On February 9th the British newspaper, ‘The Guardian’, released an article introducing readers to a culinary tour of Korea. The article explores foods that are unique to various districts in Korea with a focus on the city of Jeonju, the “home to the country’s best bibimbap”.
Korea has entered the spotlight thanks to all the success of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 and with this Korean food has been put on the global radar. Thinking of Korean cuisines Australians might often think of Korean barbeque or KFC (Korean Fried Chicken). But there is so much more Korea has to offer.
From Michelin starred restaurants to more affordable street food options there is something for everyone, and they can all easily be found in the heart of Seoul.
However, when venturing out a little south by train visitors will come across the true foodie capital of Jeonju which was declared “UNESCO city of gastronomy in 2012”, here you can enjoy the national dish, Bibimbap at its origins.
Bibimbap is a bowl of rice mixed with meat and assorted vegetables topped with a spicy chilli paste. It is a kind of “comfort food” in Korea, much like ice cream or pizza but a whole lot “healthier and less oily” option. Korean food, in general, is considered a wellbeing food and is much in line with the global food trends.
Korea, has a long history of slow food. Many of its traditional foods are naturally “dried, pickled or fermented” such as sauces, pastes and of course the famous Kimchi. These are what creates a base for the exquisite flavours and textures of Korean food.
Korean food can also accommodate a lot of dietary needs, with Buddhist vegetarian influences. Korean Temple food is perfect for a vegan-friendly meal.
In terms of Korean dining etiquette, “Protocol is that there is no protocol”. In Korea, dining is a social activity and in contrary to western ideas of a course meal, Korean meals are often served all at once. This is said to be because it “makes an evening more fun: you get on with talking, laughing, enjoying the company without any interruptions”.
Korea has an exceptional array of foods to meet every visitor needs. For those who are planning to visit Korea check out The Michelin Guide Seoul for more ideas of places to eat: https://guide.michelin.co.kr/en/
To read the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/feb/09/south-korea-food-drink-tour-seoul-busan-jeonju
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