of Koreans. It also has a section with resources for ingredients that are otherwise hard to find.
Korean Paleo By Jean Choi
Being on the paleo diet or eating healthily never means you cannot enjoy spicy and tasty flavors. Jean’s cookbook lets you master Korean foods that are gluten, grain, and dairy-free. The recipes are also easy to implement. Jean Choi is a certified nutritional therapist with a creative and paleo-friendly spin on Korean traditions.
The book features photography as well.
The Kimchi Cookbook
the ever-famous Korean staple is a delight every K-food enthusiast loves. Whether you have eaten at a restaurant or tried it at someplace of a Korean friend, Kimchi is not just one recipe, as the book itself proves.
There are several types of Kimchi, from fresh to funky, light to intense flavored, dry to gravy, and more. To explore this traditional favorite of Koreans in your very own kitchen, you might want to try this book.
This cookbook covers 60 different recipes for Kimchi with both a traditional and modern touch. It has vegetarian kimchi recipes as well. However, it is only about Kimchi and does not let you diversify your Korean cooking skills.
Growing up in Korean Kitchens By Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall
Korean food has deep roots in history, and this cookbook highlights it while it takes you through the art of mastering it. It also enlightens you about the author and history. The best part of this cookbook is that it lets you explore the unwritten Korean food culture — legends that have passed down through families generation after generation.
This cookbook represented countryside cooking and high-end cuisines from everyday meals to Korean staples and special occasion Korean cuisines.
Although the book explores the traditional more, they are easy to implement. You may find some ingredients hard to find. The book features resources to find ingredients and also comes with the essential cooking tools list.
You can get this book for a lesser price compared to others. It features 250 plus recipes, family pictures of the author, and reminiscences with vibrant photographs that make it a classic read.
Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces — Bill Kim
Born in Korea and raised in Midwest, Bill Kim is the cook who knows what it takes to recreate the perfect Korean BBQ in a typical American home. His book introduces Korean food in a more understanding way than purely traditional Korean cookbooks.
Korean BBQ is very different from the American one. The flavors and sauces differ. The methods of their cooking are divergent as well. Korean barbecue is famous for its thin slices of meat savored with richly-flavored dressings that we quickly grill, unlike the low and slow American barbecue.
This cookbook reveals the magic of the seven marvelous sauces you need to make a star-Korean barbecue. It also highlights three spice rubs. With combinations, these bring out a variety of flavors. The book has a total of 80 different recipes with multiple ingredient substitutes that the non-Koreans. As the cookbook revolves around sauces and rubs for barbecue, you can make them in advance and save yourself time on the grill. Get this one to experience the true Korean delight on the beach or a family feast!
My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes — Hooni Kim
What is a better way to learn about modern Korean cuisines than the Michelin star chef Hooni Kim himself?
My Korea: Traditional Flavor is a cookbook with the autobiography of Hooni Kim. It outlines the basics of Korean cuisines and fuses them with French and Japanese cooking techniques. It gives a modern and innovative look. His recipes focus on quality ingredients a lot. It is for home cooks interested in doenjang, ganjang, and gochujang (fermented soybean paste, soy sauce, and fermented red chili paste). Some components lay the foundation for a classic 90s K-recipe with modern takes on some like mul naengmyeon and dolsot bibimbap. Besides, the cookbook has 100 vibrant pictures from all across Korea.
With something for everyone in our assortment of cookbooks for Korean food, get yourself the one you need. Treat your tastebuds at home now!