by COURTNEY LEE
Looking for one place to taste over 100 national cuisines? Try Milan.
Expo Milano 2015, which began last Friday and will run until Oct. 31, is showcasing the agricultural and gastronomic contributions of 145 countries from across the globe under this year’s theme, “Feeding the planet, energy for life.”
South Korea is one of many pavilions promoting healthy, accessible and sustainable food in the designated space of 1.1 million square meters in Milan this year. Built in the design of a “moon jar,” a traditional Korean work of pottery shaped like a full moon, the Korea Pavilion is the ninth largest pavilion in the expo. It recently announced that it plans to introduce Korean food, or hansik, to the world as “Food for the Future: You are What You Eat.”
According to Korea’s Expo page, the Korean Pavilion “explores the possibilities of taking its precious heritage of culinary tradition into the future, and demonstrates how to apply these traditions to resolve challenges for the whole of humanity.”
“Our goal is to let the world know Hansik could be a good alternative foods for the future,” said Park Min-gwon, first vice minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “We hope to discuss issues regarding sustainable foods during the expo.”
The Korea Pavilion features five exhibitions that guide visitors through today’s food crisis and how Korean food can be a possible solution. Starting with the theme “What Our Bodies Tell Us,” the first exhibit increases awareness of contemporary problems caused by overeating, over-production of processed foods and depletion of food resources.
The following exhibits, grouped under the theme “Hansik: Ask and Korean Wisdom Shall Answer,” illustrate the healthy harmony that comprises Korean food, benefits of fermentation in Korean cuisine and the environmentally preservative practice of underground storage in the fermentation process. The final exhibit, under the theme “Hansik: Food for the Future,” presents Korean food as a reliable and sustainable resource for humanity.
Guests can then taste Korean dishes in the Hansik restaurant, which offers dishes based on the three themes of harmony, health and healing, with an emphasis on natural foods and traditional seasonings. Bibimbap, a mixed rice dish, represents the harmonious aspect of Korean cuisine with its “combination of colors, flavors, and nutrients” in one bowl. The healthy menu includes fermented foods such as kimchi that are rich in probiotics, while healing foods are exemplified by Korean sauces and pastes, or jang, that help boost the immune system.
The expo is “considered one of the three biggest global events alongside the Olympics and the World Cup,” according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It will be a huge opportunity for Korea to showcase itself, and, of course, K-pop as well as several other events to spread Korean culture will be held throughout the months of the expo.
Featured image via More Unikka