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Korean offer something that foodies have begun craving for: an experience. Its not only about the food youre fed: the experience itself is just as important. And perhaps the huge success of the filmParasitehelped turned the worlds attention to South Korea and everything it has to offer.
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Ham grew up in the Chuncheon province of Koreaan area renowned for its natural and rural beauty.Â His abstract compositions often resemble landscapes or allude to elements of outdoor scenery.Â The pieces in this exhibit are from Ham's ongoing "Day Dream" series, a collection of works inspired by personal reflection, as well as Korean culture and tradition.
The painting-like appearance of Ham's hanji compositions stems from his artistic training and education; Ham studied Western-style painting and life drawing at Hong-Ik University, where he earned his Bachelor's degree in 1966. Ham originally worked in oils like the Western Masters he had studied, but eventually sensed that the medium limited his creativity. "However hard I tried," he explains in his 2001 interview with The Korean Times, "I could not avoid producing works similar to other artists in the world. All of us are human beings, we cannot help it. But I want to be original." Ham's inherent knack for innovation and ardent desire to create something unique led him to begin experimenting with hanji.
The artist's palette consists of the five traditional colorsred, ochre, blue, black, and whitewhich he creates using natural dyes.Â Large sheets of hanji are soaked in water.Â The artist then tears and kneads the medium, and uses hard brushes to add texture and affix the pieces to a hanji canvas.Â The original appearance and nature of the hanji sheets are completely transformed, and the traditional material is deconstructed and "reborn" into a unique artistic piece.
It's a luxury that really has kind of cemented itself in Korean society, says Daniel Gray, a Korean-American who is president of Delectable Travels, a food tour company in Seoul. It's iconic here.
Luxury isn't typically a word Americans associate with Spam, a gelatinous slab of pork shoulder, ham, salt and potato starch. But its revered status here dates back to the 1950s, when U.S. soldiers introduced it on the peninsula during the Korean War.
Spam and other canned foods such as beans and corn were sought out by some Koreans, whose postwar food supplies ran low. By the end of the 1980s, Spam had become a popular part of the Korean diet, especially as the local meat industry expanded and the product became easier to find.
At that price, many Koreans view it as a tasty side dish, especially as processed foods go. It's seen as a high-end luncheon meat, says Cho Hye-Jin, who works in Seoul. Out of the variety of luncheon meats available in Korea, Spam is probably the best quality.
Cho and Park Jin-Hong, both construction consultants, say they most often see their peers consume Spam along with soju a clear alcoholic beverage made with rice, potatoes or other starches. Park says Spam isn't a staple of his diet "it's too salty" but he does enjoy it.
Perhaps the most iconic Spam dish in South Korea is a spicy soup known as budae jjigae, or army stew. After the war, Koreans used U.S. Army rations sometimes smuggled off military bases or donated by soldiers to make the deep-red dish.
This concoction comes in many varieties. Restaurants use a mix of hot spices, noodles, Spam, sausage, beans, corn, green vegetables even cheese. It has been called "pig stew," "soldier stew" and "Johnson's stew," the latter after our 36th president.
Chris Amoroso, an American, discovered budae jjigae a few years ago while teaching English here. He liked it so much that he created a video on YouTube explaining the dish's colorful history. It's delicious, he tells viewers, sitting before a boiling pot.