In love with Korea's national pickle
Care for some goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto and kimchi? How about kimchi dip on crackers, kimchi fajitas, or a nice kimchi ceviche? If the idea of one...
Seattle Times Eastside bureau
Care for some goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto and kimchi? How about kimchi dip on crackers, kimchi fajitas, or a nice kimchi ceviche?
If the idea of one of these culinary fusions sounds like something you'd like to try, the Morning Star Korean Cultural Center in Lynnwood was the place to be Sunday.
The center hosted its first Taste of Korea, a Korean food cook-off for non-Korean cooks. Fifteen pairs of cooks squared off for $2,900 in cash prizes, including $1,000 to the grand-prize winner, in a contest aimed at promoting Korean food and the health benefits of a Korean diet.
The air in the Star Center was filled with the pungent odor of kimchi, the Korean national pickle. Standard kimchi is made from a variety of vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage or radish, fermented in a combination of garlic, ground red pepper and salted brine shrimp. In the past, most homes in Korea had multiple batches of it fermenting in big brown earthenware pots outside the house, according to Jiyeon Cheh, director of the Star Center.
Dressed in traditional Korean clothing, Cheh handed out plates of potato noodles, bean flour pancakes, and kimchi as she extolled the tonic qualities of the dish.
"It is a special food," said Cheh. "It is excellent for the health and can stop SARS."
Cheh was referring to statements made by a number of Korean organizations crediting kimchi as the reason why the SARS virus was never a problem in Korea. Officials at Seoul National University have made similar claims about the dish's ability to fend off bird flu.
"Korean food's main ingredients include lots of vegetables," said Min-su Kang, president of the Korean Food Tourism Association, through a translator. "It's low in fat and that makes it good for health."
He joined Lynwood Mayor Mike McKinnon, State Sen. Paull Shin and a number of Korean dignitaries to judge the contest. A camera crew from the Seoul Broadcasting System was on hand to record portions of the contest for Korean television. Contestants were responsible for creating two dishes: a traditional bulgogi — a dish made with marinated slices of beef or pork — and a creation using kimchi in a nontraditional dish.
The competition drew professionals and amateurs alike, as well as hundreds of tasters who sampled a variety of Korean dishes made by center volunteers.
In the end, husband and wife pair Micah Windham and Christina Longo of Ballard took the grand prize. Along with their traditional bulgogi they made a kimchi mignonette to be served over oysters on the half-shell.
Windham cooks at the Ovio Bistro in West Seattle, and Longo is a pastry chef at the Barking Frog restaurant in Woodinville
The day also featured instructional sessions on how to make kimchi and performances of traditional Korean music and dance.
Matt Ironside†: 206-464-2449 or email@example.com
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
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