man in apron holding bowl of tteokbokki with cheese sauce

My recent interviewfor my podcast series The Creative Push was with James Suh, the man behind Taco Diplomacy. The idea started with a recent taco pop-up that was the result of the COVID lockdown which allowed him more time at home in the kitchen with his hobby baker wife Karri. She inspired him to perfect some of his international recipes from the food flavors he remembered as a childhood. They both started offering free tastings from their home in order to get honest feedback on their recipes. The success of their pop-up tastings led to the creation of Taco Diplomacy. James acknowledges that his concept is not just about tacos, instead, it is about introducing international flavors in familiar forms.

James Suh with plate of seaweed rolls

These photos are from my visit on the day of our interview. He prepared some of his favorite foods and a specialty coffee while allowing me to photograph him in his kitchen.

James first prepared a spicy Korean rice cake called tteokbokki. It is made from sticky rice and rice flour combined into a thick spaghetti noodle topped with a special sauce and garnished with cheese, green onions, and takuan, a yellow, pickled radish. 

pouring sauce on the noodles of tteokbokki
a bowl of tteokbokki
adding cheese sauce to tteokbokki
man adding green unions to tteokbokki with cheese sauce
tteokbokki with cheese sauce

James then prepared his own Korean seaweed rolls, similar to a Japanese nori roll. These were made with steamed rice, sesame oil, sea salt, takuan, egg omelet with scallions, cucumber, bulgogi, and wrapped in seaweed.

stirring a pot of sticky rice for seaweed rolls
preparing bamboo by adding sesame oil
adding sesame oil to a sheet of seaweed
spreading sticky rice to seaweed roll
adding cucumber to a seaweed roll
making seaweed rolls
preparing to roll seaweed rolls
rolling seaweed rolls
Sprinkling sea salt on seaweed rolls
Cutting seaweed rolls
a plate of seaweed rolls
SeaweedRollIngredients
Korean seaweed rolls and tteokbokki

His last creation was a ginger-spiced latte served in anorange salted rim glass.

Packing coffee filter for machine to make an expresso
expresso machine making a cup of expresso
adding ginger spice syrup into a glass
pouring expresso coffee to a glass
pouring late froth into a glass
ginger-spiced latte in a glass with an orange salted rim

James is married to Karri Suh, a hobby baker that I photographed back in September, you can see those photos here, read the story and listen to the podcast if you love specialty cakes. Together they are sharing her baked specialties and his unique international creations for his new pop-up concept called Tack Diplomacy.

You can listen to my podcast interview with James on The Creative Push or read the story here.

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