A world of culture in culinary treasures

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A world of culture in culinary treasures


Culinary tour participants enjoy Korean food at a restaurant in downtown Seoul. Provided by O’ngo Food Communications

Experiencing a country’s culinary scene is as important in understanding its culture - if not more so - as visiting landmarks or museums, according to Daniel Gray.

As chief of marketing and tours at O’ngo Food Communications, which was founded in 2007, Gray conducts two to three culinary tours a week in Seoul for expats and visitors.

“We started the tours this March to introduce people to the culture of Korea through the food,” he said. “You can learn so many things from someone’s eating habits.”

For example, Gray said one of the things that strikes foreigners as odd is the order of courses in Korea, in which the rice is served last, especially at Korean barbecue restaurants.

“They are also surprised to see how Koreans always share food while sitting down to eat,” he said.

The company currently runs three kinds of culinary tours - a night dining tour, a Korea taste tour and a Korean fish market tour.

Gray says the night dining tour, centering on the Jongno-3-ga area in downtown Seoul, is their most popular.

For 80,000 won ($70.03) per person, participants in the night dining tour get to experience Seoul’s nightlife through food, eating Korean barbecue, homemade makgeolli (traditional rice wine) and going to tent restaurants serving such foods as live octopus or pork skin.

The fish market tour takes visitors to Noryangjin Fish Market, while the Korea taste tour (a day tour) takes participants to the traditional tea houses and temple food restaurants of Insa-dong and Samcheong-dong.

Along with these tours around Seoul, Gray says the company is also thinking about organizing more out-of-town trips in the future.

For more information, visit www.ongofood.com.

By Cho Jae-eun [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
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