Parisians are starting to see Korean food as haute couture. Since the Korean Cuisine Festival started on Nov. 6, it has been packed with Parisians hoping to taste traditional fare. The local Korea Culture Center organized the event being held at UNESCO's Paris headquarters.
Korea's royal cuisine
Lee Jae-wook of the Grand Intercontinental Hotel in Seoul and eight other Korean chefs flew to Paris to prepare six dishes once reserved for the Korean court.
In Korea, royal cuisine has been gaining popularity since the success of the mega-hit local drama "Daejanggeum," or "Jewel in the Palace," which was about a legendary court cook who, in the 16th century, became the first female physician for the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
The chefs have had difficulties finding proper ingredients to cook Korean dishes in Paris but say they are using their personal time to shop around Korean and other Asian food markets for quality produce and spices. They say the festival has been fully booked since it opened and attribute the success to the chosen fare. Royal cuisine has very little fat and more balanced flavor and vegetables than typical Korean dishes. It is also not as spicy or salty.
The festival runs until Nov. 16. Its popularity comes at a good time for the increasing number of Korean restaurants in Paris.