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Having a Sweet Tooth and Rinsing out the Mouth with Teas

Having a Sweet Tooth and Rinsing out the Mouth with Teas

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Tania Campbell, who comes from Dunedin in New Zealand, compared the food of her country with Korean cuisine saying that the former is rather bland and heavy, and the latter spicy and healthy. However, Tania is not so fond of spicy Korean food herself though she sometimes enjoys Kimchi or ‘Sundubu-jjigae’ (spicy soft tofu stew) if it is moderately spicy.

Instead of choosing spicy Korean dishes, she prefers sweet foods like ‘Tteok’ (rice cake), ‘Hotteok’ (pancake filled with liquid brown sugar), and ‘Bungeoppang’ (carp-shape bread filled with sweet mashed red beans, one of street snacks). Her preference is for these sweet, simple, and warm dishes and especially amongst the first the most suitable and nutritious dish in this holiday season is ‘Songpyeon’ (half-moon shape rice cake). Tania loves the sweet taste of it! With the beautiful colors of Songpyeon dough and powdered sweet sesame inside, one’s eyes widen and mouth waters.

As for simple everyday foods, Tania said that she likes ‘Gimbap’ (rice rolled in laver) and ‘Pajeon’ (green onion pancake). And she particularly loves drinking green teas and other teas like citron tea, plum tea, and jujube tea.
Tania once contributed an article entitled ‘Oriental Medicine Increasingly Popular’to The Korea Times, one of the two English-language daily newspapers in Korea. The article she wrote appeared with a picture of medicinal herbs sold at Gyeong-dong market in Seoul, Korea, reflected how well she is aware and interested in herbs and oriental medicine.

When Tania went to Gyeong-dong market to take some photos for her article, she saw that the names of the herbs that are sold there are hard (if not impossible) to understand for foreigners who cannot know whether they are buying the right items they want as the all names and information are only given in Korean. Tania thinks it would be better for the foreigners who are, in particular, interested in Korean things to get info in their own languages.

Tania continued: “As for Korean food, still a lot of Westerners tend to lump together the foods of Northeast Asian countries. So if Koreans want to promote their food around the globe, they need to explain why their cuisine is so unique in English, stress the differences with the foods of China and Japan, and so educate people.”

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As much as she likes drinking herbal teas, Tania still likes to go to traditional Korean tea houses in the famous Insa-dong tourist area in downtown Seoul. She is especially attracted by the cute little tea cups and ambiance of the tea houses. Tania also enjoys eating meals in quiet small restaurants and bites from snack stalls along the sidewalks.

Regarding her future, Tania hopes she will get into some graduate school in the United Kingdom next year. But before she leaves Korea Tania wants to visit as many cities as possible and find out about traditional Korean things. She has already visited Insa-dong and Jongno, and Bukchon Hanok Village (Bukchon traditional Korean house village) in Seoul. And how she waits to relish experiencing the big holidays of Chuseok (the harvest festival [on the 15th of August by the lunar calendar]) and Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) with Koreans. Tania is also interested in traditional Korean performing arts and remembers her fascination watching ‘Samulnori’ (Korean traditional percussion quartet).

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Tania lastly spoke of the singular importance of agriculture for the New Zealand economy. “It is important to produce young people who can continue to developing sustainable agriculture including organic farming.” Tania added: “Furthermore, at a time worldwide when food security is a major issue of concern, guaranteeing self-sufficiency in the production and supply food is also very important.”

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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