by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
It’s about to get easier to eat Korean barbecue and bibimbap in your country.
The South Korean government announced Monday that it plans to double the number of Korean restaurants overseas in an effort to develop the country’s restaurant industry and globalize traditional Korean food, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it plans to boost the current number of Korean restaurants from 3,726 in some 40 countries to more than 7,000 in 50 countries by 2020.
By expanding the number of Korean restaurants, the ministry hopes to also increase overseas shipments of traditional Korean food and ingredients.
Seoul will also be putting in efforts to facilitate the training of foreign cooks and other restaurant personnel. Those without a South Korean passport are currently prohibited from receiving any culinary training in the country, as such training requires medical examination certificates. These certificates are only granted to individuals with permanent residence in South Korea.
According to Yonhap, the ministry will be working to revise the related laws to make it easier for foreign cooks to receive medical examination certificates.
Korean cuisine has been rising in popularity and status in the States. There has been a surge of Korean fusion restaurants in recent years, especially in New York and California. Last month, several Korean American chefs were nominated for the prestigious James Beard Awards, which is often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world.”