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Southeast Asia’s top chefs bring their most delicious dishes to Busan

Nov 25,2019
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Visitors to Taste Asean with Asean-Republic of Korea Food Street takes a look at the store, left, where they they can groceries from Asean countries, and sample some of the food made by Korean chefs, middle, and by those from Asean countries, right. [LEE SUN-MIN]
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The Korean Food Promotion Institute in central Seoul holds a small exhibition about rice at its Korean Cuisine Culture Center. [LEE SUN-MIN]
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BUSAN — Some of the Asean region’s hottest restaurants have come all the way to South Korea to introduce their best dishes to diners in Busan. Taste Asean with Asean-Republic of Korea Food Street has invited chefs from abroad as well as those running restaurants in South Korea to introduce the major dishes of the 10 Asean countries in time for the summit at Norimaru in Jeonpo-dong until Nov. 27.

Haven from Cambodia serves amok, a type of Cambodian-style curry as well as lok lak, stir-fried beef. Kaka Restaurant from Brunei offers nasi katok, chicken over rice, while Rebung of Malaysia serves satay, chicken skewers, and nasi lemak, rice cooked with coconut milk, which was long a staple for many farmers and fishermen looking for a quick snack. Rindu Kampoeng, an Indonesian restaurant in Busan, set up a booth to serve mie goreng and nasi goreng.

Each booth serves dishes from each of the 10 countries, and some of the more popular ones may sell out fast. About 100 servings per each dish from each booth are being prepared. Be ready to wait in line if you come during dinner time. Food is being served from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the last order in by 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available online and at the site and start from 5,000 won ($4.26). The number of tickets is limited depending on how fast the food sells each day.

If you miss out on buying tickets, there is still a chance to sample the taste of Asean countries. Outside the ticket office, there are lines of food trucks serving up dishes from South Korea and the Asean region to make the dining experience more fun. Coffee beans from Asean countries are also being used in various coffee drinks available.

Don’t go home empty-handed. There is Asean Supermarket where you can get all kinds of spices, noodles and snacks. Right next to the entrance of the small store, a wood board decorated with instant noodle packages offers an excellent background for photos to upload on social media. Take in all the food first, and get yourself informed with the trendy eats and travel spots across the 10 Asean countries. Everyday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., experts in food and travel will share their experiences for free. To get there, go to Jeonpo Station, exit 7, and walk northwest for five minutes.

The festivities continue in Seoul as well, albeit with a more academic approach. The Korean Food Promotion Institute, alongside the Ministry of Agriculture, will hold the Asean-Korean Fermented Food Culture Forum on Nov. 26 to share their findings on research about fermentation and how it makes an impact on the overall culinary scene. Ekachai Chukeatirote, professor at Mae Fah Luang University in Thailand, will lead the session alongside experts from Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea. Anyone who wishes can join the forum with the same-day registration. The forum starts at 2 p.m. at the aT center in Seocho District, southern Seoul.

Considering that rice is a common ingredient found on most dining tables in the Asean region, the Korean Food Promotion Institute will also hold an exhibition at its Korean Cuisine Culture Center in Jongno District, central Seoul. Many myths related to rice handed down through history will be shared as well as a variety of dishes made with rice. The exhibit also features artistic illustrations and text images made with the word rice in different Asean languages. The exhibition is free and runs until Nov. 30.

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