How Korean Food is Perceived in America

January 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

While I adore Korean food and would be content eating it for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner, I know that I’m not the most objective person to ask since I am also Korean American. 🙂 I would credit the integral role of kimchi as being one of the reasons why it has taken so long for Korean cuisine to come into the public consciousness… but then again, cheese and curry (both which are smelly) are both delectable and can even be refined, so maybe there’s still hope yet.

And according to the Chosonilbo’s article Korean Cuisine Takes Bigger Bite Out of ‘Big Apple’, it’s not just me after all:

One out of three New Yorkers give Korean cuisine the thumbs up, according to a survey by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

One example of the food’s growing popularity is the bibimbap burgers created by one of the Big Apple’s leading chefs, Angelo Sosa, who sells them at his own restaurant, Social Eats. Sosa claimed first place in the latest Greatest Burger in America competition, which was hosted in May by Eater.com, a U.S. website that specialized in food and restaurants.

Wow, okay; I did not know there was a bibimbap burger out there until this article and I’m not sure how I feel about it… except that I know I want to eat it.

The ministry said on Thursday that it surveyed 3,246 Americans living in New York City and New Jersey to see if they like Korean food, with 31 percent of them answering in the affirmative. This represents a giant leap from 9 percent in a similar survey in 2009.

Some 40.3 percent, or 1,307 people, said they “would like to buy Korean food,” while 43.0 percent, or 1,396, “would like to visit Korean restaurants.” Over one third, or 35.2 percent, said they would happily recommend Korean dishes to their friends.

The ministry selected New York as its key U.S. outpost to internationalize Korean cuisine earlier this year. Since then it has been holding public tasting campaigns and paying for advertisements among a range of other promotional events.

Local Korean restaurants organized a food truck to serve fusion dishes such as bulgogi cucumber kimchi burgers at the city’s Bryant Park for one month from April 18. One of their next promotions will see them deliver Korean lunch boxes to New Yorkers who apply for the campaign via Twitter.

“Mayor Michael Bloomburg regularly visits Korean restaurants and buys kimchi, while actress Brook Shields was photographed buying gochujang at a Korean market near Korea Town in New York,” said a ministry official.

“It seems that the increasing preference for Korean food among celebrities in the city is leading regular members of the public to take a greater interest in Korean food.”

What do you find most appealing about Korean cuisine? And I’m not just talking about the amazing BBQ 🙂

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