company was invited to the Korean Food Globalization Team's Year-end conference to see all the work that had been completed by different organizations this year. These are companies and universities that had been funded by the Hansik Jedang (Korean Food Globalization Team) to create products or do research on the topic of globalizing Korean food. The standout this year was CJ Food's "Rice & Nice" Microwaveable Rice dishes. The product was extensively researched (I know because I helped find the focus groups) and I feel their initial offerings: Spicy Chicken, Bibimbap, and 5-grain Rice is what the western market will like. The packaging is eye catching as well. I'm not a big fan of the name "Rice & Nice," because it sounds cheesy and Asian cutesy; but that's something that can be worked out by the marketing team. The products taste good and its something I could see taking off.
A university made blueberry pancakes and black soybean pancakes. Meh. It was clear this group didn't do their research for there was clearly a cultural disconnect. The black soybean pancakes were fine, but the blueberry was odd. It was made like a fried, Korean pancake that had a blueberry and carrot flavor. The fact that it was a fried, dense, and chewy goes against my western ideals of a "blueberry pancake." I am going to call this a fail.
Finally, there was a university from Daejeon that was sharing Korean dishes they had made. Their westernized samgyetang in chicken consomme was delicious. Of course, its been done. The first place I saw this dish was at the W-Hotel.
Overall, I think the Hansik Jedang has done a great job this year. There were some hits and misses, but you can't expect to be perfect every time- especially when you are trying to globalize a cuisine. Now, I think this year the group should focus on actually leaving the country and sharing the food with other countries. There are food festivals all around the world and I feel Korea needs to get involved. I mean, isn't that the purpose of globalization? If they taste it, they will learn to like it.
Merry Christmas Everyone!