Everyday Korean at Bear Tooth with Kim Sunée

Published: Nov. 3, 2017 at 2:33 PM AKDT
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Kim Sunée was raised in New Orleans eating gumbo and her grandpa's jambalaya. But her life began in Korea, where she lived until she was adopted by an American family around the age of 3. Her tastes for travel, and the fabulous foods of Europe, began in her twenties when Sunée traveled the world, eating her way from country to country. Her first two books, Trail of Crumbs and A Mouthful of Stars are first-hand accounts that are lovely, romantic, sad, exciting and very personal.

Her French and southern influences collided with the techniques and flavors of Korea after Sunée met a woman named Seung Hee Lee, a writer and teacher with a PhD in Human Nutrition. It was a life-changing encounter.

The two recently created a new cookbook: Everyday Korean, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks.

Their ambition was huge. There are more than 100 recipes in the book.

The flavors of Korean food are difficult to explain. Most people probably think of seaweed, sesame oil and scented rice flavors stirred together. Bibimbap is perhaps the most famous Korean dish. The flavors can be packed both with nuance and power. Sweet, spicy and complex, and very often people are intimidated by the idea of trying to make it themselves.

"This new cookbook, Everyday Korean, is really sort of an homage to a country that was part of me, but not really, and my co-author, Seung Hee is an amazing Korean food aficionado so we kind of got together and decided to do a book that would sort of take the intimidation out of cooking Korean, which I did not grow-up eating or cooking, but I love the flavors so for me it was a great way to learn both about my country and a culture that I didn't know."

Sunée, who moved to Anchorage six years ago, is a regular at Bear Tooth Theatre Pub & Grill, which is where, on Monday, you can find specials inspired by her new book. A collaboration like this is a first for the popular restaurant, famous for its pizza, cilantro fries and fantastic craft beers.

"It's really cool to have someone from the community, and someone who's a regular in our restaurants, team-up with us and create some amazing food," Amara Liggett with Bear Tooth said.

Through November you can try more than 10 different dinners, cocktails and desserts. For breakfast there's a chorizo omelette with kimchi and cheese served with a side of kimchi fried rice. For lunch or dinner there's flatbread with kimchi sautéed in butter, sweet and spicy wings and absolutely gorgeous tacos with a colorful chorus of toppings across expansive white plates. There is even a spicy kimchi bloody Mary. Expect to learn and taste Gochujang, which is a Korean red pepper paste.

"A lot of kimchi, I don't think you can ever have too much," Liggett joked.

The specials begin Monday and Sunée will also be signing copies of her new cookbook, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on November 6th.