Korea has a big goal.
The government of Korea wants to see Korean food among the world’s five most popular ethnic foods by 2017. Korea’s ambitious food globalization initiative was announced Monday morning at the â€˜Taste of Koreaâ€™ event at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago.
The tastes of Korea, however, are hard to create and harder to replicate because of the difficulty in mastering the fermentation and marinating processes used by Korean chefs. According to Wendy Chan of Definity Marketing, the key for Korea’s promotional effort in the U.S. is to adapt food that is popular in Korea to the particular taste of Americans.
So who’s ready for a kimchi quesadilla? That is the fusion of tastes that appealed to Roy Choi. Choi is a classically-trained chef of Korean origin who grew up in Los Angeles. Although he wasn’t much interested in traditional Korean cuisine, Choi decided to develop recipes that reflect the unique mixture of Korean and Latin culture in his L.A. neighborhood. The result is a tasty blend of spices, vegetables and cheese melted inside a tortilla.
Choi’s kimchi quesadilla was one of three foods featured during the tour from â€˜royalty to reinventionâ€™ at the Korean Pavilion tasting event. Debra Samuels and Taekyung Chung, co-authors of The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap 100 Easy-To-Prepare Recipes, prepared â€˜nine treasures roll-ups,â€™ a food that represents the traditional philosophical importance of food in Korea. In this dish the various colors of the ingredients symbolize the different organs of the body and an appropriate balance is necessary for good health.
Modern-day Korea was represented by Bonjuk restaurant stirring up a huge bowl of rice with beef, vegetables and soy paste. And, a few American tastes: â€˜We’re like Starbucks,â€™ said Bonjuk’s Andy Park, â€˜there is one on every street corner in Korea.â€™
Korean trade and industry officials believe food is the best way to export Korean culture around the world because, according to a Korean proverb they related, â€˜You make friends across the dinner table.â€™