Talking Kimchi @ TED

10 Jul

Joe McPherson Props to Joe McPherson for his maiden TED@Seoul presentation, The Meteoric Rise of Korean Food. I hope he does more of these TED Talks in the future.

A few points:

1. I really appreciated the examples of how South Koreans and non-Koreans are innovating with everyday favorites and bringing back old styles.

2. China vs. Japan.

I have always been impressed with how Chinese food vendors adapt to local needs. The prime example for me came from a summer when I worked in a Chinese restaurant owned by a pair of Taiwan-born siblings in Annapolis, Maryland. The menu featured the usual troika of Cantonese, Hunan, and Szechuan standards. But, for our own lunch – employees and owners ate three meals together a day – the Taiwan-born cooks prepared standard Taiwanese food that was completely different from the menu choices. In Busan, the same menu standards are again a bit different. On the other hand, sushi bars never seem to deviate from a norm. Korean cuisine seems to be following both courses.

3. I first ate Korean food – 아구찜 (Spicy Braised Monkfish and Bean Sprouts) in Maryland at a restaurant that catered to Korean-Americans. There was a sushi bar on one half of the restaurant floor, and the same gas-fired grills on the other side of the floor. Most of the customers were at the sushi bar, even the Korean-Americans. The Korean menu was huge, but it seemed as if most of the business came from the Japanese food.

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