The Korean Peninsula has gained a certain reputation for firepower, whether in the form of mortar shells from the North or the mouth-searing, "dare-you-to-eat-it" offerings at most Korean take-out places. But a couple of recent video and TV offerings are inviting us to get to know the other side of Korea, the fun-food side.
Marja Vongerichten, the wife of international super-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is entering the spotlight in her own right as the star of an upcoming 13-part series on PBS. The Kimchi Chronicles documents Marja's culinary travels through her native homeland, which, according to The New York Times, she left at the age of three to be adopted by a couple in Virginia.
Here she is sampling four-year-old kimchi, or diving for crabs, or touring what appears to be a veritable island of green tea. Her husband is often at her side, and in the preview clip, it's funny to see the head of an international restaurant empire relegated to the role of awkward diplomat, quizzically listening for the translator's cues and, in one scene, committing the faux pas of sipping the green tea before properly appreciating its aroma.
Sure, The Kimchi Chronicles will no doubt appeal to the PBS crowd and inspire a more nuanced appreciation for the cuisine of a centuries-old culture, as will the 100-recipe cookbook Marja is preparing to release next year.
For an entirely different point of view, we bring you this wacked-out clip from Hiphop Kimbob, a trio of street rappers talking up the joys of Korean sushi (also known as kimbap and gim bahp) versus eating junk food. According to the original post on Eater, the lyrics are translated as, "Try it once. And you'll want more." Check it out online; it's unlikely you'll ever see these guy dressed as sushi on PBS.
Click on these links for recipes for kimbap and quick kimchi.