My favorite classification of food in the world is Asian Food–Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, you name it. Filipino food is, of course, a given having grown up with it (shout out #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines!) but whenever I crave for something exciting, I always think of Korean food. It's not the easiest food to love. I know a lot of people who can't take the distinct and strong smell of kimchi (김치, a traditional Korean dish made of fermented spiced vegetables) and the piercing spiciness of gochujang (고추장, Korean hot pepper paste). But a lot of people, like me, have found just how delicious Korean food is! So going to the first Hansik Holiday Festival in Los Angeles was right up my alley!
The event was held at The Wilshire Hotel in Koreatown and attended by such a varied audience that attended to support not just the art of Korean Food, but also the festival's beneficiary, Salvation Army. I arrived just as the welcome speech by Consul General Shin Yun Sung from the Korean Consulate General and President of Commission of Hansik Globalization America, Mr. Cho Byung Duck was finishing. All around the ballroom were subtle and interesting displays of Korean culture that I liked. There were tables that held different Korean dishes, which were overflowing the entire night for all the guests to have a taste (more than a taste, actually); easily my favorite part of the Festival!
They served two kinds of kimchi, as well as a bibimbap table, pajeon (my favorite!), beef galbi, bulgogi, kimbap, dduk beokki, rice cakes, japchae and also different kinds of Korean wine. I was so full just sampling all the food, that I was glad of the night's interesting program. There were cooking demonstrations from three top chefs:
The first demonstration was Korean chef Jenee Kim who owns Park BBQ and Laon Dining, who showed how to make the traditional dishes japchae and bulgogi.
The second was from executive chef and author Bernard Guillas who presented his fusion version of Royal Dduk Bokki, which he serves in his restaurant, the Marine Room in La Jolla, CA. I was able to meet and talk with him after his demonstration where he served one of his special cakes made of hibiscus! It tasted incredible! His book, Flying Pans, was being sold at the event and every purchase counts toward the night's beneficiary as well. I wish I bought it, even if I don't cook, because it's a travel cookbook with recipes from all around the world.
(For more photos of Chef Bernard Guillas, you can check my Flickr!)
The last demonstration was by Fox TV's MasterChef, Sharone Hakman, who made a fusion Korean Pear Caprese, braised Galbi using his own Hak's BBQ sauce and a cucumber soju martini. I enjoyed his demonstration since he got a volunteer from the guests to help him.
In between and after the demonstrations were various performances of traditional Korean dances, also my favorite parts of the night. I saw the Korean Fan Dance and Korean Sword Dance by the Jung Im Lee Dance Academy. The guests were also entertained by Las Vegas performer Barry Cohen singing American Standards and the Yerak Fusion Ensemble that capped off the night just before the final silent auction.
All throughout the Festival, the good to be auctioned off were displayed along the hall of the ballroom for everyone to place bids on. The proceeds of the auction would go to Salvation Army, "to help less fortunate families during the holidays". They were received by Joseph Callahan, the Corporate & Community Relations Manager of the Salvation Army.
It was the first event of its kind that I was able to attend in LA. I was glad of all the different kinds of entertainment, and also how the cooking demonstrations were performed not just by Korean top chefs, but chefs of other acclaim, which showed just how appreciated Korean cuisine is. As additional proof, I was pleasantly surprised that most of the guests weren't Korean. I think that in this aspect, they were able to promote Korean cuisine and culture to a different range of people than usual. Often times when there is a festival particular to a country, the attendees are people from that culture too, but it's really a mark of the event's success when people who would otherwise not be interested get to attend the event and enjoy themselves so that they in turn become interested.
The Festival was organized by the Hanin Spirit Foundation and its CEO and Founder Cathlyn Choi. Along with her partner, Eric Michelson, they started the Foundation with a few committed volunteers to create awareness of and promote healthy Korean food and culture within the US.
Going to Hansik Holiday Festival made me think a lot about Filipino food and culture too. I can't wait to attend events that celebrate Filipino cuisine (because it's awesome!) and like HansikAmerica.org, make the cuisine available and interesting to more people! It's certainly one way to feel connected to the Philippines, and I can imagine how proud Ms. Choi must be to present Korean cuisine to all those who attended. One thing's for sure, you can't deny good food, and I'm certain that everyone who was there gained a new, if not greater, appreciation of Hansik, the Taste of Korea.
I have more photos from the event on my Flickr album. Yup, this is one of my new systems, which is to use my Flickr more and upload better pictures. Hopefully I can blog better because of it too. So, don't be surprised if I start blogging a lot, because I was definitely lazy about it in 2011!
* This post is written by Klarisse Gepilano, one of the Korea Blog's Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
Source : blog.korea.net/?p=733... ( English Korean )
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