韓國泡菜年代記/Kimchi Chronicles

2011_08_04_Kimchi-Chronicles_book-cover

自從十四歲離開家裡出國留學後, 我就非常幸運能遇到各國來的朋友, 其中和我最有緣的就是韓國朋友, 高中時有一個非常要好的韓國室友, M。M教會我看韓國字, 也教會了我很多韓語的會話, 我到現在都還記得非常清楚也還會用。十五歲那年放春假, 我和M一起去她漢城的家玩了一個禮拜。因為她, 在台灣人聽過韓流這兩個字之前我就去過韓國吃過真正的韓食, 親眼看過其實韓國和台灣有多麼的類似。M的爸媽是你在韓劇中看過的那種超級熱情而且非常可愛的爸媽, 一直很擔心我每天有沒有吃飽有沒有玩到, 也非常訝異我這個台灣妹怎麼這麼會吃辣。到現在, 過了這麼多年, 我和M失聯後, 我都還留著M媽媽當時送給我的金戒指, 我知道她一定很喜歡我才會給我這枚戒指, 而我也一直很寶貝的留著它。到上了大學後, 台灣韓流來襲, 開始有很多韓國音樂, 韓劇, 電影, 很多人才開始注意韓國的飲食。而因為大長今的走紅, 很多人也才慢慢發現其實所謂的"韓食"也是非常有研究的。近年來美國也開始流行亞洲飲食文化, 韓國烤肉, 壽司, 還有美式中國料理本來就非常的受歡迎。但傳統的泡菜及發酵文化也因近年來很多的研究, 讓越來越多人了解它們對人體的好處。本來一向對亞洲飲食有霧裡看花感覺的人, 也開始對這些料理方法產生非常大的興趣。

喜歡研究米其林餐廳的饕客們一定都知道Jean-Georges Vongerichtenshi是誰, 在紐約, 倫敦, 巴黎, 上海還有拉斯維加斯都有米其林三星以上餐廳的Jean-Goerges也是以愛使用亞洲食材出名的。他的太太是Marja Vongerichtenshi, 也是有一半韓國血統的混血兒。PBS這次和Jean-Georges還有Marja合作製作Kimchi Chronicles, 深入探討韓食, 從最基本的料理, 到夜市的小吃, 一一介紹。Marja對重新認識韓國文化的熱情, 促成了一套真的很精緻很漂亮而且把韓國文化完整呈獻的節目。當然, 最近新推出來的食譜也非常的讚。我非常希望這個節目能在台灣播出, 除了大家平常熟悉的辣炒年糕, 豆腐鍋, 烤肉之外, 韓食真的非常多樣化。而且我一直認為, 雖然每次吃正統韓食都是桌上一碟一碟滿滿滿, 可是能一次吃到的食物還有蔬菜種類遠比任何一個國家的料理還要多上好幾輩。如果你真的很想認識韓國料理的話, 看看這個節目吧, 我非常希望他們再續拍第二季!

I've been lucky to have friends from various cultures ever since moving to the US as a student at age 14. I've especially had good luck with Korean friends. M was my roommate for two years in high school. She taught me how to read, write and speak some Korean. Until this day, I still remember everything I learned from M and I use them from time to time. During one spring break in high school, I visited M's home in Seoul and got to spend a whole week there eating real Korean food and seeing the culture with my own eyes. This was far before the wave of Korean pop culture hit Asia. M's parents were so cute and hospitable, they made sure I was well-fed and had tons of fun in Seoul every single day. They also couldn't help but be in absolute shock when they saw how any spicy food doesn't even phase me. Before I left Korea, M's mom gave me a golden band. I know this means a lot in Korean culture and it meant that she liked me a lot. After all these years, even after I lost touch with M, I still have this gold band and see it as one of my treasures. It is not until when I was in college had people in Asia started to really pay attention to Korea. The Korean pop culture started booming and spread throughout Asia. And if you know or even watch Korean dramas, you must have heard of the series Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace). This series was almost the first thing that introduced foreigners to the real Korean food/Hansik. Recently in America, Asian cuisines have become more and more popular because of some celebrity chefs. But also because people have been discovering the health benefits of Asian cooking. Besides the already popular Korean BBQ, Japanese Sushi and American-style Chinese food, more and more people are trying to learn to use basic and traditional Asian ingredients in their cooking and try to incorporate more fermented food cultures into their diet, which is a staple in all Asian cuisines.

If you're a foodie, you must also know Jean-Georges Vongerichtenshi. The famed chef owns Michelin 3-star restaurants in New York, London, Paris, Shanghai and Las vegas. Jean-Georges is infamous for being really good at incorporating Asian ingredients in his menus. His wife Marja Vongerichtenshi is half Korean. Marja, along with Jean-Georges produced Kimchi Chronicles with PBS as a study and a path to rediscovering her roots. This series introduces Hansik in-depth, from the most basic recipe and ingredients to the common street food. The things you're about to see are definitely not what you are used to seeing at your local Korean restaurant, not just the kalbi, bimbimbap or bulgogi. Marja's passion for re-learning and immersing her family and herself with the Korean culture made this one very interesting series. You see everything, the emotions, the love and the culture unfold all together. And of course, the cookbook that accompanies the series is beautiful. I had the luck to be introduced to such a bold culture since a very young age and I've always been thankful about it. Sometimes it gets overwhelming to see the endless banchan dishes covering almost the entirety of the dining table when you go to a Korean restaurant, but you know what, not one cuisine in this world will allow you to taste this many variety of vegetables and types of food in one sitting. I say bravo to that! If you want to learn more about Korean food, I would not miss Kimchi Chronicles. I secretly wish they make a second season for this!