Mom made me some delicious organic vegan doenjang jjigae (korean fermented soybean paste stew) with non-gmo tofu, Yukon potatoes, mushrooms, bean sprouts, jalapeño and green onion from the garden, and homemade doenjang (fermented soybean paste).

D.O - 160727 EXO manager Park Sungho’s Instagram update: “이제야 올리는군 ㅎ 견수표 된장찌개와 볶음밥.. ㅎ 레시피가 점점 늘고 있다는 경수군 ㅎ 진심 맛있다… 된장찌개 난 몇번 실패했는데 뭐이리 맛남. ㅋㅋ된강찌개 진짜 얼큰하고 션해서 맛나고 ㅎ 볶음밥도 굿!!”

Translation: “I am only now able to post this ㅎ Kyungsoo’s doenjang jjigae and fried rice.. ㅎ Kyungsoo improved the recipe little by little ㅎ It’s seriously delicious… I tried to make doenjang jjigae many times but failed, how can this taste so good. Keke the doenjang jjigae is perferctly spicy and refreshing ㅎ The fried rice is also good!!”

Credit: sunghopark0531.


In 2005, my aunt graduated from Kyonggi University. At 53 years old, she was the oldest on campus to don a cap and gown, and the first in her family to do so.

Two years later, she suffered a major stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. After extensive therapy, and months of tears, tantrums and frustrations, she is talking and has regained about 70 percent of her motor skills.

The Kyonggi grad is my mom’s little sister. She is 10 years younger; and after their dad died and their mother left, they only had each other.

At 12 years old, my mom was mom to a two-year old. Together, they survived childhood; and stood by each other during adulthood. To this day, their bond is unbreakable.

The fight, the will, the strength exemplify the traits of the women in my life. I wish I had even a teaspoon of it.

I was in Korea in 2012 for work, and had only one day to visit my aunt. Not only did she have the traditional Korean breakfast spread waiting for me, she had one of my favorite bon chons, doenjang jjigae.

This traditional Korean dish is one of my favorites, and I have yet to taste doenjang jjigae that’s better than my grandmother’s. I tried to capture her recipe but without the fresh, homemade tofu and soy paste, it’s just not the same… but it’s close.

Here is my grandmother’s doenjang jjigae, the dish that always reminds me of her and her legacy that lives on through my mom and my aunt. This is “old country Korea”.