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Culinary Flavours of South Korea Showcase its Rich History and Culture

From the staple Bibimbap, a sticky-rice bowl served with a lot of vegetables, and Japchae, or stir-fried glass noodles

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Culinary, Flavours, South Korea
Chef Ho Min Myung, a South Korean chef visiting India, lists the missing names on India's South Korean platters. Pixabay

Like most cuisines, the culinary flavours of South Korea showcase its rich history and culture. But, foodies in India often find themselves short of options when it comes to this cuisine which is much less popular than its Japanese and Chinese counterparts.

Chef Ho Min Myung, a South Korean chef visiting India, lists the missing names on India’s South Korean platters.

From the staple Bibimbap, a sticky-rice bowl served with a lot of vegetables, and Japchae, or stir-fried glass noodles, to the more complex chicken dish Dakgangjeong or tofu stew Sundubu-jjigae — options are aplenty for South Korean cuisine lovers, but lack popular following here.

For anyone who has got their hands on the food of this East Asian country, they would recall a decent number of vegetable-based side-dishes that are served with the main dish. What makes this food so unique and organic?

Culinary, Flavours, South Korea
Like most cuisines, the culinary flavours of South Korea showcase its rich history and culture. Pixabay

“Since the ancient times, South Koreans are used to eating grains and vegetables. We have plenty of resources from forest because the country has more than 70 per cent of its land as mountains, and field and rice farming has been active.

“We have four distinct seasons and various seasonal ingredients are used depending on its seasonal taste and nutrition. Usually, South Koreans have rice, Kimchi and side dishes for a meal,” Chef Myung told IANS.

The chef says the cuisine makes a healthy diet as it uses a large amount of greens.

“Although it’s a trend in South Korea to be a vegetarian due to awareness about healthy food, meat is never missed on an important occasion. However, the cuisine has various vegetarian dishes apart from meat dishes with various reasons, such as topographical features, tradition and growth of a healthy diet trend.”

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Namul, Japchae, Kimchi and fermented sauces of South Korea contain the original tastes of vegetables for the global vegetarians.

Furthermore, South Korean table manners also give a glimpse into their culture.

“The first thing is respect to elders. Young people would not lift their spoon to start a meal until the oldest hold their spoon and start eating.

“Also, you are requested to eat each and every dish on the table equally to show respect to the one who cooked and the one who eats with you,” the chef, who was on his first India visit, said.

Culinary, Flavours, South Korea
But, foodies in India often find themselves short of options when it comes to this cuisine which is much less popular than its Japanese and Chinese counterparts. Pixabay

Asked if he has got a chance to taste Indian food, Chef Myung said he tasted curry and naan, “yet the spiciness of Indian cuisine with ‘masalas’ is intriguing and attractive as it is different from Korean spicy”.

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Myung, along with two other Korean chefs, is currently curating a Korean Food Fest at the Chaobella Restaurant at Greater Noida’s Crowne Plaza till August 11. (IANS)

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Chef Colibri Jimenez Talks About Mexican Cuisine

Mexican cuisine is so varied, you can never stop learning

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Mexican cuisine
Mexican food is known for its variety of flavours. Lifetime Stock

BY SIDDHI JAIN

We saw her competing with star chefs from around the world in Netflix’s grand culinary contest “The Final Table”. One of the 24 best chefs of the world chosen, Chef Colibri Jimenez is an authority on Mexican cuisine.

Author of the book eUna Aventura Gastronomica’ in which she shares stories and photographs about her journey around Mexico and its most remote corners, Chef Colibri first got interested in Mexican cuisine due to the centuries-old rich culture behind it.

“What excites me is the different flavours and ingredients there are in Mexican cuisine. It’s complex but it’s interesting because you never stop learning and researching all the different flavours Mexico gave to the world,” she told IANSlife.

The culinarian likes to uncover the hidden gems in Mexico, and frequently travels around the Mexican countryside for it.

Mexican cuisine
Mexican cuisine is famous due to the centuries-old rich culture behind it. Lifetime Stock

“The vanilla plantations and cocoa plantations are a treasure. There are secrets of coloured corn. In central Mexico, they find blue corn, purple corn, red corn, which are all hidden gems that tourists should visit.”

Colibri, who has been in the industry for 11 years, heads Aventura Gastronomica, a company dedicated to the investigation and preservation and promotion of ancient Mexican culinary traditions.

Asked about her experiences in “The Final Table” last year, she said It was a life-changing experience and she made many good friends that are now family. “It was also challenging to compete with Michelin-star chefs all over the world, some of them much older than me,” she added.

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On the worldwide fame of Mexican food, Colibri said: :People love it, and it’s always a pleasure to share one’s own culture with other cultures. People love to eat more tacos!”

She is currently in India on the invitation of CRED, and is conducting specialised culinary masterclasses in different cities. “I am teaching them how to make fresh salsa, traditional guacamole and Xni-pec Salsa from the state of Yucatan in southeast Mexico.” (IANS)