Hong Kong food critic Chua Lam is the definitive voice on all things related to food.
On top of that, he has visited Korea more than a hundred times to understand and love its cuisine more than any other connoisseur!
Having written more than 100 books on dining and travel, Chua Lam enjoys great prestige as a food critic. In 2007, he published a book in Hong Kong about Korean cuisine.
This trip was made amidst growing interest in Korean cuisine in order to develop a menu for Chinese tourists.
Before the cuisine adventure begins, Chua Lam is treated to a traditional Korean meal.
[Interview : Choung Byoung-gug, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism] "They say Korea is the only country where people eat porridge as appetizers".
[Interview : Chua Lam, Food Critic Hong Kong] "Porridge can protect the stomach lining when taken before alcohol. It is a traditional Korean food culture based on scientific grounds".
Korean cuisine is a delight for the eyes as well as the stomach!
[Interview : Yim Ji-ho, Food expert and restaurant owner] "Chua Lam has visited Korea over a hundred times. He loves Korean food and has contributed to the globalization of Korean cuisine. I was inspired by this to create dishes which mix tradition with innovation, thus doing my part to globalize Korean cuisine".
Showing great hospitality, the minister himself explains the origins of the various dishes and how they should be eaten.
The dishes have shown what Korean traditions are like and how they can be modernized. This will allow us to show the people of China, which has a rich food culture, what Korean cuisine is like. This would contribute to the globalization of Korean food.
Over the course of two days, Chua Lam is to taste various Korean dishes in 11 traditional restaurants.
His first menu is the hanjeongsik[한정식] or the Korean course meal which comprises a variety of royal cuisine.
Chua Lam loves yukhoe[육회], a dish he often recommends to his friends.
[Interview : Chua Lam, Food Critic Hong Kong] "The yukhoe is marinated with a variety of seasonings. The pear, garlic and the other spices form a harmony on the palate".
Chua Lam is accompanied on this trip by reporters from a famous Hong Kong magazine, which is expected to feature a special coverage on Korean cuisine in July.
Even before tasting, the reporters instantly fall in love with the beauty of Korean cuisine.
[Interview : Wing Yam, Reporter Weekendweeky Magazine] "The colors convey the strong flavor of the dish even before tasting".
Chua Lam also takes photographs of the food in order to upload them on his homepage and twitter.
The numbers of countries he has visited and dishes he has tasted are countless.
[Interview : ] ""How many countries have you been to so far
[Interview : Chua Lam, Food Critic Hong Kong] "I think it'll be better to ask me which countries I haven't been to so far".
Afterwards, he is treated to traditional Korean desserts such as hangwa[한과] and dashik[다식].
[Interview : Chua Lam, Food Critic Hong Kong] "I think hangwa could be marketed well if we link it to Korean culture when explaining why it's a good gift for the elderly".
Chua Lam even tries his hand at making dashik.
Voial! He has successfully made his own dashik!
[Interview : Park Su-jin
, President Food and Culture Korea] "We have a large variety of desserts in Korean cuisine, although people often think otherwise. So we're trying to promote this part of our culture".
Chua Lam has visited Korea dozens of times and Korean cuisine is well within his expertise. However, there are still new dishes that tempt his palate. This time, the simple flavor of boiled suyuk[수육] has captivated his taste buds.
[Interview : Chua Lam, Food Critic Hong Kong] "This is the first time I'm trying suyuk , and I like the pure flavor of the meat without any seasoning".
Chua Lam thanks the chef with a piece of calligraphy, wishing all the best for the promotion of Korean cuisine to the world.
[Interview : Ae In-su, Restaurant owner] "It is difficult for restaurants to get good reviews from food critics. However, Chua Lam was very satisfied with our dishes, which showcased the original flavors of Korean cuisine".
The 5 day long trip was wrapped up with a press conference in which Chua Lam shared his thoughts on Korean cuisine as well as objective words of advice for its globalization.
[Interview : Chua Lam, Food critic Hong Kong] "Decorating the food is not important when you haven't gotten the basics right. I am not interested in food that are similar to those eaten in other countries. It is important to let foreigners get to love the original flavors of Korean cuisine".
His advice was simply to stay true to the flavors and spirit of Korean cuisine as originality is the key to success.
[Interview : Chua Lam, Food Critic Hong Kong] "I thoroughly enjoyed this time I spent together with good food. However, my stomach seems to be a little tired!"
[Interview : Kim Jin-hwal, Employee Korea Tourism Organization] "Developing our traditional cuisine in order to promote it to the rest of the world is the best way to globalize Korean cuisine".
Within our traditions lie universal values. Taste, nutrition and aesthetics can all be found within traditional Korean cuisine. Let's hope the world embraces Korean cuisine for its wholesome goodness.
I'm sure so many people are so envious that he was able to just eat delicious food literally for days straight.
The good thing is it's not hard for anyone to go out there and taste all these wonderful foods.
So go out there while the weather is good.