Banchan: Filipino Market Update

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Here are a few items bouncing around the web.

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10 thoughts on “Banchan: Filipino Market Update”

  1. I know making fun of the Korean government is part of your bag, but you do your readers a disservice by going for the gag every time:

    ‘Including tax breaks and subsidies, promotion of the alcoholic beverage will include “a design competition for a standard makgeolli glass and bottle.” By standardizing the bottles and glasses used for makgeolli, the government hopes to reduce production costs.’

    A standard bottle would indeed decrease costs (American beer companies do the same thing) and a cool glass is not a bad idea either (hello? Hoegaarden, anyone?).

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  2. My fear is that they’re trying to make it upscale, which is antithetical to why it has grown in popularity. I know this from firsthand experience of being in meeting rooms with government officials. They have an obsession with making Korean food an elitist cuisine and downplaying its country peasant roots. I hope they don’t come up with stemmed wine glasses like the ones they served it in at an ambassadorial function last year.

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  3. And if they want to make it upscale, it’s done by setting small-scale producers free to produce their own makgeolli and sell it. Until Korea frees up its own people to make and sell on a small scale their own versions of traditional liquors, they will always be large-scale-mass-market-aiming-cheap options. Ever tried the small-scale Japanese distillery soju? The stuff is great! The only reason Koreans can’t do the same thing is that it is illegal. I would love to see some young Korean guy turn his grandfather’s recipe for makgeolli or soju into a fortune.

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  4. Indeed, Steve; get your hands on a bottle of Iichiko Frasco and you will never put a single of drop of Chamiseul into your body again.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with polishing the image of Korean food and drink, zen. It may not be true it it’s roots, but Korean food is a lot of variations on a theme and a lot of dishes don’t particularly carry long histories either, not to mention the fact that much of the food and drink of Korea considered to be ‘Korean’ without analog happens to be very similar to well-established food and drink from China and Japan. For example, Andong Jjimdak is strongly reminiscent of homestyle Chinese cooking, and as Steve said, soju/shochu has existed in Japan (but had to be made upscale to rid it of its cheap wino drink image in recent times, which was successful, as it’s a popular mainstream drink there now)
    I realize that makgeolli has a long history of being the poor Korean wino’s drink, but polishing it’s image and possibly upping the quality is real progress.

    The average person overseas would probably take one look at a traditional Korean place that serves makgeolli, and run away in fear. Drinking it out of hangari pots and dented copper bowls and all that is nice for the Koreans looking to commiserate with a side of nostalgia/sympathetic foreigners in Korea looking for a new experience, but in the future, when we all ride hoverboards….

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  5. Last time I had makkoli in Canada, it was served from a plastic bag by a dude out back of the restaurant who spoke no English. Not a bottle in a plastic bag, but makkoli swishing around in a plastic bag.

    They also sold dog soup, according to the sign in the window in Korean. This was in downtown Toronto!

    These guys had big teeth and shitty haircuts, but the price was right.

    Country roots, indeed.

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  6. Ha I didn’t know about that place! (I haven’t been back to Korea in years) Maybe those makkoli hicks were cooler than I thought!

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