I’ve seen Korean food pop up a few times in people’s 2008 best lists. The most common theme I’ve noticed, and you folks in the government trying to promote Korean food by copying refined yet boring Japanese cuisine take note, is that people are attracted to the rustic blue collar/peasant approach to food, be it fried chicken or Jonathan Gold’s example of Korean blowfish in his 10 Best Dishes of 2008:
Whatever Japanese blowfish may be, Korean blowfish is the opposite: abundant, hearty and fairly reasonably priced, and served as the centerpiece of an evening’s drinking rather than as a refined, somewhat boring plate of what might as well be a mild sort of flounder.
Especially with the economic downturn, the trends predicted for 2009 revolve around comfort foods, cheap foods and creative foods using long ignored ingredients (bring on the chitlins and Spam). That rustic school of Korean food connects strongly to this yearning, and I’m being proven right over and over.