ZenKimchi’s Joe McPherson Digs Down-home Korean, BBQ Sauce

Joe McPherson knows a thing or two about kimchi.

Joe McPherson knows a thing or two about kimchi.

Joe McPherson, founder of Korean food site ZenKimchi has forgotten more about Korean food and culture than I will probably ever know. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the immense K-town that is Northern Boulevard. Korean Joe, as I have taken to calling him, was kind enough to answer this week’s edition of Seven Questions.

Are there any foods from the States that you miss in Korea?
These days it’s getting progressively better. I do miss good Mexican, American Chinese food, Cajun, good beer, and affordable whiskey. But if I was back in America, I’d miss makgeolli [Korean rice wine] and Korean country-style foods.

Name three things that are always in your refrigerator.
Kimchi, gochujang, peeled garlic

What’s your favorite way to eat bone marrow?
When I’m able to get it, on toast.

Who taught you how to use chopsticks?
I learned to use chopsticks from the chopsticks packages at Chinese restaurants.

How long have you been living in Korea?
I have been living in Korea since early 2004. That’s around 63 dog years.

What is about Korean food that most appeals to you?
It’s the rural peasant dishes that I enjoy the most. Things like boribap, which is a version of bibimbap with barley mixed with the rice with garden vegetables, sesame oil (I like a lot of it), and gochujang. The dishes out in the country tend to use more sesame oil, wild sesame, and funkier smelling doenjang [fermented bean paste]. It’s like down-home Southern cooking or going out into the European countryside. Simple preparations with honest ingredients.

Good, bad, or otherwise. What’s the last thing you ate?
My wife made kimchi jjigae last night with sweet fatty chunks of pork. She knows I like the pork, so that was very nice of her.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I’ve been doing something a little redneck lately. I have a jar of Dreamland BBQ sauce from Tuscaloosa. They usually slather this on ribs and serve it with only Sunbeam white bread. When I’m watching TV, I like to heat up some sauce and white bread, and dip the bread in the sauce. Other than that, I love really crispy French fries.

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