Korean food is unique and includes fermented food like kimchi. Photo: Jakub Kapusnak

Korean wave of tastiness

Over the last few months, I have been on a journey of discovery for new horizons – it happened at the start of the year when I thought that I need to change direction and add a small challenge to my life.

Hence I started to learn Korean (I am still in the very early stages of understanding the structure of the language) and fell in love with the language, history (very interesting) and culture.

Now, I am not into K-pop and K-dramas but I love the art and food of the country. Learning the language and culture of a country should always include food – most of the time food comes first actually.

Lately, Hallyu (The Korean Wave) is everywhere with K-pop playing an important part and the Koran Embassy in Dublin is very much aware of the interest people have in all things Korean for the last number of years. I was delighted to be able to attend the Cultural Talk and Food Festival organised by the embassy with the Ambassador in attendance.

The talk was well attended and I learned a lot more about Korea but when the food festival opened, I was surrounded by a huge crowd that all wanted to taste the country.

Just before the opening, the founder of Jagu (awesome kimchi maker) demonstrated how kimchi is made and I might just give it a try. I was lucky to have gotten some food (I couldn’t stay as long as had liked to I as had a train to catch) but I tried my first corn dog (very tasty) by Jagu (the team has several markets in Dublin) and pickled onions from Mu Pickles (Saturday market in Pearse St. and Sunday at Herbert Park). Mr T demolished the jar of pickled onions I took home with me just getting a few morsels.

I also learned that we have a Korean supermarket in Dublin called Coreana (Little Britain Street, Smithfield) – I love their website and will use it to learn Korean vocabulary. They had loads of goodies to purchase on the day but silly me, I never brought any bags with me.

I couldn’t get my hands on the marinated eggs and didn’t even get close to the rice balls (I think I am getting too shy for my own good). But I was able to taste bokbunja-um, a brewed raspberry wine that was utterly delicious and I will definitely buy again.

I also wish I had been able to try bekseju, a rice wine (it’s called healthy rice wine – so I really have to try it soon) and also a Korean sweet rose which has won a few awards already.

Over the next few weeks and months, I will hopefully learn more about the food (I’ve already gotten a cookbook in my collection) and learn more about the wonderfully interesting culture of the country.

Would I like to go and visit the country? Absolutely – but for now it’s only a dream. What I am concentrating on now is to learn more about the food and a trip to Dublin is the best next thing with a visit to either Drunken Fish or Seoul Kitchen restaurants being the best next thing to a flight to Korea.