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Feb 08, 2024 / 07:28

Vietnam, South Korean share some similarities for New Year

There is something in common when celebrating the New Year in the two countries, especially in cuisine.

South Korean fermented food is believed to go well with Vietnamese Tet delicacies.

South Korean chef Park Sang Kyung will share his recipe for making kimchi, which he thought would be a perfect pairing with traditional Vietnamese Tet dishes.

Love of Vietnamese cuisine

Speaking to The Hanoi Times, Park said that he loves celebrating the Lunar New Year in Vietnam.

"We often have three or four days off for the occasion in South Korea, which is shorter than in Vietnam, so I like to stay in Vietnam during the Lunar New Year. I enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere in Hanoi and the way people gather to toast to the best things to come in the New Year," he said.

He said that Tet is a very special occasion in Korea. According to Korean culture, which has many similarities with Vietnamese culture, the New Year is an occasion for everyone to get together, cook delicious dishes and for adults to give lucky money to children.

The New Year dish in Korean culture is bulgogi (grilled beef). Kimchi is also a dish that appears on Korean holiday trays. Koreans often choose cabbage kimchi or radish kimchi to put on an offering tray.

From time to time, Chef Park Sang Kyung holds kimchi-making workshops in Hanoi. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

After years of working in the food industry, he chose Vietnam as one of the stops on his culinary journey as he loves exploring traditional Vietnamese food, which is abundant during the Lunar New Year.

"Various delicious dishes are prepared and offered to the ancestors, and then people gather to enjoy the food in a cosy atmosphere. I've chosen kimchi because it's good for soothing the stomach during the Tet festival. I would like to learn more about Vietnam's fermented vegetables because I know that Vietnamese cuisine also has many kinds of pickled dishes," he added.

Authentic kimchi and BBQ

Park is one of the promoters of the popularity of Korean culinary trends among the Vietnamese people. According to Park, Korean cuisine will vary from country to country to suit local tastes. He wants to convey the message of "authentic Korean cuisine" to diners. Because kimchi is a naturally fermented food, it also has an antibacterial effect and aids digestion. 

 Chef Park gives a lesson in the preparation of authentic kimchi. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

On the occasion of Tet, the chef provides some tips for making kimchi. Here are fresh ingredients, including cabbage leaves which must be green and thin to absorb the sauce quickly. 

Fresh ingredients for making kimchi. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

The spices used to marinate kimchi often depend on each family's tastes, but usually include white radish, carrots, garlic, chilli powder, onion, ginger, among others. Normally, kimchi can be left at room temperature for 1-2 days to ferment quickly, or stored in the fridge for a week.

Korean BBQ can be an option for Vietnamese people during the Tet holiday. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

Meanwhile, to make delicious Korean BBQ, the ingredients must be carefully selected. Delicious cuts of meat for Korean BBQ must have a good amount of fat woven into the meat's fibres, be cut to a medium thickness, and watch the heat when grilling.

"Fire is one of the most important factors to consider when barbecuing meat. Do not use too much heat or the meat will dry out quickly. Grill and turn slowly over moderate heat. Meat is cooked when it is lightly charred. And when you cut it, the inside of the meat still retains moisture," said Park.