Turning 22 & my kimbap experience!

This is such a belated post! YESSSAAAA, I am finally back! Have been so busy with endless tests, exams and projects but I’m glad to say that SCHOOL IS FINALLY OUT. Year 3, semester one flew by way too quickly. Was it because there was too much work? OR I actually felt that I learnt something useful? Maybe it was that I finally have the chance to do a module I really like for the first time in SMU? Whatever it is, it was definitely a love-hate relationship. Loving it because loads of work make time pass way faster and hating….the endless work… Proud to say that I finally had my fair share of staying overnight in school (ONCE) to finished up a project. Yeah it’s a little crazy but I’m guessing that’s uni life.

This semester was really really tough. The horrors of taking 5 modules for 2 consecutive semesters (it will be 3 soon), the horrors of having 4 presentations for 2 consecutive week (2 each) to the extent that I blanked out and blabbered nonsense during the presentation, getting a mere 3-4 hours of sleep for 3 consecutive days, a part-time job and many more…… Looking back, I wondered how did I even managed to survived this whole ordeal. Guess this quote comes in handy: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!

Back to turning a year older. I turned 22 two weeks back. No lavish party or anything. My 21st party was the most massive one I ever held and that could be it. Besides, my birthday always clashes with either exams or school holidays ever since.. primary school so MEH! Get a life!

As usual, I was expecting this year to be the same routine where I spend my time mugging at home/school for my finals. But surprise surprise! I was presented with the best celebration & birthday gift ever, ever, ever!! ^^

Appearing on National TV and teaching viewers how to make kimbap.

If you followed me on Facebook or Instagram, you might already know this! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was either! And I want to blog about the whole process in case I get diagnosed with dementia in the future and forget about this memorable event that was part of my life!

Diyana, the student producer from oktoLIVE! contacted me via Twitter and asked if I was interested to make kimbap on this kids show. My first thought was, why did she picked me of all people?! There are so many chefs/experts/koreans etc. in Singapore so why me? I was super surprised and  decided to find out more about it so we liaised via email. However, once the details were set, I was having doubts (LOTS of it!) about myself and hesitating to make a decision.

Firstly, finals were really close to the filming date. If I agreed to appear on the show, I would have to take one day off my studying break! The opportunity cost was way too high since I have 4 papers and they are content heavy ones. Would I be able to handle the pressure?

Secondly, it was a LIVE show. How could someone like me who have no experience do a live show? What if I starting cussing unknowingly? People are going to think badly of me and I’m just going to ruin the whole show. That was the worst scenario I could thought of.

Thirdly, am I really up for the challenge? I mean, I am just a random 22 year old girl (HAHA this cracks me up because it reminds me of someone) or in short, I am not even a chef/korean/expert or anybody so who am I to teach how to make kimbap?! And what if my kimbap fail on the show?? It’s gonna be so embarrassing!

After loads of thoughts, I decided to just do it. They always say “You Only Live Once” and this was so applicable to my decision! My friends were really encouraging as well saying that it would be a good experience and it’s not like I get to appear on TV everyday so why not? Besides, I had always wanted to participate in some kind of cooking show so taking up this challenge might means a step closer to my dreams!

Filming was set one day before my birthday. The preparation part was crazy. Woke up as early at 8am and started cutting, washing and cooking all the necessary ingredients. Took me 4 long hours to get everything done and I have to lug them to Mediacorp. The super long walk from the bus stop was bloody tortuous! Halfway through the journey, I was even wondering if I made the right choice…I was pretty sure I did in the end. Read on!

Two intern then came to picked me up and we proceed to the makeup studio to do my makeup!


The makeup artist was super enthusiastic and knowing that it was my first time appearing on telly, she tried to make me look as chio as possible!!! My makeup was so thick and since it’s also the first time I tried smoky eyes makeup, I was damn worried it might look awful! Like some evil villain or witch…. But thankfully, they looked pretty okay on telly. And I loved how well the makeup artist played with my hair! :D

I was hoping to see Elvin Ng or Romeo Tan but I saw George Young in the makeup studio instead. Heeeeee. ^^

Rehearsals next!! Two just to run through things and one full-dress. It took me a while to get used to things and I was quite nervous so I actually forgotten some of the steps and what I want to say! But since it’s only rehearsals, there are still rooms for improvement!

Getting ready!

