What We Eat During a Pandemic

Ever wonder what other people are eating for dinner these days? We asked Korean Americans across the country to photograph a week’s worth of dinners and the responses have us totally inspired.

As suspected, there are lots of people eating way better than we are, but mostly it appears that we are in the same boat, all doing our best to eat well while not driving ourselves crazy.

As restaurants open up and we tip-toe out for an occasional meal at our favorite outdoor dining haunts, let’s raise a soju glass to our hardworking home chefs who’ve kept us alive to eat another day. Sugohaesseoyo!

WHO: The Yang Gang

WHERE : Los Altos, CA

CHEF’S NOTES: We’ve been busy renovating our house so I’m cooking pretty simply these days. My friends on the other hand are getting very creative with home cooking and trying their hands at becoming the west coast Maangchi! 

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: Los Altos Grill!

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Bais

WHERE : Greenwich, CT

CHEF’S NOTES: What we like to consider a Covid consolation is family participation in cooking meals and fearless attempts at hallowed Korean standards like doenjang jjigae and kimchi jeon. Creativity and resourcefulness rule! After prolonged indulgence in heavier comfort food we have all emerged craving freshness and flavor. Lemons and pickled red onions, yay! We are also fond of plating on heavy teal green shallow bowls for portion control and eye appeal.

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: Great Northern Food Hall (missing that sesame rye sourdough), Myungdong Kalguksu, AMC theater popcorn

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Paiks

WHERE : Newport Beach, CA

CHEF’S NOTES: We’re on vacation so meals are different from regular home meals. Less healthy and on less attractive plates and bowls 😬

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: Really good sushi.

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Choi / Lam Fam

WHERE: West Hartford, CT

CHEF’S NOTES: We grew the basil in the pictures in our aerogarden since that’s the only use of our green thumb we’ve been getting. Also, we always play the music of the country’s cuisine we are eating. 

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: We don’t miss restaurants at all!

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Hans

WHERE: Surfside, FL

CHEF’S NOTES: Covid Dinners are simple dinners! Daily menu is decided with my son’s Ironman training in mind. Protein + carb. Trying to squeeze in as much fruit and vegetables as I can. 

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: La Petite Maison in Miami, Cantina la Veinte in Miami, Naminori in NYC, Shaburo in Palisades Park, NJ

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Lees

WHERE: New York, NY

CHEF’S NOTES: When cooking for boys, protein is a must… and lots of it! To keep meals balanced and healthy, including veggies with nearly every meal is also a must from my standpoint. I have an extensive assortment of flavored oils and vinegars on hand to keep salad dressings and grilled veggie dishes interesting. Mixing up the combination of oils and vinegars is a great way to beat vegetable boredom.

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: As a family, we miss dining at our favorite Cote Korean Steakhouse and Jongro BBQ. Personally, I long for the days when I used to meet girlfriends at the beautiful Bergdorf Goodman Restaurant on the 7th floor. I miss the spectacular views of Central Park, The Gotham Salad, the gorgeous and chic decor, and the long hours spent chatting the afternoon away …

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Chungs

WHERE: Twin Cities, Minnesota

CHEF’S NOTES: I’m no chef. I just get the job done. Feeding three hungry boys 24/7 is not an easy task but I am fortunate in that they eat whatever I put on the table without complaining…mostly 🙂

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: Cho Sun Ok

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Parks

WHERE: Marana, AZ

CHEF’S NOTES: Looking forward to traveling and dining out again!

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: Com Tam Thuan Kieu – Our little Tucson hole in the wall, especially the pho & vegetarian cake noodles.

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: The Chungs

WHERE: Elkins Park, PA

CHEF’S NOTES: We are enjoying having the time to treat ourselves to more carefully prepared home meals with fresh vegetables from our friends’ gardens. 

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: Ginza Japanese Restaurant. It just opened up again and we can’t wait to visit.

WHAT WE ATE:

WHO: Ms. Jun

WHERE: Chicago, IL

CHEF’S NOTES: I live in LA but traveled home to Chicago recently and had to quarantine for 2 weeks. These are some of the yummy meals my parents cooked for me and the last pic is after I was released from quarantine!

RESTAURANTS WE MISS MOST: All of K-Town!

WHAT I ATE: