The popularity for Korean cuisine has increased thanks to the recently-publicised health benefits of fermented food. Lucy Mears, sales and marketing manager of Harbour & Jones Events, said: "This is no fad, it’s a firm trend that shows no sign of disappearing any time soon.
"Fermented soybean pastes are being used as marinades, with the fermentation process neutralising the toxins and anti-nutrients that soybeans contain. The Korean food movement truly appeals to the indulgent and health-conscious alike."
The most famous fermented Korean dish is Kimchi, which is usually made of fermented cabbage. "Kimchi fried rice is the best way to use up left over cooked rice," recommended chef and food stylist Jourdan Bourke, who is currently working on the pre-release of his latest book, Our Korean Kitchen. "Fried with kimchi, sesame oil, gochujang (Korean chili paste) and egg, it is the ultimate fast, easy Korean lunch."
Although a new discovery to the Western world, Korean has not been untouched by the fusion food fanatics. Mears said: "Infusion is the buzzword of the moment, with Korean flavours being served up in Mexican tacos, or American fried chicken taking on an Eastern edge."
"Noodles are so over," professed David Ridgway, executive head chef at Smart Group. "They had a resurgence last year but now people want more hand-held street-food such as [rice dish] bibimbap, or fried chicken wings or skewers of soy-marinated meat."
Mears agreed: "Steamed Ho Bang buns are the stand out choice for informal events. These pillow-soft buns are filled with well-marinated barbecued meats, fish and vegetables and then topped with kimchi slaws, pickles and sauces.
"They seem to perfectly bridge the gap between finger food and a more substantial meal, not to mention the added theatre of choosing your fillings and toppings as the chef makes them fresh to order."
For a canapé option, try sticky rice cakes slathered in hot sauce Sriracha.
Every authentic cuisine needs an authentic drink, so step forward Makgeolli. Made from fermented rice, yeast and water, the milky drink is making a comeback in South Korea after wine and whiskey began to eclipse its popularity in the 1980s.
To get a taste of Makgeolli in the UK, head to Arang in London’s Soho.
This dessert – pancakes stuffed with nuts and cinnamon – is, according to Bourke, completely addictive. "It is made with a yeasted dough and is one of my favorite Korean desserts," he said.
The small, street-food size of the treat also makes it a perfect option for dessert canapés alongside sweet potato rice donuts and caramelised sweet potatoes.
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