LIVE audience/supporters started streaming in after the full dress rehersals!! I am so thankful to each and every single one of them!!!! Initially, I was worried that nobody would come because it’s the exam period and knowing the attitude of “smuggers” (exams always come first), it’s going to be really difficult. However, these people proved me wrong and shown me so much love and support on that day! I’m absolutely thankful to all who came down despite of their exams and hectic schedule! Love you all! :)

My audience on the left! 

When the cameras start rolling, there’s no room for mistake. That was what I kept telling myself. So I went out and say what I have to say and do what I have to do. Everything happened really quickly and smoothly. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought because I just have to be myself and let nature takes it’s course! But of course, at the same time, teach the viewers how to make the kimbap!

After the show, my whatsapp was flooded with the TV screenshots. Unglam shots included!! But still, thank you for your support from home!! The response was overwhelming!!

You always look fatter on TV. WHY CAMERAS, WHY! 

I wanted to make more kimbaps since they ran out so quickly! But sadly, not enough time as the crew needed to pack up and there’s the mandatory photo taking time!

Francesca and Nadiah did a really… “lol-ish” birthday card for me! Totally did not expect it because nobody calls themselves the queen please…. But I have to admit it’s really sweet and SO MUCH WIN! Thanks girls! :*

And more pictures at the reception. For memory sake!!

For the 1001th time, thank you all so much for coming! 

Verdict? It was an awesome experience and I have absolute no regrets taking up this challenge! It might cost me a day of studying but such opportunities are… rare. Personally, although I feel that studies are really important but there are times you have to cut yourself some slacks and do what you really like. Doing what I like keeps me alive. And I’m sure many agree with me on this! So come on guys, cut yourself some slacks when you need to!

Celebratory dinner at Fat Boys! The service staff had a good laugh at my birthday card!

And the surprise continues when I went back home and was about to sleep…

Looking terribly hideous but it was a sweet surprise afterall!

So this suspicious woman on the left started checking on me from afternoon by asking me questions like “Will you be in school tomorrow?”, “What time you going home?” and many other weird ones… I kinda guess that she’s going to pop by for a surprise so I told her off but she tried to brush in off by saying “No”. So I thought, alright, no chance since since it’s slightly past midnight! And just a few minutes after that thought, I received a phone call to open my door?!!!! SO YES, THIS WOMAN NAMED YUXUAN WITH HER LOVERBOY WAS ALREADY AT MY DOOR WITH A LOVELY BIRTHDAY CAKE!

-BRB while i wipe tears-

This year had been a really good year for me. Bits and pieces of my dreams are coming together and I must say that I have never felt so lucky in my life. The love and support I have received so far.. wow. Sometimes I wonder what did I do to deserve this. Maybe I used to be a servant in the past life so now I am claiming some of my rewards… Okay sorry it doesn’t really make sense but I’m so thankful! :’)

And always will be.

For those who are interested to make your own kimbap, you can check out the recipe HERE! I’ll upload the TV footage once the producers get them up on Youtube! You can have a good laugh then! :)

Last but not least, a big thank you Diyana and okto for getting me on the show! ^^

Test Kitchen: Kimbap

P/S: I will be interviewing Zo In Sung this coming Wednesday so keep your eyes peeled and check back for more updates! :)

Sundays are supposed to be lazy. But not for me anymore ever since I  started my internship last week! I have come to the conclusion that weekends are really precious and I need to spend it wisely!

So I mentioned in my first entry that I will be covering Korean food recipes too right? So yup, I am kickstarting my first test kitchen with.. Kimbap!

And the reason why I call this a ‘Test Kitchen’ is because most of the cooking timings and measurements are all ‘feeling-based’! I don’t really follow recipes and I just go accordingly to what I think it’s right. And since I am no professional, I think it’s appropriate for me to name this as a ‘Test Kitchen’!

If you’re thinking that Kimbap is your typical Japanese sushi… Well, it is not! So what are the differences you might ask?

1. Although both dishes uses short grain rice, but sushi vinegar is not added to rice used for Kimbap. Sesame oil and sesame seeds are added instead!
2. Japanese sushi emphasizes a lot on seafood but as for Kimbap, it emphasizes more on vegetables, such as carrot, cucumber, spinach and not forgetting, danmuji! Danmuji is basically picked radish and without danmuji, a kimbap can never be called a kimbap!
3. Kimbap can be eaten hot while Japanese sushi are mostly served cold!

