Alvin Toffler, the noted futurist scholar and author of the Third Wave, has foretold that a “third taste” will conquer the world. According to Toffler, the “first taste” is unprocessed salt, the “second taste” is processed sauce, and the “third taste” will be the fermented taste. Popular Korean dishes such as Kimchi, soybean paste, Soy sauce, Korean chili paste, salted seafood and traditional rice liquors are the forerunners of fermented food. With these dishes, Korea is positioned to be on the front line of the movement promoting fermented foods throughout the world.
– From the book “Korean cuisine Refresh your senses”
Kimchi -The Iconic dish of Korea
Kimchi is the quintessential Korean way of pickling every kind of vegetable imaginable, from Napa cabbage, radish to pumpkin flowers. A vegetable is first salted in brine, rinsed, and then stuffed with spices. Finally, it is packed in containers, usually in ceramic crocks or stainless steel pots, for fermentation, to be matured. In Korea, there are more than three hundred kinds of Kimchi. Kimchi has been an essential part of all Korean meals for centuries. It is a symbol of Korean identity and pride.
Korean Kimchi was named as one of the world’s healthiest foods along with soy, yogurt, lentils and olive oil by HEALTH magazine (March 2006 issue). Numerous famous chefs have created recipes using Korean Kimchi.
Westerners say “cheese” when asked to smile for the camera. Koreans love to say “Kimchi”.
Table setting and manners
A typical Korean table setting consists of rice, soup and a few side dishes including the essential side dish Kimchi. Rice, soup, a spoon and chopsticks are arranged from left to right, in that order, for each person. Stews and side dishes are placed in the center to be shared by everyone. Koreans use a spoon to eat rice, soup and stews and chopsticks for dry side dishes, but the spoon and chopsticks are not used simultaneously. Koreans also do not hold their bowls or plates while eating. When the meal is over, the spoon and chopsticks are placed back down on the table.
Hansik(Korean Cuisine) is a healthy and well-balanced meal composed of fresh and natural ingredients. Most vegetables are lightly blanched, therefore retaining most of its natural nutrients and boiled or steamed meats are low in fat and calorie. Due to such natural ingredients and healthy cooking methods, Hansik corresponds to today’s healthy living craze. Additionally traditional sauces and seasonings, Kimchi and Jeotgal(salted seafood), which need to be fermented for long periods of time, are typical slow foods.