Thursday 5 March 2009

I am sitting in front of a mirror as I write this, and the mirror is shaped like a map of korea, and on that mirror, I have written "Hanshik"

Original article here
By Chang Tae-pyong
Minister of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Hey there. How are you? Why don't you sit down and make yourself comfortable, see, I have something I want to tell you. Go ahead. Choose any chair in the room. Except mine: it hurts my piles if you sit on my lap.

I wonder if anyone's ever told you about the wonders of Korean food.

Oh. I see.

I wonder if anyone's ever told you about the wonders of Korean food recently.


I wonder if anyone's ever told you about the wonders of Korean food today.

Is that so?

Well, I wonder if I've told you about the wonders of Korean food yet today?

I have?

Well, I wonder if I've told you about the wonders of Korean food yet for a third time today?

Is that so? Well please, allow me the chance to do so.

People often ask me why ``hansik,'' or Korean food, is so important. At first, I used to reply, without it, we would have starved before foreign foods were introduced. However, after an hour locked in a room with the secret patriotism police, I realized that Hansik is the face of our country, and the very engine of our national pride. Well, the face of our national pride after hanbok (Korean kimono), Taekwondo (Korean Kung-fu, which is about to be cut from the Olympics, but still beats the hell out of lame-ass diving) kimbap (Korean sushi) Gyungbokgung (Korean Forbidden Palace) and Jeju Island (Korean Hawaii) But after those four, and possibly some others I've forgotten, hansik is certainly the sixth, or possibly seventh, face of our national pride. Oh yeah. I also forgot Hangul.

But hansik is important. It really is. See, let me tell you a story -- draw you a little analogy. Imagine the world as a human being. And that human being is Korea. And like every human being, it has skin, and bones and insides and blood, and that human being is a Korean. That Korean needs to eat, you know, and when that Korean eats, it eats hansik, making it a great Korean brand for the whole world. Maybe another world, which is a human being, but which is not Korean, comes and sees that Korean eating hansik, and wants to eat some. He will probably find it delicious, if he can eat spicy food. And if he is clever enough to use chopsticks. And take off his shoes before he enters the eating area, uncultured pig that he is. That person, who is another country, who is the world, might say, "ooh. Korean food is good." Or if he doesn't like it, he is uncultured, and should be corrected.

Do you follow? Good. No, no, no need to stand. I'm just getting started. Really, there is SO much more to say about Korean food.

In a survey by the Korea Tourism Organization, 49 percent of the tourists who came to Korea tried Korean food, and in a totally rigorous, double-blind scientific street-survey of attendees at the 2008 Korean Food Festival, 59 percent of foreigners and Korean named hansik as the first thing in their mouth when they arrived at the Korean food festival. Actually, we weren't sure what the foreigners said, because our interviewers only spoke Korean, but we're pretty sure that if we'd understood what they said, we would have heard them say that they love Korean food.

It is a little known fact, that Korean hansik is totally unique. It is the only food in the world that combines rice and vegetables and meat in various combinations, including different types of sauces and seasonings, presented in bowls, eaten with chopsticks, and served on tables. In fact, there are some who think that it was probably Koreans who invented rice in the first place, and so we claim it as a special part of our unique heritage, and have petitioned UNESCO to include rice, vegetables, chopsticks and bowls as uniquely Korean parts of world heritage. What Korean could not be overwhelmed with pride and wonder at our auspicious heritage of food!

You may have heard of the Korean mega-hit television drama/war device for world conquest, "Daejanggeum'' or Jewel in the Palace, which was also popular overseas, and we're not used to that yet here in Korea. There was food in that TV show, and the entire cast and crew regularly stopped filming to eat, and my friend, the food they ate was usually hansik.

I see this as a possibility that Korean food can be popular in other countries. In fact, numerous countries that see large numbers of Korean travelers have even opened their own Korean restaurants, and we have discovered that Korean travelers will eat hansik, even outside of Korea. While we can't expect foreigners to understand Korea's spicy food and kimchi, sending Koreans to more countries, in order to have them order Korean food from overseas, will lead us to the illusion that Korean food is internationally popular, and that thought makes me feel kind of squishy, like when Jeong-ah Kim sat in my lap on the crowded schoolbus when I was in seventh grade, and that night I had funny dreams.

Korea is abundant in fermented foods, which are healthy, tasty, healthy, tasty, and also healthy. From kimchi to condiments like doenjang (bean paste) and gochujang, to kimchi, as well as pickled and salted beans, pickled and salted sprouts, pickled and salted quail eggs, pickled and salted turnips, pickled and salted radishes, pickled and salted sesame leaves, and pickled and salted stalks, there is a veritable rainbow of pickled and salted flavors to be tasted in Korean side-dishes.

Now, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries aims to foster Korean dishes, farms, wood, and fishnets as a global brand, with the goal of making hansik one of the world's five most popular ethnic foods, and surpassing lame-ass Japanese food. For that purpose, the government is working on a comprehensive blueprint for a Korean food globalization initiative that involves sabotaging Japanese restaurants around the world, full-page ads in the New York Times, internet spam e-mail campaigns and netizen website attacks, and noisy protests outside the offices of news agencies that dare criticize Korean food, culture, or government.

First of all, it is working on the standardization of Korean foods, so everyone in the world can prepare and enjoy them according to recipes, and none of that mixed-blood fusion bullshit adapting pure Korean food to the local tastes. Such alterations would be a blasphemous blight on the highest form of world culture, and not even a drop of ink should be allowed in the Han river of kimchi. Those requesting special orders will be expelled from our restaurants for defiling the five-thousand year old canon of Korean food.

The ministry has recruited all the former members of VANK to become "diplomats of hansik" now that the government no longer supports their cyber-terrorism patriotism financially. They will be trained to cook only pure-blooded Korean food, and sent all around the world, paired with members of the Dokdo Riders, to sabotage those dirty, two-faced Japanese restaurants, to show world food-lovers how it's done, and to beat the shit out of sellout cooks who have changed Korean recipes in order for them to taste unique, new, or (even worse) palatable to the tastes of foreigners who obviously don't understand Korean culture. These diplomats will tell the stories of Korean food to customers eating at their restaurants, explaining the benefits of hansik long after they are asked to leave the diners to eat in peace. Eventually, their restaurants will be totally empty, all the patrons having left in their new-found enthusiasm to spread the word about the world's greatest food.

Last but not least, the ministry will continue to constantly publicize Korean foods. I will make every effort to beg, bribe or blackmail the world's most renowned chefs and food critics to recommend the virtues of hansik, to let the world know how valuable and enjoyable Korean foods are.

Hallyu, or the Korean wave, which endeared Korean pop culture to Asia and beyond, will now turn to a huge boom for Korean food. The overseas Koreans who snap up copies of Hallyu dramas nostalgically miss the Korean dishes they see in the dramas and movies they watch. The ministry will make sure that overpriced exports are readily available, so the Koreans overseas can enjoy hansik with the stories, and maybe some foreigners will smell it. We don't really care if they do, dirty-blood outsiders, but they can do whatever they want.

The second edition of the KFE is scheduled for this October. Following the inaugurating event last year, this year's food exhibition and fair will offer opportunities for the rest of the world to enjoy the enchanting world of Korean foods. We're even thinking of having bilingual signs this year.

Also, it's good for man.

(how's that, fatmanseoul?)


holterbarbour said...

Dokdo is Ours has finally hit the big time. By far the best post yet.

Paul Ajosshi said...

A masterful interpretation, I bow my head at your magnificence and prostrate myself in front of your hanshikky goodness.

Brian said...