1. Food
Naomi Imatome-Yun

The Plan to Globalize Korean Food

By October 17, 2008

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The Korean government just unveiled a new plan to promote Korean cuisine to one of world's most popular by 2017. The military-sounding "culinary globalization plan" will cost the government millions of dollars in their effort.

I love Korean food with a passion, but this plan seems absolutely bonkers to me. Perhaps it's because I'm American-born and couldn't imagine living without kimchi or bagels or pizza, but I also think the government is going about it the wrong way. The Asian foods that are really popular in America (Chinese, Japanese, Thai) found their way into American hearts and stomachs with Americanized versions first (Chinese takeout, California rolls, ketchup-flavored pad thai). So the government's plan to internationalize the cuisine while focusing on traditional preparations seems backwards to me.

My recommendation? Start the plan off with soju (which is quickly becoming popular in America), open soju bars (without flourescent lighting) with karaoke, serve fusion anju (drinking snacks), and you won't be able to keep them away.


October 22, 2008 at 7:27 am
(1) Kang Heejin says:

By “internationalization” do you simply mean they want to make it popular in the usa? or do you mean the world? From the post, it looked like you were just talking about the u.s…. As for whether adapting to local food tastes or keeping it traditional? Well, I live in Japan and would kill to be able to walk into the so-called korean restaurants and be able to eat real korean food, korean style but it’s hard to find :( So I am slightly more inclined to the traditional approach …

October 23, 2008 at 10:41 pm
(2) Naomi says:

The Korean government’s plan/hope is to make it one of the most popular cuisines in the world in 10 years (click on the link within the blog text to read the Korean Times article). I was just speaking about Korean food in America because that’s where I live, but I’m sure you see a different scene and issues since you live in Japan where Korean food (even the Japanized version) is very popular already. Korean food is popular in certain cities in the U.S., but the majority of them really cater to the Korean-American population or to those already familiar with the cuisine. To engage a mainstream audience for Korean food here is definitely possible, I think, since recently Thai and Vietnamese food have become popular, but I think it will take 1. time and 2. a change in restaurant management and style.

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