Korea Food Culture Program - A Window Into the Korean Culture

by Paul Hussey - Itaewon-Hannam Global Village Center, 01/02/2012

Korean culture is quite unique, especially in its approach to food. Food seems to permeate every aspect of life. If you have watched a Korean drama or movie you have surely noticed many scenes in which people are eating. There are even entire films and dramas based around Korean cuisine. For Koreans, food is much more than something to fill the belly – it provides taste, good health, and a connection to the country.
Many people have had the chance to experience cooking Korean dishes through cooking classes or simply by following recipes at home. The Itaewon Global Village Center has also been offering Korean cooking classes and they’re one of our most popular programs.

However, a one-time cooking class is too short to actually learn much about Korean food culture. With this kind of class you only get a very superficial understanding of one particular dish. What is really interesting though, and helpful for you in your life in Korea, is to learn about things like the main sauces and seasonings used in Korean cooking, what ingredients are available here, and where Koreans go to buy the ingredients they use.

So the Itaewon Global Village Center is again offering a more in-depth series of Korean cooking and food culture classes consisting of a traditional market tour with an expert food culture guide, followed by 6 cooking classes in which participants will not only learn how to cook different Korean dishes but also learn about the distinctive characteristics of Korean food.

For the first part of the series, the traditional market tour, DANIEL GRAY of O’ngo Food Communications and creator of the popular food blog Seoul Eats will lead us on a tour of Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest markets in Seoul. This market has a wide variety of cooking ingredients, utensils, ready-made Korean side dishes, and street food vendors.

Daniel will lead us through the different areas of the market and explain some of the main ingredients used in Korean cooking. He can also let you know where you can find particular ingredients that you may be looking for to make your favorite dishes at home, or which Korean ingredients might make suitable substitutes for ones you normally use. 

For classes 2 through 6, participants will learn about Korean food culture through presentations and cooking classes. Around 10 different Korean dishes will be introduced from deserts to royal cuisine. These classes will be at the Rinnai Cooking Academy near Hongik University subway station.

Then for the final class, we will make a trip to the Kimchi museum to learn about all about kimchi. We will also make two kinds of kimchi to take home and enjoy. Kimchi is the most well-known of Korean foods, and most expats have tried at least a couple of varieties. However, there are over 200 kinds of kimchi in Korea and there is a lot to learn about this very important staple food if you want to truly understand Korean food culture.

The classes will be every Tuesday 10am-1pm from February 14th to March 27th, starting with the market tour on the 14th. There is  an 80,000 won participation fee which covers all 7 sessions. To register, please  come in person to the center and for more information please contact us at itaewon@sba.seoul.kr or 02) 2199-8884


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