Dubai: If you love binge-watching Korean dramas, it is impossible not to be fascinated by the food they feature. From the crunchy chonggak (radish tail) kimchi in Crash Landing on You to the spicy jjajangmyeon in Wok of Love, and from the gimbap in Extraordinary Attorney Woo to the steaming bowl of bibimbap in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon – K-dramas often leave fans craving for Korean food.
If you live in the UAE and want to learn how to make Korean food like a pro, here is some good news. The Korean Cultural Center in the UAE is holding a series of Korean food workshops in Abu Dhabi.
According to Hong Mi-Jung, manager of the Korean Cultural Center: "This Korean food workshop was designed to introduce Korean food, including kimchi, Korean seasonal food and holiday food in particular, it is expected to gain great popularity among the people in the UAE because various foods are made up of ingredients that can be easily obtained at local markets."
From kimchi to gimbap, you will learn new recipes all through the year. But, register soon, because the seats are limited.
According to a press release sent to Gulf News ahead of the workshop: “The Korean food workshops, which will be held under various themes every month, are designed to introduce and experience Korean food, which is gaining much popularity along with the global popularity of K-culture content such as K-films and K-dramas.”
Two or three classes will be held for each topic, based on the month’s theme, starting with kimchi in March.
In March, attendees will participate in three classes and learn how to make easy kimchi using locally available ingredients, such as radish, cucumber, and cabbage.
The classes will be held from March 7 to March 21, every Tuesday for three weeks from 6pm to 7pm, at the Korean Culture Center, at the Yas Creative Hub in Abu Dhabi.
During the first week, attendees will learn how to make Musaengchae or julienne radish kimchi. The second week will be dedicated to making Oi Muchim or Oi Sobagi, more popularly known as spicy cucumber kimchi, which is quite a rage on social media. And, the workshop for the third week will focus on making Baechu Geotjeori, or fresh cabbage kimchi.
According to the website uae.korean-culture.org, people (except Korean nationals) who are 14 years of age or older can register for the course, which costs Dh60, which is the material cost. Registration ends on March 1. The registration form and other details are available on the website.
Here’s a look at what’s in store for the coming months:
April: Korean vegetable dishes
For Koreans, a bowl of rice, soup, or broth, and two or three side dishes, or banchan, are a staple on the meal table. The vegetable dishes also called namul are among the most favourite and common dishes that Koreans can't miss, along with kimchi. These classes will see attendees making vegetable dishes using spinach, mung bean sprouts, and radish.
“The workshop will be carried out for two weeks and participants will cook bracken pasta dishes, a unique fusion recipe in a combination of Korea’s favorite vegetable ingredients and pasta,” the press release added.
June: Spicy Korean food
Workshops to make stir-fried squid, or ojingeo-bokkeum, and spicy stir-fried chicken, or Dak-galbi, will be held in June. The workshops are designed to introduce typical spicy Korean food with red pepper paste and red pepper powder to K-food lovers. Using Korea’s favourite spicy pepper sauce, gochujang.
The workshop will also share other easy savoury recipes that people can easily cook using ingredients such as seafood and chicken.
In the popular K-Drama series, Descendants Of The Sun, during their stay in Uruk, captain Yoo Si Jin (played by Song Joong Ki) and his best pal, Sergeant Major Seo Dae Young( played by Jin Goo) try to impress their respective love interests by cooking samgyetang or chicken soup with ginseng, they impressed more than the two women. Fans of the show took to social media to share how they took a trip to Korea or headed to Korean restaurants in their city to try an authentic bowl of the soup.
In July, the workshop will hold a class to make samgyetang, which is a representative food for Boknal – one of the three hottest days as per the lunar calendar in Korea, as well as a popular summer health food in the country.
August: Korean pancakes and noodles
Jeonbyeong, Korean pancakes, and noodle dishes are the theme for August. Traditionally Koreans believe that flour-based dishes taste best before July 7 of the lunar calendar, which usually falls between the second half of August on the Gregorian calendar. It’s the month that people usually cook different dishes with flour.
September: Healthy Gimbap
The theme of the September workshop is healthy and diet friendly if you are trying to lose a few pounds after the flour-based August recipes.
During the course, you can learn how new kinds of gimbap – a dish that gained popularity due to the Korean drama, Extraordinary Attorney Woo.
September and October: Marking Korean full moon holiday
In late September and October, workshops will be held to mark Chuseok, the Korean full moon holiday. Classes will show attendees how to make songpyen, a half-moon-shaped rice cake filled with sugar, sesame, and newly harvested grains. Koreans eat songpyen during the holidays and wish for the health and happiness of their family.
November: Kimchi returns
Coming back to the popular series, Crash Landing on You, a scene in one of the episodes shows the women of Captain Ri’s village gathered by the ocean side to make kimchi together, salting their cabbage leaves with seawater. This is called kimjang, a kimchi-making tradition. In 2013, the tradition was inscribed in Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
There is nothing called “too much kimchi” for true Korean food lovers. November workshops will be held on November 22 to mark Kimchi Day, with kimchi-making classes and kimchi-making competitions, where attendees will gather for kimjang.
More details and the registration form are available on the Korean Cultural Center website.