Food Indulge in the gastronomic delights of a "feel-good" cuisine

If there is one way to describe Korean food, then ‘feel-good' seems to be the most appropriate phrase. The fact that the Koreans enjoy their food immensely and treat every meal indulgently and importantly is proved by the way they serve their meal. Celebrating the flavours of Korea, Westin Hyderabad Mindspace is hosting a Korean food festival.

Speciality Chef Daniel Park who is flown in to look over the food festival explains that in a traditional Korean meal, all the dishes are spread out on the table and everybody sits together to eat their meal. Serving the dishes separately as starters, main course or dessert is purely a western concept. While the flavours range from sweet, spicy and sometimes just steamed, one of the most important and indispensable dish is the Kimchi. It is made of fermented vegetables like cabbage, radish or cucumber and infused with flavours of ginger, garlic and chilli pepper. It is served as a side dish and often with soups too. Fermentation plays an important role in Korean cuisine, soy sauce, hot chilli sauces are some of the sauces used for the spicy, sweet and sour flavours.

A typical Korean meal starts with a wholesome soup or porridge like the sweet pumpkin porridge. Next comes the cold cuts and the salad. Since it's a one serve meal, there is actually not much difference between the second and main course. Korean cuisine will be a delight to all the non vegetarians while the vegetarians might feel like receiving the consolation prize. Chef Daniel Park says the vegetables come as a side dish and almost never the main dish. Apart from the wide array of sea food, beef and pork dominates the main course.

The steamed king prawn garnished with finely chopped mushrooms, bell peppers and eggs just melts in your mouth and before you realise you will go second and third helpings. The braised beef has a sweet and sour flavour and goes excellently with the sticky rice. You can also occasionally pop some rolled wheat pancakes stuffed with mushrooms, crab and bell peppers. White thin noodles are also a good accompaniment. Steamed rice with hot chilli sauce, pickled zucchini, mushrooms and Kimchi is also a quite a flavourful combination. Korean cuisine does not offer a variety of dessert apart from juices and a traditional rice cake. Korean food is aromatic and the flavours are subtle that will tease your taste buds. The best part about a Korean meal is that it is wholesome, healthy and light.

The festival is open at the Seasonal Tastes of Westin Hyderabad Mindspace, till April 1.

SOHINI CHAKRAVORTY

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