En-vogue, trendy, and the ‘‘big new cuisine’’ on the culinary circuit….everyone is talking about Korean food. This delicate Asian cuisine is making waves around the world as a healthy, tasty and social dining option. Food is spearheading Hallyu– the Korean wave of popular culture that has spent a decade slowly spreading to distant shores. The adoption and acceptance of a foreign cuisine, more often than not, reflects the growing popularity of the destination in a tourism context. This north Asian powerhouse is now seen as a unique place to visit by Europeans, who are now more aware of the country’s cultural traits and characteristics.
Over the last two years, the glitterati of the culinary world have started to touch down in Seoul, ready to experience everything from street food to temple cuisine, and to see first-hand how key dishes are prepared. They come to open the lid, in both a metaphorical and physical sense, of the onggi clay pots that are filled with an assortment of fermented sauces and condiments: red bean paste, soybean paste, soy sauce – all essential ingredients in the making of Korean dishes with a traceable lineage dating back thousands of years. These research trips have led to new restaurants opening up in the UK and a few Korean-inspired fusion menus and pop-up food stalls appearing in some of London’s hippest districts.
Galvin at Windows is one of London’s most popular Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants, perched atop the London Hilton Park Lane, commanding unrivalled views of the capital. The talented team behind Galvin at Windows are the most recent high-profile professionals to visit Korea to undertake a culinary research trip. The only difference from other similar visits is that the restaurant’s Head Chef Joo Won is Korean, and he is passionate to show his mentor and chef patron, Chris Galvin, and Frederic Sirieux (head waiter and media personality) the food of his upbringing and how it can inspire the restaurant menu.
The team will experience the buzz of Korea’s night markets and street food stalls, dine out at some of the city’s best restaurants, learn about traditional medicine, understand the true essence and origins of various Korean flavours and also have time to visit Seoul’s key landmarks. On their return, Galvin at Windows will create a special Korean-inspired menu to run in the restaurant during August as well as having their own version of a pop-up Korean stall set up as if on a small street cart, for guests to enjoy. The new menu in August will coincide with the Korea Tourism Organisation’s ‘‘Imagine Your Korea Day’’ taking place in London’s Trafalgar Square, which is a celebration of Korean culture expected to attract up to thirty thousand visitors across the day. This day of celebration will be worthy of saying Gambe, whilst holding one of Galvin’s Korean-inspired cocktails that will be served in their bar and run in conjunction with their special menu!