This was suppose to be one of the easiest Korean food to make but it was a chore for me! Firstly, because there was no one at home to help me with the photography so I practically wasted lots of time going in and out of the kitchen *brr*. And as for the second reason, you have to continue reading to find out!

Let’s start shall we? :)

Kimbap
Makes 10 

Starting off with the rice. Like I mention earlier, I used short-grain rice aka sushi rice. You can get them easily in all supermarkets.

Main Ingredients

1 carrot
1 Japanese Cucumber
7 hotdogs
5-6 eggs
1 can of tuna mayonnaise
1 bunch of spinach
Sesame Seeds
1 pack of Seaweed (10 pieces in one pack)
1 pack of Danmuji (The one in yellow. 12 danmuji in one pack)

If you’re living in Singapore, you can get the seaweed and danmuj in most of the Korean Marts. But do note that Shine Supermarket (Far East outlet) doesn’t sell danmuji ! And get your danmuji either from Lotte Mart or Shine Supermarket! Both marts have them at about $4.90 each but SolMart is selling it for $6.90 each! A $2 difference! *gasp*

However, the seaweed in Lotte Mart was more expensive thou. It was selling for $5.90 in Lotte but I managed to get it at $3 in SolMart!

Rice

I started with the rice first since it takes a while to cook. You just have to wash the rice and put it in the rice cooker! That’s all. I would recommend you to put more water as there was some issues with my rice :(. It didn’t came out as sticky as I expected.

After the rice is cooked, mix it with about 4 teaspoon of sesame oil + 4 pinches of sesame seed + 2 pinches of salt. You can adjust the portion accordingly if you don’t want your rice to be too oily.

Main Ingredients

Carrots & Cucumber: Start chopping them into strips! This was the most difficult part in making Kimbap. And also the second reason why I find making kimbap a tedious process! Chopping the HARD carrot into strips was really a chore and as for the cucumber, I bought a really ‘old’ cucumber so it was flimsy and difficult to handle!! It took me a while for me to hold of this process so guys, don’t give up yet!

After you’re done, place the cucumber in the fridge first and get ready steam the carrot!

Yup, steam. I didn’t want to stir fry the carrot because the hotdog/tuna/egg is already oily/tasty enough to bring out the taste of the carrot. So do opt for the healthier option and steam it instead!

Steam it for about 15 minutes or until you think  it’s done. I prefer soft carrots so I steamed my carrots longer!

Spinach: You just need to boil this (in boiling water of course!) for 2 minute and after it’s cooked, rinse them in cold water until you are ready to make your kimbap.

Eggs: Beat all the eggs till you get a nice mixture. Heat up the pan, add in one tablespoon of oil and get ready to fry that egg!

Hotdogs: After you’re done with the egg, fry the hotdogs! No oil is needed since the pan is already oil and hotdog itself is oily! Yay another health and saving money tips! :) You can choose to cut the hotdogs into strips (I just cut them into half!) before or after cooking, it doesn’t matter!

After cooking and preparing all the ingredients, you are ready to start rolling your kimbap!!!

Start off by laying the seaweed on the sushi mat. After which, scoop some rice on the seaweed and last but not least, the ingredients! You can play around with what ingredients to put first and always start off by putting your ingredients as close to the bottom (of the seaweed) as possible. This is to make sure that there’ll enough ‘space’ for you to roll your kimbap!

I made 2 flavours of kimbap! This is the hotdog flavour.

And the tuna! :)

My advice is to try the hotdog ones. It tasted so much better and my family didn’t really touched the tuna ones.. Oops.

And I didn’t show any pictures of me rolling the kimbap because I was having trouble ‘securing’ it :(. I think it’s because my rice wasn’t really sticky and I have to say it kinda spoiled my whole kimbap experience! Argh! Does anybody have any tips on how to make the rice more sticky? Please let me know!

You can see that the rice look so grainy instead of sticky! :(

And it’s ready to serve! :)

Even though the rice didn’t turn out as sticky as I had expected, it was still YUMMY!!! The sweet and sour danmuji was definitely the highlight of the Kimbap and it makes me crave for more after eating one!

Hopefully my recipe did help you a lil & if you tried making kimbap before, do share with me your experience ! :)

[buzz KOREA]