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Last month was the annual Korea Food Expo at the COEX, which seems to be getting bigger each year. To me, this is a theme park. They have one section that is like a museum of Korean cuisine. Then there’s a section of Korean vendors. This year it looked to be organized by region. And there’s the international vendor section, where I usually get buzzed from sake samples. Here are some finds.

In the culture hall, they had exhibits on people globalizing Korean cuisine. ZenKimchi fave Hooni Kim and his restaurant Danji had a nice showing.

These were taken with my Galaxy S phone, and something smeared on the lens. Kinda has a Xanadu feel.

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Some new sauces are coming out. In fact, I’ve already seen them at my E-Mart. Soy sauces with lemon and ginger flavors and something called “Pickle Sauce,” which I think is for quick home pickling.

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CJ had an exhibit of the products they were exporting to Japan and America. This fancy looking makkolli was for Japan.

Here’s the array, under the Bibigo label. The exports to America are mostly sauces, seaweed, and instant rice.

Some sweet wines, called Muju, were popular. The blueberry I liked–not by itself, but it would be a good cocktail mixer.

Jeju abalone shell trinkets. A lot like mother of pearl. And inexpensive too.

In the Andong section, they had their famous version of shikhye–a sweet rice punch.

And you gotta have your Andong soju, in classic bottle form

or Hahoe mask form

or golf club form?

Here was one of the big finds. An Andong company is developing a Korean proscuitto with the name Corescuitto. They had no samples yet.

They did have a model, though. This was a topic of heated debate among my friends. Part of it was, “That’s some gall to outright copy Italian prosciutto techniques.” But the other side was, “Yet they’re using Korean pork, which is good quality. And it will be cheaper.”

The Jeju section was my favorite. They were showcasing a lot of products, including this Herb Water. Very different take on bottled water with lemongrass and rosemary flavors. They also had “Herb Cool” body spray, which I have a sample of at home. Makes your skin feel cool like a Peppermint Patty.

This is also where I had found the Yeonggyul, which I had posted about earlier.

The gadgets section had a few finds, like this draft makkolli machine. I think they missed the point of the enjoyment of both draft beer and the enjoyment of makkolli. Draft beer is tapped fresh from a keg so you get the freshest flavors. Makkolli’s character comes from its natural carbonation. This machine kills both of those. The method is to pour bottles of makkolli into the machine. It spins the liquid to cool it down while also agitating the bubbles. You end up with a flat glass of makkolli. It’s like pouring bottles of beer into a washing machine and drinking them from a spout.

So yeah, they missed the point.

This machine sucks the dust off your shoes. I wish I could just watch the customers’ reactions at the first restaurant that installs this.

I also sampled a lot of makkolli in the process. My favorite was this one. Ginseng-infused makkolli. The reddish brown bottle had the fullest flavor. Very earthy natural and uniquely Korean flavor.

That’s all I have from this year. The Andong proscuitto and Jeju yeonggyul were promising. Not so sure about the draft makkolli.

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