En-vogue, trendy, and the ‘big new cuisine’ on the culinary circuit…everyone is talking about Korean food. This delicate Asian cuisine is making waves around the world as a healthy, tasty and social dining option.
Food is spearheading ‘Hallyu’– the Korean wave of popular culture that has spent a decade slowly spreading to distant shores.
The adoption and acceptance of a foreign cuisine, more often than not, reflects the growing popularity of the destination in a touristic context. This north Asian powerhouse is now seen as a unique place to visit by Europeans, who are becoming increasingly aware of the country’s cultural traits and characteristics.
Over the last two years, the glitterati of the culinary world have started to touch down in Seoul, ready to experience everything from street food to temple cuisine, and to see first-hand how key dishes are prepared.
They come to open the lid, in both a metaphorical and physical sense, of the ‘Onggi’ clay pots that are filled with an assortment of fermented sauces and condiments: red bean paste, soybean paste, soy sauce – all essential ingredients in the making of Korean dishes and has a traceable lineage dating back thousands of years.
New restaurants have been opening up in Europe and in the UK several Korean inspired fusion menus and pop-up food stalls have appeared in some of London’s hippest districts.
Galvin at Windows, one of London’s most popular Michelin starred fine dining restaurants, perched atop the London Hilton Park Lane, is to undertake a culinary research trip to Korea.
Head chef ‘Joo Won’ is Korean and is passionate to show his mentor and chef patron, Chris Galvin (owner) and Frederic Sirieux (head waiter and media personality) the food of his upbringing and how it can inspire the restaurant menu.
The team will experience the buzz of Korea’s night markets and street food stalls, dine out at some of the city’s best restaurants, learn about traditional medicine, understand the true essence and origins of various Korean flavours and also take time to visit Seoul’s key landmarks. On their return, the Galvin at Windows team will create a special Korean inspired menu to run in the restaurant during August and have their own version of a pop-up Korean stall set up, as if on a small street cart, for guests to enjoy.
The new menu at Galvin at Windows coincides with the Korea Tourism Organisation’s ‘Imagine your Korea day’ in Trafalgar Square which will be a celebration of Korean culture and is expected to attract 30,000 visitors across the day.