While the government of North Korea has made news by launching missile tests, the South Korean government has launched a far more peaceful effort: a campaign that aims to lift Korean cuisine into the â€˜top five rank of world cuisinesâ€™ by 2017. Not that there’s any official ranking system for that, but the campaign has lofty ambitions indeed.
Writing for the New York Times, Julia Moskin reports that the campaign has $10 million to spend on the effort in 2009, including money for grants and scholarships for South Koreans to travel and attend culinary school.
The campaign has enlisted the services of people as high in stature as the country’s First Lady, Kim Yoon-ok, wife of South Korean president Lee Myung-bak. She helped with the culinary duties in a recent ceremony honoring American veterans of the Korean War in Great Neck, N.Y. She cooked up some pajeonâ€”savory pancakes stuffed with seafood, scallions and red peppers.
The Korean Cuisine to the World project, which kicked off in April, also hopes to quadruple the number of Korean restaurants around the world in the next eight years.
â€˜First was Chinese food in the U.S., then Japanese and Thai,â€™ says Min Mon-hong, director of tourism for Korea. â€˜Korean is the next big boomâ€™ he told the Times reporter.
If you start seeing dishes such as tteokbokki (pronounced duck-bo-key), bibimbap, and bulgogi showing up on menus in your town, you’ll know the plan is working.
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