The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Minister Jeong Hwang-geun, MAFRA) and the Korean Food Promotion Institute (Director Lim Gyeong-sook) announced that they will hold the ‘Hansik One-day Tour for Foreigners’ starting from May 16 through November.
Held to promote food tourism in Korea, the interactive program allows foreign participants to learn how to cook Hansik (Korean food) such as Jang (Korean paste) and Kimchi from chefs and masters.
Last year saw 12 Kimchi-themed events held in six regions nationwide that allowed an estimated 240 foreign participants to experience the nation's kimchi-making culture. The participants posted their experiences on social networks showing a great interest.
This year's event will be held 20 times under the theme ‘Korea's Paste and Kimchi’ based on the high satisfaction reported by the participants last year and eased social distancing restrictions against COVID-19. The May-June program in the first half of the year has the theme ‘Get to Know Korean Jang’ featuring the cultural experience of domestic cuisine with Jang and its various kinds through lectures from chefs and Jongbu ( the wife of the eldest descendent of the head family.
In the first event held at Hansik Space E:eum in Seoul’s Bukchon area on May 16 (Mon.), Yoo Hyun-soo, a celebrity chef who won a Michelin star for the first time in Korea for Korean traditional cuisine demonstrated the process of making fermented soybean paste and ‘Tomato Dongchimi’ (Korean radish water Kimchi with tomatoes) using Jeju’s Jang. Foreign participants also tried their hand at cooking ‘Namul Eo-mandu’ (a half-moon-shaped Mandu prepared with filleted whitefish, and Korean vegetables) with the soybean paste.
Among the participants were staffers from the US Embassy in Korea, international students at Korean colleges and other foreigners of different nationalities, ages and occupations. French TV personality Robin Deiana from the popular JTBC talk show ‘Nonsummit’ also joined the event cooking and trying Korean food together with other participants.
Maria, an international student from the United States, found out about the event through college news and joined the event with her friends. “I had a meaningful time to cook and taste Korean food made with Jang that I have never tried before. I was surprised to see that Jang, known as healthier food, can be used widely in various dishes,” she said.
In the first half of this year, the program will be held twice a day for a combined 10 sessions starting from May 16 until June 13.
The event will be held at local old houses and Jongga (a Korean traditional house in a family that is handed down from the original founder) as well as Hansik Space E:eum. On May 25, Kim Jeong-ok, Jongbu of the Boseong Seon clan, will teach a class on making Jang from Chungcheongbuk-do at Udang House, designated a national heritage of folklore culture, in Boeun-gun. Food researcher and chef Hong Shin Ae's cooking class using paste from the Jeolla-do is slated for May 30 at Korea House in Seoul's Jung-gu. On June 7, chef Ho-Yun Kim will teach how to make Korean food by using Gyeongsang-do's Jang at Manpo Nongsan in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The last class in the first half will be held on June 13 by Kim Do-eun, Jongbu of the Gwangsan Kim clan at Gyeamjeong of Gunja Village, Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
Any foreign national can apply to participate in the event free. More information on the program and the application are available on the website ‘Hansik Portal’ (https://www.hansik.or.kr).
Director General Jeon Han-young of the Food Industry Policy Bureau from MAFRA, said, "We hope that the event is a meaningful time for foreigners to experience a variety of Korean cuisines and get closer to Korea and its food, “ stressing that “we expect that this event will contribute to revitalizing food tourism in Korea, which has been hit hard by COVID-19.”