How To Bring Flavors of Korean Ingredients Into Your Cooking

aT Center America

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- aT Center America ("aT Center"), the U.S. regional headquarter of Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, launches #OurKoreanPantry campaign, aiming to bring traditional Korean ingredients to the American table.

Following World War II, American-made Spam became a widespread delicacy in South Korea, and the country is now the second-largest consumer of Spam after the United States. Yet, the trade of ingredients seems to have only gone in one direction. If South Koreans have adopted Spam into their national cuisine, Americans have been slower to integrate South Korean ingredients into their own.

The American pantry has adopted many foreign ingredients over the years: Japanese soy sauce, Thai Sriracha, Indian curry, Middle Eastern hummus, and plenty more. But, it would be rare to find the average American household stocking gochujang, a Korean sauce that delivers a spicy heat with a sweet edge; or omija, magnolia berries known for their fragrant mix of flavors (omija itself means "five flavored fruit"), for their typical family meal.

The availability is there—Korean goods are no longer just confined to specialty markets in a few American cities, and the internet has made them available anywhere. The question is now familiarity. So, aT Center asks: how can you try these Korean ingredients in your personal cooking? They've produced a video to prove it's not as hard as you may think.

aT Center asked Chef Deuki Hong (former executive chef of Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong—the renowned Korean barbecue spot in Manhattan, co-author of Koreatown: A Cookbook, and founder of Sunday Bird in San Francisco), to help create a video educating Americans on how to incorporate Korean ingredients into their daily cooking as part of the #OurKoreanPantry campaign. For Chef Deuki, who treats spreading Korean cuisine throughout America as something of a personal mission, being a part of the campaign was a no-brainer.

In the video, Chef Deuki challenged two of his friends—Gregory Gourdet, chef at Portland's Departure, and Maya Lovelace, chef at both Portland's Mae and Yonder—to incorporate Korean ingredients into non-Korean dishes. Chef Deuki presented Chef Gregory and Chef Maya with a Korean pantry featuring diverse ingredients like yuja-cheong (yuzu marmalade), doenjang (a fermented soybean paste), misu-garu (a ground and roasted multi-grain powder), and perilla oil (a relative of shiso with a distinct minty, nutty flavor). 

If Chef Gregory and Chef Maya were familiar with some of these items (like kimchi and gochujang), others were new. Even Chef Deuki was introduced to new flavors in the Korean pantry.

Their task at hand, Chef Gregory and Chef Maya set out to make three plates each: an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. The results were at once instantly recognizable and wholly unique, bringing new twists to classic dishes. 

aT Center invites you to watch #OurKoreanPantry to discover how the chefs used these versatile ingredients in their dishes. Perhaps, it can inspire you to explore the flavors of Korea. aT Center has also launched a giveaway in conjunction with the video. Anyone who posts a photo or video of their favorite Korean-inspired dish to Instagram, along with the recipe and the hashtag, #OurKoreanPantry, will be qualified to win some of the $2500 in prizes aT Center is giving away. To learn more about the contest, please check the description box in the YouTube video.

Media contact:
Joon Ma 

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SOURCE aT Center America