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The Korea Herald recently published an article on the growing popularity on Korean food while also trying to address why it still greatly lags behind Chinese and Japanese food in European penetration.

Some reasons it states for Korean cuisine’s growing popularity:

  • More articles in large papers such as The L.A. Times and The New York Times (including the article featuring yours truly)
  • People are looking for healthier food alternatives
  • The “Korean Wave” pop culture spreading through Asia

And it states some obstacles or concerns:

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  • Even though kimchi is getting more popular, Japan or China may profit more from its popularity since Japan could sell it more aggressively (I think that’s what the quote meant) and China is a major producer of cheap kimchi
  • Korean food is expensive outside Korea
  • Diners don’t know what to order because the dishes are not explained
    • NOTE: I do believe it would be courteous to at least explain what the daily side dishes are. My first experience with Korean food in Atlanta had me confused because we had no idea what we were eating and why it was given to us. It was over a year after coming to Korea that I finally got some answers as to what the heck they served us. Mysterious white jelly is a little off putting to the uninitiated.
  • No menu or recipe standardization
    • It uses the less-than-desirable example of McDonald’s success as a reason. It was a Korean car designer in Germany who made that comment. Very much in the mindset of an engineer.

To prepare for this, food critics and the media are proposing that more Korean culinary institutes be started. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism plans to support competitive restaurants. The Ministry also plans to invite chefs to certify them as “Top Chefs” in Korean cuisine.

Hey Ben, want a Korean cuisine certification?

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