Korean Food Predicted Popular (again) in 2010

Original mages from http://www.flickr.com/photos/arndog/3882880583/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/piterart/4081857923/
Behold, the Korean taco!

Now that all the yearly and decadely reviews are over, it’s time to take out the tarot cards, the crystal balls and the 800 Psychic Hotline number to predict what will be big in 2010.  Much like last year, Korean food is predicted to be the lone or minority ethnic cuisine to stand out in a time when people will turn more to domestic comfort foods.  But it won’t be in royal court cuisine or “topokki.”

Food industry analysts Technomic predict Korean food will “hit the mainstream” in the form of Korean barbecue and galbi tacos.  Baum & Whiteman are banking on Korean fried chicken–“invisibly coated, amazingly flavorful and fried twice for ultra-crunch.Epicurious sees a jump in fried chicken in general, too.  But expect competition in the fried chicken frenzy from other cultural variations, such as Columbian, Guatamalan and Malaysian.

There are a lot of haters who don’t like this growing trend.  Just looking at the comments for Bite Club Eats, who included Korean food amongst their predictions, and some people really have a problem with it.  Maybe former or current English teachers.  Maybe Korea’s crooked private schooling system is finally biting the country on its butt after letting so many guest teachers get cheated without considering that those teachers would become influential in their home countries.

Ah… karma…

The Chowhound forums are leaning toward claiming that Korean food has already peaked on America’s west coast and is gaining steam on the east, especially NYC and DC, and could possibly spread to middle America.  On the forefront, some are speaking of banchan, gochujang replacing sriracha (gochujang mayo?), fusion kimchi, more Korean street food trucks, and “Korean is the new Thai.”

The National Restaurant Association’s Chef Survey: What’s Hot in 2010 has Korean food at 37% “hot trend,” 42% “yesterday’s news” and 21% “perennial favorite.” So maybe there is some credence that Korean food has crested, at least on the west coast and the hardcore foodie front.  But the following predicted trends sound more positive: black garlic, green tea, newly fabricated cuts of meat (could include L.A. galbi), non-traditional liquors (soju is included) and ethnic condiments (gochujang?).

In my opinion, the three-hour lines and the hype over the taco trucks will create a backlash, thus making it a fad.  No matter how good a food is, waiting a long time for it will only set you up for disappointment.  Soju will gain traction.  I wish makgeolli would, but the milky visuals may turn Americans off.  Kimchi will move from fine dining and ethnic restaurants to a few mainstream restaurants–via Korean tacos.  Expect to hear rumors of wild experiments by young chefs, such as grape kimchi and powdered kimchi.  I think Hanu beef is still under the radar but will be talked about in chefs’ circles (it already is), gaining some press maybe in 2011.

So, tell us.  What are your predictions for Korean food and food in Korea for 2010?  Is everyone on the mark or full of oxen manure?


새해 복 많이 받으세요!

The Great Korean Fried Chicken Recipe (Experiment)


5 thoughts on “Korean Food Predicted Popular (again) in 2010”

  1. What do I think?

    Well, I think it’s interesting that someone can report on food trends in America, when they live half a world away. This is the downside to the new journalism: it’s all Google.

    So then: no one is new york city gives a toss about english teachers who lost their wons. Seriously. This might be big news in Korea, but in Manhattan it’s not going to stop anyone from eating in a korean restaurant or from eating Korean food.

    Korean Fried chicken is definitely on the way up in NYC. Kyochon will finally open, and people who haven’t turned on to the chicken yet are starting to wonder what all the fuss is ablout.

    Soju? forget it. Makkoli has a chance, this is a gut feeling. But the problem is not the milky look, it’s distribution. But if someone can figure it out – and I have a good idea who will – some ricewine is going to move in the west, but not how you expect.

    Korean dramas are coming to Hulu. You didn’t hear it from me. But they are. All that chopping and cooking in those shows, it’s going to have a big effect on a lot of people who have never even tasted the food.

    You are also wrong about taco truck hype. No offense, but you have to be here. When the Kogi truck opens in nyc this year, it will be big. The whole vendor thing is huge here. Did you see the lineup they had for their Korean quesadillas? Google it.

    There is definitely a David Chang effect going on, which hasn;t played out as his book really hasn’t sunk in yet. He also has a place opening in midtown. There will be more Chnag hype and for a lot of people this means Korean.

    Also, New York Hotdog and coffee is still getting a lot of attention, that’s only going to get bigger. And it’s some good stuff.

    That’s all for now. Hell, I should write a blog.

    • Good points. I hope Magkeolli picks up.

      But that’s the way that trends go. Waiting in line for an hour or more, people will start questioning what’s so great about it, and it’ll become a backlash.

      I really don’t understand the New York Hot Dog and Coffee thing. I’ve eaten at it in Seoul, and it was meh. There’s a growing habit of pairing American fast foods with coffee here–I guess to make it sound more sophisticated. But who really wants to chase a hot dog or hamburger with a steaming cup of coffee? I remember back in America that there was always a group that would try to enjoy the most ridiculous or crappy foods because they had an exotic foreigness to them. My guess is that’s what’s behind the popularization of Korean/NewYork Hot Dog and Coffee.

  2. re: taco trucks
    If that’s how trends go, that’s a pretty easy prediction to make, some kind of backlash. I’m going to state for the record my prediction of a Billy’s Bakery backlash. And Shake Shack!

    Anyway, the whole thing is nowhere near played out in nyc. The Halal boys have had lineups for years. This town is ready for Kogi trucks.

    Here NY Hot dog and coffee serves things like “bulgogi dogs.” They might have coffee, but no one drinks it from what i’ve seen. Everyone goes for the korean twist on burgers, hot dogs, and tacos. And it’s quite good.


    Good location, also, which helps.


Leave a (somewhat civilized) Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: