Korean Food Moving Into the Mainstream

Korean Food Moving Into the Mainstream

Food & Drink

Korean Food Moving Into the Mainstream

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By Cari Martens

No longer relegated to tiny authentic ethnic restaurants in Asian neighborhoods, Korean foods and flavor influences seem to be popping up everywhere today.

As reported by Juliet Chung in the Wall Street Journal online edition: California Pizza Kitchen is developing a Korean barbecue beef pizza; Chicago restaurant Blackbird has added kimchi to its menu; and crowds are lining up in LosAngeles for Korean street food from Kogi taco trucks. Even Korean frozen yogurt has become an oft-imitated hot seller.

New York chef David Chang is viewed by some as Korean food’s unofficial American ambassador. His three Momofuku restaurants serve kimchi, a Korean favorite featuring spicy fermented vegetables in dishes such as stew and consommé.

Kimchi is also showing up at another New York restaurant, wd~50. Chef Wylie Dufresne offers a kimchi-banana sauce with lobster. He’s also included kimchi in other dishes, including pasta. Quoted in the WSJ story, Dufresne says he buys the pickled condiment pre-made at a local Asian market. ‘It’s hot, its acidic and, depending on the type of kimchi, it’s got some umami notes,’ he says.

Korean food ranges from highly spicy to quite mild, but usually offers a pungent aroma.

The Korean trend is not totally happenstance. Efforts to increase its export and make Korean one of the world’s most famous cuisines were announced just last fall by a South Korean government minister. Looks like his efforts have begun paying dividends. This is a trend to watch.

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