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I know. This whole March Madness thing keeps us in a cage match spirit. But a few stories have been brought to our attention.

  • John Feffer in The Huffington Post uses Choco Pies and Naengmyeon to relate the differences between South Korean and North Korean cultures and histories
  • As predicted, getting people over the reek (not the spice, though) of kimchi has had some success with Korean fusion junk food. After that, people want to taste the real thing.
  • Homebrew Korea reports that a company is developing a hangover-free soju
  • South Korea may progress from “undetermined BSE risk” to “controlled-risk country” status. Way back during the 2008 Summer of Beef, I argued that Korea was wasting all its political capital by turning a blind eye to its own inspection processes to demonize America’s by holding the largest protests in its post-dictatorial history. It ended up with an agreement that covered superficial protections against BSE from American cows but no protections against e. coli and the other real problems affecting American factory farmed products. So–yes, we’re happy that South Korea finally has some sort of BSE inspections for its own beef.
  • “The Korean Cuisine (Hansik) Foundation)” has now been launched, headed by the former Agricultural minister (but not this one). Hoo boy–let’s see how this pans out.
  • Consulting firm Accenture conducted a straw poll on the popularity of Korean food abroad and then gave Korea the bad news. Actually, there is a lot of telling data in there. One of the big reasons Korean food isn’t popular is its price–which is why it needs to hold back on this fantasy of marketing all upscale (Yangban-to-Yangban marketing). Upper income Americans want it to be more authentic while lower income Americans want the tastes to be adapted to the American palate (the rise of Koreanized street food). Americans associate Korean food more with its barbecues than kimchi–which promoters like, you know, that new Hansik Foundation, should concentrate on.Guys, really, this is all stuff we have been saying for years on this little blog. You coulda saved yourself the money and asked.

[HT to our special reader for half of these.]

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