A closer look at the popularity of Korean cuisine among the Vietnamese youth

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By Team 5, April 27, 2017

Most of the time, people’s curiosity is aroused by original and new food, for instance, the case of Korean food in Vietnam. Furthermore, the spread of K-pop, Korean movies and dramas, or even culture festivals also play an important part in the increasing popularity of Korean cuisine among Vietnamese people, especially the youth. Not only is it delicious but its healthy nutrition also makes it fascinating as well.

Last month, our Food Paradise team interviewed several students of ULIS (University of Languages and International Studies) to ask them to share their thoughts on Korean food.

Hallyu” and “Hansik

“Hallyu”, a term meaning “Korean cultural wave”, was originated in the mid-1999 by Beijing journalists, who were surprised at the speed of the fast-growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture. And along with “Hallyu”, naturally came “Hansik”, meaning “Korean Traditional Food”, as part of the former. Like many other countries, Vietnam welcomed “Hallyu” with open arms. Thus, “Hansik” gradually became more and more popular among Vietnamese people.

To better understand the relationship between Korean culture and the popularity of its food in Vietnam, let’s take a closer look at one of Korean’s most famous aspects – movies and drama series. Korean TV series and movies have a significant effect on young generations in Vietnam. With a half-simple, half-complicated plot, most of their contents revolve around love and romance between young people as well as traditional and modern relationships of different generations in a family. Perhaps it is because Vietnamese culture and Korean’s are quite similar, perhaps somethings else, but these films deeply connect with Vietnamese people, particularly the young. And thanks to that, the more people watching them, the more of them get to know about Korean food through seeing it on TV and cinemas.

Along with the influence of Korean culture and films, the rising number of Korean-themed restaurants and diners in highly-populated cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh is also a huge factor which directly links to its widespread fame.

2“I know about it through movie, TV series, Facebook, or eating with friends. As some restaurants were famous so my friends wanted to check them out”- Linh (University of Languages and International Studies)

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A Korean food store near University of languages and International studies in Hanoi

Additionally, Korea has a variety of ingenious and professional culture strategies and promotions. One of its most prominent strategies has to be Korean Culture Festivals which annually often attract up to hundreds of thousands of high-schoolers and students in particular (the most recent one took place on 9 April, which attracted dozens of thousands of people). Because of this, Korean culture, especially its unique and diverse gourmet is well-known and beloved by people of all ages. With so much exposure to Korean food plus the curiosity nature of the Vietnamese youth, it would be considered even hard not to be charmed by their cuisine.

3“There are a lot of gourmet festivals which are organized in Hanoi and I usually attend them”- Quynh (University of Languages and International Studies)

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Many people want to give Korean food a try
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Many young Vietnamese people waiting to enjoy Korean foods in Korean Festival Culture near Hoan Kiem lake on April 9, 2017.  

Korean food cultural diffusion into young Vietnamese people’s culinary lifestyle

Delicious, simple, and nutritious are words that young Vietnamese people tend to describe Korean foods. Indeed, most dishes in this Kimchi kingdom are not too sophisticated in the making, yet renowned for their distinctive taste and eye-catching display.

1Actually, I have eaten quite a lot of Korean food. And it’s pretty good. And as a Vietnamese, when eating other countries’s dishes, I feel that their tastes are a bit different. So I find it interesting.” – Vu (University of Languages and International Studies)

To Korean food lovers everywhere, the colorful manners of those dishes bring out some of the most exceptional and amazing experiences. In special occasions, young people can spend time with friends indulging in Korean restaurants enjoying the tasty and ravishing food. Likewise, they can even make it themselves for daily meals or picnics with just a simple recipe and easy-to-get ingredients.

7“Especially when going picnic, it is easiest to make gimbap. And once a while, we’ll make kimchi to eat during meals.”– Linh (University of Languages and International Studies)

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“Actually, as I said before, we tend to eat outside a lot. Plus, during the holidays like 30/4-1/5 or before the semester ends. we sometimes gather around to make simple dishes like gimbap or Tteokbokki “- Hoa (University of Languages and International Studies)

Here are a few among numerous popular Korean food in Vietnam which have caused a huge sensation.

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Black noodle with chewy long noodles, unique black and white sauce, served with. turnip, eggs…
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Tteobokki made from a long squeezed rice, then stewed with red peppers and  onion, so it carries a very distinctive reddish orange
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Bibimbap, also known as Korean rice. all ingredients including meats, vegetables, and eggs are mixed into a large hot bowl of rice.

Most interestingly about cuisines in Korea is its highly nutritional content. Some of its most notable dishes are Kimchi, Ganjang (soy sauce) and Gochujang (chili) which are high in good bacteria. In 2017, Arirang News channel – a global broadcasting channel in Korean reported that, besides boosting our immune system and digestion, kimchi can also treats atopic dermatitis. Additionally, a joint study by Korea’s rural development administration and the U.S Agricultural Research Service in 2013 proved that Korean food can help food consumers fight off cardiovascular disease and diabetes by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level. Delicious tastes together with a balanced nutrition are the key strengths of Korean food to conquer many young Vietnamese people. 

3“I’ve tried a lot Korean cuisine, such as Tteokbokki, mix rice plate, gimbap, or multiple-level spicy noodle. And I think Korean food is very tasty, healthy, and easy to make” – Quynh (University of Languages and International Studies)

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Gimbap with eggs, vegetables, squid centered by sticky rice alongside seaweed
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Crispy, sour, spicy Kimchi is typical of Korea
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Nutritious seaweed soup with the main ingredient is seaweed often cooked instead of birthday cake in Korea 

Accompanied by Hallyu, Hansik can be seen as the pioneer that carries the essence of Korean culture. It is understandable that such nutritious food with fresh and luscious taste integrate so quickly into Vietnamese cuisine.  Regardless, despite the fact that youngster and teenagers are craving for Hansik, it does not overwhelm or reduce the value of Vietnamese food but gradually enriches and embraces the culinary lifestyle in our country. 

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9 thoughts on “A closer look at the popularity of Korean cuisine among the Vietnamese youth

  1. Wowww!!! it’s so useful and helpful. Korean country is professionally advertising its culture through music, movies, festivals,… Korean cuisine keeps being so popular with young Vietnamese people. And also, Korean itself taste really good and wholesome when one dish may contain lots of different and nutritious ingredients. Like mixed rice, I can see rice with mix of egg, meat, mushroom, vegetable, Korean soy sauce… so many. 🙂
    Thanks a lot!! 🙂 I hope to read upcoming news of you, guys

    Liked by 1 person

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