[FOUNTAIN]Food is the tip of the icebergDwaejigukbap is a dish indigenous to Busan and other areas in South Gyeongsang province.
The dish, rice in pork broth served with a variety of garnishes, is very popular in the province. Dwaejigukbap restaurants once could be found everywhere there. But Koreans living in other areas are not very familiar with the name of this dish, partly because most other Korean dishes that use pork broth use stock that is much thicker. Dishes made with clear pork broth are more easily found in Japan, where pork stock is often the vehicle for Japanese noodles. Kyushu, the Japanese island closest to Korea, is famous for pork stock made with pork bones. Maybe dwaejigukbap exemplifies Korea-Japan food exchange.
"Turkish coffee," a thick coffee made by boiling ground unskinned coffee beans in a small pot, originated in the Arabian Peninsula. The beverage was spread through the Turkish Empire after Turkey conquered parts of Arabia.
The coffee can also be found in the Balkan Peninsula, but bearing different names. In Greece, this coffee is called "Greek coffee," in Bulgaria, it's called "Bulgarian coffee." In the area that made up the former Yugoslavia, it's called "Serbian coffee." People in these areas apparently do not drink Turkish coffee. Maybe that name reminds the Balkans of history they want to forget. Whatever the reason for not using the term "Turkish coffee," the historical fact that the beverage originated in the Arabian Peninsula and was spread around the world by the Turks is irrefutable.
Greeks enjoy souvlakia, meat charcoaled on a stick, as much as Koreans enjoy bulgogi, broiled marinated beef. Actually, souvlakia is an alteration of shish kebab, a Turkish dish. Shish kebab was originally a dish of Arab nomads, which was taken even as far as Brazil via the southern part of Spain, which was once ruled by Arabs. Churrasco, a Brazilian dish, is very similar to shish kebab.
When groups have contacts, they inevitably exchange their cultures, no matter what their sentiment toward each other is. The history of food is evidence of this.
Japanese Emperor Akihito said recently that the roots of the ancient monarchy of Japan are linked to royal families of the Baekjae, a Korean kingdom that existed until the 7th century. Korea and Japan have a relationship that goes back thousands of years. We should not be surprised that exchanges took place. Emperor Akihito's remark is well-intended, so we should not scoff at it as a reiteration of what Koreans have known for a long time.
The writer is a deputy international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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