Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kimchi Among Trendy Food in U.K. in 2013

Kimchi was put on a list of trendy foods for next year in an article published by the Daily Mail's food writer Anne Shooter on Saturday.

"Fermented Korean cabbage, or Kimchi, is gracing all sorts of menus," she wrote, adding that it has become available as a side dish at noodle restaurants in London. "Definitely an acquired taste and it makes your fridge smell scary," she added.

Shooter said in recent years posh burger bars have popped up everywhere in London and "now it's the turn of the humble hot dog to go gourmet."

She also forecast the rise of "bacon chocolate bars," taking a cue from Britain’s transatlantic cousins in the U.S. where chocolate bars infused with bacon bits have become popular. Meanwhile, in the U.K., a bunch of books with recipes for bacon brownies have been published.

Sriracha, a Thai paste made of chili, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is also likely to see demand grow in the U.K., she said.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Train Tour Offers Chance to Enjoy Magical Winter Scenery

Seungbu Station, a tiny train stop in a small village called Bonghwa in North Gyeongsang Province, is renowned for having the most breathtaking winter scenery in the region.

If you're planning on driving there, you'd better leave your car behind and hop on a train at Cheongnyangni Station in eastern Seoul as Seungbu Station sits in a part of Korea that is tough to reach by road. Trains have been ferrying tourists there since 1999 during the winter and offer better views than if traveling by car.

"People come here to enjoy nature at its purest due to all the beautiful, untouched scenery, and they get a pleasant surprise as soon as they step off the train," Kim Jin-hee, who manages the train station, said in a heavy Gyeongsang accent.

Instead of fancy restaurants and attractions, visitors immediately find themselves surrounded by nature. The area is so quiet that the only sound to be heard at this time of year is that of the snow being crushed under your feet. Before long, the frozen Nakdong River comes into view in front of the station, as well as the mountain on the far side of it blanketed in white snow.

As such majestic scenery slowly reveals itself, it becomes apparent that Kim was not exaggerating and there's something special about Seungbu Station.

A monument from which travelers can enjoy the views of the surrounding scenery is located about 50m from the station. The hill on which it sits also affords a picturesque view of the snow-covered station, especially when trains pass through a tunnel there.

KORAIL runs special trains to Seungbu Station through December and January. For more details, log on to its website (

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tom cruise to become honorary Busan citizen

Tom Cruise

Hollywood stardom Tom Cruise is becoming an honorary citizen of Busan, city officials said Tuesday.

The actor, who will be in the southern port city this week to promote action movie “Jack Reacher,” will be awarded a certificate of honorary citizenship by Busan Mayor Hur Nam-sik at the Busan Cinema Center on Thursday. Female lead Rosamund Pike and director Christopher McQuarrie will also be awarded honorary citizenship.

"The visit of a top star and director will contribute to promoting Busan's status as the center of Asia for film," said a city official. “The city has decided to award the honorary citizenship to Cruise in recognition of his contribution to the industry.”

It will be the sixth time for Cruise to come to Korea but the first time he is visiting a city other than Seoul.

Busan has decided to host the promotional event to accept Cruise’s wishes to meet fans outside of the capital.

A large number of foreign celebrities head to the city during the Busan International Film Festival but it is the first time event for a red carpet premiere to be held there.

“Jack Reacher” is the story of a homicide investigator who digs into a case involving a trained military sniper that shot five random victims. It will be released on Jan. 17.

Chinese woman who loves Korea so much

Cui Penghua

Without any notice in advance, anybody would think that she is a Korean ― Cui Penghua, an ethnic Han Chinese, not merely speaks perfect Korean but also looks like an ordinary Korean.

She majored in Japanese in Beijing International Studies University but opted to head toward Korea in 2002, affected by her love for Korean dramas that gained great popularity back then in the world’s most populous country.

Now, she is better known by her Korean name Choi Ji-hye and works for the Institute of Global Management (IGM), as a guest consultant in Korea. She plans to tie the knot with a Korean this year.

“I studied Korean like crazy. In addition to studying at Yonsei University, I just talked to people next to me on subways to learn Korean. In most cases, they were very kind,” Cui said.

“Nowadays, nobody tells me that I am good at Korean; maybe because they think I am a Korean. Even in China, people there ask me at first sight whether I am a Korean.”

Asked why she studied that hard, she said that she was just attracted to the country.

“I hoped to know many things about Korea. Maybe, the Korean dramas I liked so much generated my interest in this country where I would live most of my life,” she said.

“I brought my younger sister and she is now practicing Korean. Originally, my parents did not like the decision but they are now fine with it.”

Her intriguing story is not just about the language but also about her efforts to build a bridge between her homeland and Korea.

Cui specialized in international trade at Myonggi University and got aboard a Seoul affiliate of a global hotel chain before joining IGM in 2009 as an expert on Chinese matters.

Recently, Cui published a book titled “Aha, China!” with which the 30-year-old attempted to let Korean entrepreneurs understand what they need in order to succeed in the country.

“Many Korean businesspeople fail in China and one of the biggest problems is that they cannot understand the Chinese people, including employees, customers and government officials,” she said.

“If they can address the problems, their success rate would substantially rise ― although all of them will not hit the jackpot, many would take firm root there.”

Cui took an example of appropriately managing Chinese employees and giving incentives to them so that they will work hard.

“Some Korean firms tend to put their own people in executive positions and do not give Chinese employees the chance to be promoted to the spots. That is not the right way to do business in China,” she said.

“An increasing number of young Chinese care more about their positions tomorrow rather than monetary remuneration today. Not given opportunities to be promoted, they might lack sufficient motivation.”

With the help of fully-committed Chinese workers, Cui said that Korean businesses would be able to better understand officials and customers there.

“Both marketing and guanxi are all about getting a better knowledge of the Chinese people. Korean firms need to better understand them and their culture,” she said.

Guanxi refers to the dynamic influence of human networks, particularly in Chinese politics and the government. The general belief is that such networks bear as much significance as official procedures in the country.