Dan-jang-zi-gye Vs. Bamboo Ice CreamRecently, fusion culture has become very popular all over the world. It would not be a exaggeration to say that fusion, which was once an underground culture, has influenced, not only the art world, but also interior design and even automobiles. Fusion has even influenced food culture, which can be luxurious and premium culture.
As the popularity of fusion food increases, there are many new types of food that I have not even tried before. On a business trip to the US, I was able to try an ice cream dish made with bamboo at an elegant French Bistro. In addition, many of my friends told me about Korean Cucumber Kimchi, which is popular in the US as a health food. The Cucumber Kimchi sold in the US has been "localized" by eliminating the hot chili pepper, one of the main seasoning to be accepted by the local palettes.
I believe these trends are driven by people's curiosity as the world becomes closer. Of course these trends are very positive because it provides wider selection of choices for everyone. Working in Kangnam, I am presented with many opportunities to visit new restaurants including fusion restaurants with my colleagues or business contacts. The unique interior design of these restaurants makes me feel as if I'm on a new expedition, which enhances the enjoyment of dinning. It is natural for Seoul to have many of these fusion restaurants considering that Seoul is one of the leaders in setting the world trends.
However, personally my favorite is Dan-jang-zi-gye (soy bean soup) and Kimchi. Foreigners usually pick Kalbi, Bulgogi, and Kimchi as their favorite Korean food. The unique taste of Korean food is so attractive that once you get into it, it's impossible to stay away. Nothing compares to mixing your rice with Dan-jang-zi-gye and eating it with well-seasoned Kimchi added on top. The taste of Kimchi noodles, made by boiling Kimchi and noodles together, is also irresistible; not to mention beef barbequed on charcoal, which is another of my favorite. Although fusion is unique, to me traditional cuisine definitely has my vote.
A while ago, a friend of mine, who has worked in Korea for six months, came back from a business trip. The first thing he did was to go to the airport restaurant to have Yookgyejang. Korean food has become the most enjoyable part of his life during the six months in Korea.
It is little disappointing that Korean food, that's so great has not been widely introduced. I believe that traditional Korean food has the potential to become popular all over the world like the Italian pizza. Traditional food is a good cultural heritage that should be shared with people throughout the world.
* ******* Wayne Chumley is the president of DaimlerChrysler Korea.
by Wayne Chumley