Korean Food Foundation Han Sik with Kelly Choi (Top Chef Masters) Spreads the Love of Korean Food with Korean New Year – New York 2011
Quick! Name 3 Asian cuisines. Was Korean among your choice? If so, do you know what Kal Bi Jim, Jap Chae, Mo Deum Jeon, and na Mul are? If you don’t, don’t worry. The Korean Government is lavishly launching a new marketing campaign through the newly formed Korean Food Foundation (KFF) under the direction of the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries to help educate and embrace the amazing foods from Korea. Sound crazy? Who cares, I just love Korean food and so should you. Yesterday I was invited to a launch party at Bann Korean Restaurant (350 W 50th St) filled with a few high ranking dignitaries such as Kim Young-Mok (South Korean General Consulate of NY) and journalists including Korean TV broadcasters, The Korean Daily Press, and a few other food bloggers (Rachel from The Daily Meal and Regina from Gastropoda). The star of the event was Korean born celebrity Kelly Choi of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters who spent a few minutes introducing the food. Our lunch that day was both a celebration of the Korean Cuisine and the Lunar New Year. Like other Asian cultures, Korea celebrates the Lunar New Year with their own auspicious dishes including the Tteokguk or Dduk Gook.
At Bann, this dish was delicately prepared with sliced unsweetened rice cakes in a rich beef broth with grilled rib eye, egg and seaweed. This was one of my favorite dishes of the day – the broth was amazing and perfect in this cold weather. The grilled rib eye definitely gave it a bolder and richer taste while the rice cake discs just melted in your mouth. I also really enjoyed the Kal Bi Jim (braised beef short rib with a sake glaze), it was extremely tender and melted in your mouth.
Other dishes included of course Kim Chi and the small side dishes called Nam Mul ( Korean bellflower, fern brake, and spinach)
As well as some Jap Chae (glass noodles, vegetables and beef) and Mo Deum Jeon (assorted Korean style vegetable pancakes)
I was completely stuffed at this point but managed to sample the dessert menu which included a sweet cinnamon and ginger tea with persimmons (soo jung gwa) along sweetened rice cakes.
For more information about Korean Food including recipes, cultural information, restaurants, and more you can visit the official Korean Food Foundation Hansik website at www.hansik.org.
After the meal, I spent a few minutes with Kelly and asked her about her plans for the new TV season. While rumors about who will be hosting Top Chef Masters Season 3 are still stiring, I was excited to find out that Kelly is coming back to Secrets of New York and filming will begin in early March with new costumes (I have to admit I didn’t complain about the original costumes) and new secrets of New York including an episode on prohibition and another one on the theatre district back in the day. Stay Tuned!