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‘Topokki’ event heads to Los Angeles

June 13,2009
‘Topokki’ event heads to Los Angeles
Only in Korea would the government put major muscle behind promoting street food. And tteokbokki, the sweet but spicy boiled rice cake that’s omnipresent at food stalls here, is about to get a big boost in the form of an event this weekend in the United States.

The Food Ministry said yesterday it will hold the first Topokki Festival (the ministry has renamed the dish, believing the original is too difficult for foreigners to say) at Home Depot Center, the home field of the LA Galaxy soccer team, in Los Angeles today.

Beyond the typical chili variety, the event, the ministry said, will offer fusion dishes like “pizza topokki” and “teriyaki topokki.” A tteokbokki-eating contest will also be held, along with B-boy and samulnori percussion performances.

The event is a follow-up to the Korean Topokki Festival, held in March in Seoul.

The ministry also announced its Topokki Food Research Institute would sign a memorandum of understanding in August with Johnson and Wales Culinary Arts School, a well-known chef’s college in the United States, to develop more tteokbokki dishes.

“The taste of tteokbokki matches that of many foods in other countries. We believe tteokbokki has potential, more than many other Korean dishes, to be a global food,” said Yun Jae-don, an official at the ministry.

The ministry has committed14 billion won ($11.2 million) to globalize the dish over the next five years.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


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