If you’ve picked up any newspaper regarding Korea on any day in the past few years, you’d notice two things. North Korea is nuts. And South Korea is obsessed with promoting Korean food. But part of the fun and frustration of this movement is the ham-handed clumsiness this has come about. The government and private entities have poured money into projects that have actually been turning people off to Korean food and making the country an embarrassment, such as the opening move of promoting doughy rice cakes and changing their names from ddeokbokki to “topoki.”

The frustrating part, in my opinion, is all the money being wasted on this. It could be spent so much more wisely on real issues in the economy. And also, it’s disappointing to see that blogs like ZenKimchi, Fatman Seoul and Seoul Eats (with O’ngo Food Communications) have had much more influence in promoting Korean food, and we’re doing this from our own meager incomes, while being ignored by the powers that be in favor of figures that have little background in food and are proudly and arrogantly clueless about the markets they’re trying to reach.

I’ve been planning this series since the beginning of the year. My A.D.D. has been my main obstacle in getting this organized sooner. In March, I made a distilled version for my TED Talk at TEDxSeoul. So rather than spend paragraphs belaboring it, I present to you the video from the TED Talk.


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