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A place to read, research and cook

Apr 27,2017
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The Cooking Library, a new themed-library from Hyundai Card, will open on Friday. The facility, top, has about 10,000 books available in Korean, English, French and Japanese. The library also has a cooking studio, bottom, where visitors can cook up food with recipes from the books there. [HYUNDAI CARD]
Creative ideas and cooking tips can come from chefs on cooking programs on TV or food blogs, but some amateur kitchen maestros just cannot get enough.

To satiate the hunger for more knowledge when it comes to food, Hyundai Card, which has opened themed libraries across Seoul, adds food on Friday to its existing collection of books on design, travel and music. The new Cooking Library is located in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul - an area filled with trendy restaurants and cafes - in an attempt to attract diners who want to bring their food experience to another level.

The library, which has about 10,000 books available in Korean, English, French and Japanese, has items ranging from recipe books to food-themed novels. It has also set up sections that have books honored in globally known institutions such as the James Beard Foundation Book Awards.

Looking at a recipe including spices you are unfamiliar with? Then head to the Ingredients House, which has about 190 different spices, oils, salts and herbs available. Small portions are put in clear bottles so that anyone can take a look at the shape of unfamiliar herbs and smell or taste them.

If your interest turns to wanting to use a variety of ingredients to cook a dish, head to the self-cooking studio. There, a few recipes will be available for visitors to try at an additional cost that will usually range around 20,000 won ($18). The recipes are all from books available in the library, and the name of the books are provided. Visitors can choose to eat the food they made right away out in the adjoining terrace or inside, or pack up a box to bring back home. There is no instructor leading the cooking session, but staff members will be present and provide help if necessary. More cooking classes with experts will become available soon.

“We wanted the place to be where people can experience more than just reading paper books, as there are so many things naturally related to the subject of cooking,” said Lee Mee-young, vice president of Brand Division for Hyundai Card.

The library will also open a restaurant on its top floor called Green House, where diners can see a view of the area. The place will be open for lunch and dinner for only one group. Right outside the dining area, there is a small garden growing herbs and vegetables to be used at the farm-to-table eatery. The restaurant will open within the year.

The library only admits Hyundai Card holders and their guests. Purchasing food and drinks, or cooking utensils is also possible only with Hyundai Card.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]