May perhaps 10, 2022
SEOUL – The fame of “K-food” was not constructed in a day.
Korean cuisine, an vital part of the country’s delicate electricity along with K-pop and K-dramas that have a comparatively shorter historical past, dates again centuries, with published documents of it going again to the A few Kingdoms period (57 BC–AD 668).
In metropolitan cities, wonderful dining dining places that serve ornate modern Korean cuisines and compact eateries with chunk-sized Korean snacks are effortless to discover. Even so, sites that provide common foods in manners and type that Korean ancestors applied to love are hard to locate.
Fortuitously, there are all those who are committed to researching, recording and passing down the traditions of Korean delicacies. One this sort of person is Search engine optimisation Myeong-whan, a foodstuff researcher and CEO of Mijeoggamgag, a food items consulting and cooking class middle.
“My work is distinct from that of usual cooks or food scientists. I recommend and instruct cafe entrepreneurs, cooks, apprentices and novices who search for the unique and standard Korean foodstuff,” said Search engine optimization on a recent afternoon at Mijeoggamgag in Yeonhui-dong, northern Seoul, for the duration of an job interview with The Korea Herald.
For above 20 yrs, Web optimization has been educating and advising primary entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and persons who just want to cook Korean foods in the classic way.
“When I was youthful, my father often took a spoonful of home made soy sauce right before starting up his meal. The suitable quantity of saltiness stimulated his hunger and aided digestion,” he said.
Born in Jinju and elevated in Tongyeong, both equally in South Gyeongsang Province, Search engine optimization explained what appeared to be an every day apply at his family’s dining table held the wisdom of the elders that he only recognized later though studying Korean food items.
Seo commenced working at a significant Korean cafe in Jinju in the late 1990s. Anytime Search engine marketing, an apprentice cook dinner, experimented with to discover out and document the recipes, the chefs would yell at him, maintaining the understanding and know-how to themselves.
“They informed me that the kitchen is a place to get the job done, not to understand. But I was particular that there had been a lot of beginners who wished to see and master the specific recipes, phase by phase. After function, I started out digging into outdated Korean culinary archives and recipe publications,” he reported.
Search engine optimisation would vacation far to get his hands on outdated textbooks on common cuisine. Among them are rewritten versions of those people initially recorded in the 1670s.
Seo’s cooking classes heart all-around a few themes — fermented foodstuff, seasonal food and tteok.
“Fermented foodstuff and sauces, this sort of as kimchi, jeotgal, ganjang and doenjang, are the primary sources that give special flavors to Korean meals. But some Michelin-starred Korean eating places nowadays do not spend notice to building appropriate fermented sauces, which is peaceful ironic,” he stated.
When instructing cooking courses, Website positioning emphasizes the relevance of time and persistence included in the method of earning fermented food items, which he calls the 1st and the very last move of a “decent Korean dish.”
As for seasonal food stuff, Seo pointed out that his cooking lessons for the future yr will concentrate on many namul, followed by this year’s target on jang.
Our ancestors did not eat namul uncooked, because of to the poisonous features that keep on being when not rinsed or heated thoroughly, Search engine optimization explained. Cooking namul properly so as to not damage the freshness of the substances and its dietary price is a hard skill to grasp, he extra.
Search engine optimisation holds 6 classes, each individual with 5 learners, a 12 months at Mijeoggamgag and finds that foreigners who join the courses have a knack for understanding seasonal meals and substances.
“When it will come to namul, it’s not a matter of getting prior awareness about Korean food stuff. It is critical to have keen senses to odor the scent and style the texture without any prejudice,” Seo said.
Tteok retains a specific meaning for Web optimization. As a child, he did not like glutinous rice cakes. “I hated the sticky texture as a child, and was not a fan of sweets both,” he explained. But researching Korean traditional foods, he discovered that in rich households, tteok was aspect of one’s lifestyle from the day of delivery till loss of life.
“I preferred to make tteok that I could take pleasure in, people that are quick to swallow, and considerably less sweet,” he stated. He also learned that standard tteok was meant to be considerably less chewy and instead nutty and humble on the palate.
“I fully grasp that contemporary tteok cafes these days are creating them as sweets, at times served with ice product toppings to target the youthful technology. But I also hope that classic tteok bakeries can coexist,” he reported.
When questioned for his definition of classic Korean meals, Seo’s facial area lit up.
“I study each day. The additional I read, Korean dishes seem to be an endless issue mark to me, somewhat than an exclamation mark,” Website positioning reported, incorporating that he is nevertheless in the process of figuring it out. “Sometimes I desire I could time travel to the Joseon era to encounter its culinary lifestyle myself, but that is only in my goals. Alternatively than defining (what traditional Korean foodstuff is), I hope I can get an inch nearer to representing the primary dishes.”