#10 in the series – challenges & innovations for Korean restaurants abroad
“We’re not interested in carrying the Korean flag, but it’s important for us to give people good, tasty food in a nice, friendly atmosphere with traditional family recipes.”
On my recent trip to Sweden I had the pleasure of chatting with sisters Byung-Hi (the manager) and Byung-Soon (the chef) Lim at Korean restaurant Arirang in Stockholm. Family-owned since the restaurant’s establishment in 1975, it was in fact the first Korean restaurant to open in the whole of Scandinavia. In a very modest way, however, they point out that they didn’t really think of themselves as a restaurant at that time.
When my friend and I decided to meet for afternoon tea in London, she told me it would be her first proper British one in the UK, so I decided to go for a classic one. I’d never been to The Montagu at the Hyatt Regency before, but the menu and presentation looked promising. We were seated at the window in what was a large, open space with high ceilings, a bar to one end of the room, an open kitchen to the other. Divided by only a few pillars, the more lounge-like area next to the restaurant/afternoon tea space was alive with people chatting away. In our more quiet space, the atmosphere was relaxed, free from any disturbances.
Although I have visited the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia at least once per year ever since I can remember, it was only last year that I found out about the existence of the Grillaschtorte. At a Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) family gathering, my mother’s cousin’s daughter introduced us to what would become one of my favourite layered cakes – Grillasch or Grillage, also known as Eissplittertorte.
#9 in the series – challenges & innovations for Korean restaurants abroad
“Authenticity does not exist.”
Off the beaten track, on the side road of a pedestrian shopping street, in a city of a little over 200,000 called Krefeld, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the West of Germany, you will find a Korean restaurant called Soban (소반), which prepares the most beautiful and delicious traditional royal Korean food. You would not expect to find it there and you might easily overlook it if you are unfamiliar with Korean food, but it is there, and the city all the better for it.
Chris Nuttall-Smith has blessed us with an incredibly informative article in the latest Lucky Peach issue about the rising popularity (or a going-back-to movement) of slower-growth birds in the chicken industry (in particular in the US where the faster-and-bigger-is-better-mantra had become the norm).
One day I came across a very nice deal for a Scandal Water afternoon tea at The London EDITION Hotel with an extra tea punch to take home, and I did not want to pass up the chance. I arrived at the hotel, followed directions to the designated room, peeked inside, and wondered if I had come to the right place. Upon entering, the room felt rather dark and oaky, with plump leather armchairs and a tucked-away bar with a rich display of colourful glass bottles of alcohol (the hard stuff). It felt mysterious and yes, almost scandalous – (more…)
As with many of my culinary discoveries, it was New York which introduced me to xiǎolóng bāo (小笼包). And my Chinese friends who brought me to the restaurants where they were freshly made. I’m sure for anyone who remembers their first xiao long bao experience and for those of you who have yet to discover the joy of XLB, the unsuspecting, delicious, soul-warming soup inside this bite-sized pleated dumpling is the most memorable. Like a Kinder surprise egg the highlight is hidden and wrapped inside, and although you may already know the surprise, you are nonetheless excited about it and thrilled by the flavour-intense soup that comes gushing out once you bite a little hole into the slightly stretchy yet thin and delicate dumpling skin. (more…)
The wastED tea pop-up I was lucky enough to enjoy on the roof at Selfridges on Wednesday (since it’s a pop-up unfortunately it’s only around until 2nd April and tables get booked out quickly so be sure to secure yours) was an afternoon tea that I was excited about the moment I booked. Knowing that two amazing and world-renowned chefs (Dan Barber and Yotam Ottolenghi) as well as an incredible tea expert (Henrietta Lovell) were behind it was already enough to get me bouncing up and down in anticipation. The fact that the food was not just a food but a medium for a message, or rather a medium to nudge us to think about food and different food parts (those usually discarded in some parts of the world) in a more open way, made me tap my feet together and start dancing (well almost, but such was my excitement!). (more…)