En-vogue, trendy, and the ‘big new cuisine’ on the culinary circuit…everyone is talking about Korean food. This delicate Asian cuisine is making waves around the world as a healthy, tasty and social dining option. Food is spearheading ‘Hallyu’– the Korean wave of popular culture that has spent a decade slowly spreading to distant shores. The adoption and acceptance of a foreign cuisine, more often than not, reflects the growing popularity of the destination in a touristic context. This north Asian powerhouse is now seen as a unique place to visit by Europeans, who are now more aware of the country’s cultural traits and characteristics.
Over the last two years, the glitterati of the culinary world have started to touch down in Seoul, ready to experience everything from street food to temple cuisine and to see first-hand how key dishes are prepared. They come to open the lid, in both a metaphorical and physical sense, of the ‘Onggi’ clay pots that are filled with an assortment of fermented sauces and condiments: red bean paste, soybean paste, soy sauce – all essential ingredients in the making of Korean dishes and has a traceable lineage dating back thousands of years. These research trips have led to new restaurants opening up in the UK and a few Korean inspired fusion menu’s and pop-up food stalls appearing in some of London’s hippest districts.
‘Galvin at Windows’ is one of London’s most popular Michelin starred fine dining restaurants and bar, perched atop the London Hilton Park Lane, commanding unrivalled views of the capital. The talented team behind ‘Galvin at Windows’ are the most recent high profile professionals to visit Korea to undertake a culinary research trip. The only difference from other similar visits, is that the restaurants head chef ‘Joo Won’ is Korean and is passionate to show his mentor and chef patron, Chris Galvin and Frederic Sirieiux (General Manager and media personality) the food of his upbringing and how it can inspire the restaurant menu.
The team experienced the buzz of Korea’s night markets and street food stalls, dined out at some of the city’s best restaurants, learned about traditional medicine, understand the true essence and origins of various Korean flavours and also had time to visit Seoul’s key landmarks. On their return, ‘Galvin at Windows’ have already started to create a special Korean inspired menu to run in the restaurant during August and have their own version of a pop-up Korean stall set up as if on a small street cart, for guests to enjoy.
The new menu in August will coincide with the Korea Tourism Organisation’s ‘London Korean Festival:Imagine your Korea day’ in Trafalgar Square on the 9th August which will be a celebration of Korean culture and is expected to attract up to thirty thousand visitors across the day. This day of festivities will be worthy of saying ‘Gambe’ (cheers) whilst holding one of Galvin’s Korean inspired cocktails that will be served in their bar and will run in conjunction with their special menu!