Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

July is heart and Seoul month at Uno

Korean cuisine is the traditional food of Korea. From the complex Korean royal court cuisine to regional specialties to modern fusion cuisine, the ingredients and preparation are richly varied, and many dishes are becoming internationally popular. Based largely on rice, vegetables, meats and tofu (dubu in Korean), traditional Korean meals are notable for the number of side dishes (banchan) that accompany the ubiquitous steam-cooked short-grain rice, soup, and kimchi (fermented, spicy vegetable banchan, most commonly cabbage, radish or cucumber). Every meal is accompanied by numerous banchan.

Korean food is usually seasoned with sesame oil, doenjang (fermented soybean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger and gochujang (red chili paste). Korea is the largest consumer of garlic, ahead of Italy and Southeast Asia.

Korean royal cuisine, once only enjoyed by the royal court and the yangban aristocrats of the Joseon period, take hours and days to prepare. It must harmonize warm and cold, hot and mild, rough and soft, solid and liquid, and a balance of presentation colors. It is often served on hand-forged bronzeware. The foods are served in a specific arrangement of small dishes alternating to highlight the shape and color of the ingredients.

Some of these traditional royal cuisines, which can cost as much as US$250 per person excluding drinks, include serving by exclusive waiters and can be found at high-end restaurants in select locations within the city of Seoul. Imperial cuisine has received a recent boost in popularity, due to Dae Jang Geum, a Korean television drama very popular in many parts of Asia, about a humble girl becoming the royal head chef during the Joseon period.
Korean Cuisine Dining Guide
In many aspects Korean cuisine is a combination of Japanese and Chinese techniques in preparing food. If compared to Japanese cuisine, it relies less on fish and seafood; if compared to Chinese, it relies less on oil.

The staple food of course is rice (bap). Rice noodles (chapche) and bean curd (duboo) are common starch substitutes or additions. Korean foods tend to be spicier than either Japanese or Chinese dishes. The hotness comes chiefly from chili. Other common spices are sesame and ginger. Most peculiar about Korean cuisine, however, is its way of pickling instead of cooking vegetables. Pickled vegetables in Korean is kimchi, a term anyone visiting Korean restaurants will learn fast. Literally kimchi is just the word for vegetables; but pickling is so predominant that even for the Koreans, kimchi also means pickled vegetables and they only specify the preparation if it is other than pickled. Koreans are likely to eat pickled vegetables every day of the year, commonly for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the cold Korean winter kimchi can last for many months. However, in the tropical Thai climate, kimchi should be and is prepared only several days before consumption. The pickling process takes about 12 to 14 hours. Almost all available vegetables can be pickled but the most common in Korea are cabbage, turnip, and cucumber. The seasoning is chili, garlic, onion, ginger, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and salt. During the fermenting process the vegetables loose much of their natural flavor and instead adopt the flavor of the seasoning. The difference in texture, however, is enhanced.

Even as kimchi is most peculiar to Korean cuisine, it's rather the Korean habit of preparing meat as barbecue (bulgogi) that has appealed to a large number of gourmets around the world.

As the Koreans use chopsticks meats are chopped into bite size before being cooked. And like in Chinese dining, dishes (except rice) are served family style with food placed in the middle of the table where every diner picks a piece of this or that. The Koreans pay particular attention to the arrangement of the food on the plates and the dishes on the table, a similarity to first-class Thai cuisine. Foods are supposed to be placed neatly in concentric circles or parallel linear columns and never in a disorderly fashion. But that's not enough. Also the colors of the foods should alternate in a regular manner.

Taste the unforgettable, many flavors of Korea all Sundays of July in UNO, in HEART AND SEOUL, a special Sunday Lunch and Dinner Buffet, at P750.00 per person. UNO, located at the Hotel's Lobby Level, is open from 5:30AM to 11:00PM with a daily breakfast buffet from 5:30AM to 10:30AM, lunch buffet from 11:30AM to 2:30PM, and dinner buffet from 6:00PM to 10:30PM. For inquiries and reservations, one may call tel. no. 232-6888 (local 8604 and 8201).












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