Hansik (Hangul: 한식) – Korean food.
Korean food shows are popular these days and I find myself eagerly watching them. Part of my fascination with Korean cooking shows is that there is an unfortunate void of Korean spots to eat where I live. At some point, every Korean drama features food being deliciously consumed. Koreans even greet one another with, “Have you eaten?” and show their concern with, “Don’t skip any meals.” Korean life is, in large part, its food.
Here are highlights from a new Korean food show, Hansik: Taste of Korea – 2015 Global Taste of Korea Contest. Today’s Korean hosts visit Norway and Vietnam (episode 1). They meet the entrants of the preliminaries held in each country who have aspirations to win a chance to compete in a cook-off in Korea. Taste of Korea is a lighthearted combination of travel and meeting local people who have come to love Korean food enough to try their hand at making it.
Our hosts visit Norway and meet with several contestants in their hometowns.
Sixteen year-old twins Tuva and Uda love Korean food and k-pop music. Tuva shares a recipe and will travel to Oslo for the cooking competition. She demonstrates how to make bibimbap. If she wins, she and her sister get excited just thinking about the possibility of visiting Korea to cook and perhaps see their favorite k-pop group, BIGBANG.
Petter Maehlum makes homemade kimchi and whips up a pot of sujebi (dough flake soup). He has visited Korea as an exchange student, and hopes to win a chance to compete in Korea with his cooking skills and specially acquired ingredients.
Yvonne prepares traditional Korean dishes along with famous Norwegian salmon. The spread for the guests is charming and bright. As Yvonne prepares and serves food, bits and pieces of her story of being adopted and finding her Korean family many years later is shared.
The competition is stiff with a dozen or so chefs-in-the-making vying for the opportunity to represent their country. The judges are serious but impressed, especially since Korean food is not as well-known in Northern Europe. This global competition hopes to spread the love of Korean food.
Beautiful presentations and tasty ingredients make it difficult for the judges to come to a decision on a winner.
Tuva wins honorable mention as the youngest participant. In the end, it is Petter’s homemade acorn jelly that wows the judges. As the winner of Norway’s Korean cooking competition, he will travel to Seoul for the final international competition.
Next stop ~ Hanoi, Vietnam. Hosts Lee Seulji and Chef Jay Cho meet many Vietnamese who are crazy about k-pop, Korean food, and delicious Korean spices. They visit a Korean cooking class that cooks up tasty rice cakes and gujeolpan – a royal platter of nine delicacies.
Phan Ahn, a professional food blogger, and Danh Duoc, an aspiring chef, are among the competitors. Mr. Duoc challenges Chef Cho to an onion slicing competition and wins! The hosts wish him well in the upcoming preliminaries.
The participants each select a dish to make among four Korean dishes. The atmosphere is ambitious, and the chefs work hard in hopes of being selected as Vietnam’s representative. Chef Cho gives some tips on being successful: simple ingredients, creativity, and adaptability.
Once again, the judges are challenged to select just one winner whose food is the most impressive.
Phan Ahn’s lovely dish that combined the lotus flower, the symbol of Vietnam, with a traditional Korean dish won for its beauty and harmony.
You can watch the first episode (approximately an hour) in its entirety at:
I am looking forward to the next countries Hansik Taste of Korea will visit!