Pasta Trends in Korea
by Daniel Gray
In 2010, there was a famous Korean romantic drama called Pasta which featured a hand-some male Korean chef who studied in Italy and a spunky, determined female chef that was determined to become an elite Italian chef. The drama was very popular and a constant joke on the show was how the Italian-trained chef would refuse to make pickles to serve with the pasta. The restaurant owner and chef would constantly bicker about this because customers expected pickles. However, before this drama, Koreans did not know that pickles were not part of an Italian pasta meal.
The drama was very popular and many Koreans went to Korea to learn how to make pasta and Italian food in Italy. When they returned and they brought their training and tools to their homeland.
Creamy Carbonara with Steak
In the past, dried, Italian noodles where considered to be exotic since they were made in Italy. They were quite expensive and at restaurants, a bowl of pasta could be just as ex-pensive as a meat course. When Koreans eat pasta, they would like to share it as a couple while having a steak. The preferred pairing is creamy carbonara pasta or clam Vongolè with a pan-seared sirloin steak. They would get pickles and veggies with the steak and pickles with the pasta. If this is considered too creamy or greasy, the couple might get a salad with it. Afterwards many would get a tiramisu dessert. These days, dried pasta is no longer in fashion since people prefer softer, handmade noodles. The best places for pasta would have all the different mixers, dough cutters, noodle presses and more in an open kitchen so guests can see their meals being made.
While North American-style, cheddarish mac-n-cheese is new to Korea, it has been very popular in the last year. You can now find mac-n-cheese on many restaurant menus and instant mac-n-cheese boxes in grocery stores. There is also a mac-n-cheese hamburger that you can heat up in the microwave and eat.