Experience the flavours of Korea at this food festival in Chennai

Korean food is not a very new phenomena in India, but of late has seemed to caught the palate of adventurous diners partly thanks to the proliferation of Chaebol corporates in India
Gujeolpan – DIY wraps with 9 accompaniments - A royal court dish consisting of nine fillings served with thin crepes
Gujeolpan – DIY wraps with 9 accompaniments - A royal court dish consisting of nine fillings served with thin crepes

Korean food is relatively new to Indian palates, but has caught on really quick. Part of this is of course due to the fact that Indian palates have become quite adventurous, and partly due to so many Korean companies setting up shop in India. But a change in taste is always an exciting proposition and when The Park hotel invited us to sample their food festival aptly called Obangsaek (the colour spectrum), we did not hesitate to give it a go.

Interestingly, Korean food we are told is based around the interplay of five colours – fire (red), wood (blue/green), earth (yellow), metal (white) and water (black). So we started with a welcome drink in a red motif, called Subak hawache, a combination of watermelon, strawberries, condensed milk, aerated lemon beverage and honey. Although a refreshing thirst quencher, yet this very sweet beverage does not really hit the right spot, though it is surely something that will be appreciated by kids. The first course was Jumeok Bap, essentially Korean rice balls stuffed with a broccoli land Shiitake mushrooms. The bite was quite flavourful and the somewhat bland rice was set off by the sharp test of the spicy fillings of the Broccoli and the Shiitake. To balance all of this is the chilli sauce – simply fiery, simply decadent – easily palatable!

Next course  was Gimmari. Gimmari takes fried seaweed to a different level with a stuffing of Japchae noodles and prawn (there is a veggie version too with Tofu). This one was quite tasty, with the crunchiness of the sea weed going well with the soft prawns and giving a very nice combined taste on the palate, perked up with the tanginess of the chilli dipping sauce. The next course on the menu was also truly inspiring, Saewu ganghwe, made up of green onion and asparagus bundles tied onto prawns,  with a sweet and sour gochuajang sauce for dipping

Gujeolpan – DIY wraps with 9 accompaniments - A royal court dish consisting of nine fillings served with thin crepes
Check out the Heirloom Rice Varieties festival at ITC Grand Chola in Chennai

The umami  taste profile just shone through and raw flavours came together to taste really good.

The ultimate dish was reserved for the last. Gujeolpan is a major item on the menu with the concept being to make your own rolls. Nine fillings are laid out across the plate, served with thin crepes. So you have a choice of vegetables, Chicken, Prawns, and Tenderloin. The idea is that you can customise a roll with your favourite ingredients like mustard. This thing actually tastes great because your tongue plays with the different flavours you actually like but a fair warning here: because it tastes so light and nice, you can end up overeating!

Time for dessert, and we had the tradition Korean Bingsu. Bingsu means shaved ice in Korean and we got a huge potion with berries, condensed milk and other ingredients. This again has a light taste about it and is surely a fitting end to this grand feast.

Overall, the Obangsaek festival is an awesome gateway to Korean food. There is a certain taste profile for everyone and if you would like to try something different this weekend, head over to the hotel and we promise you will not regret it.

At A2 restaurant, The Park Hotel, open for lunch and dinner

Average price for 2 (without alcohol) INR 2,000++

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