Thursday, September 22, 2011

Korean culinary delights fascinate Indian gourmets

The Korean Food Festival is being held in India at the branches of the Taj hotel chain, one of India’s largest and finest hotel chains. The festival is co-hosted with the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI) to introduce a rich selection of luscious and healthy Korean cuisine, under the auspices of the Korean Embassy in India and Hyundai Motor Company.

The showcase of Korean culinary delights was made possible as a follow-up to Hemant Oberoi’s visit to Korea last year. Oberoi, a culinary maestro of Indian cuisine and Grand Executive Chef of the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, attended the “Culture 20” (C20) side event held in conjunction with the G20 Seoul Summit last November where he fell for Korean food, known as Hansik. During his visit to Seoul, the Indian chef held a talk with First Lady Kim Yoon-ok, who has actively promoted the country’s traditional cuisine, and promised her he would host an event to introduce Korean culinary traditions in his home country. After one year of preparation, the event finally came to take place in the hotel-owned restaurant in Mumbai from September 14 to 17, and in New Delhi from September 21 to 24.

Throughout the festival, the hotel restaurants put up a buffet of Korean culinary delights for lunch and served specialties including samgyetang (chicken soup stuffed with rice, ginseng, and dates) for dinner.

Korean chefs Park Hee-don and Han Chul-bae came all the way to India for the week-long collaboration with Master Chef Oberoi. Customized menus for vegetarians have also been made available to better meet local tastes and preferences.

“A lot of Indians still consider kimchi as a Chinese dish,” said Chef Oberoi. He added that he wishes to further promote Korea’s rich culinary heritage, sprouting with healthy ingredients and rich flavors.

“It is the first time that Korean food is being introduced in a five-star hotel restaurant in India and I have been looking forward to introducing Korean cuisine in India, home to a 1.2-billion population,” said Choi Jung-hwa, head of CICI, “India is slowly but steadily witnessing an increasing presence of Korean food, and more Indian magazines start to cover Korean cuisine for its special features.”


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