*first published on http://www.efy.com.my on August 14 2015
First it was Korean dramas like Winter Sonata and My Sassy Girl that had us sobbing our hearts out over the TV sets. Then it was Korean pop music, as we danced to viral hits like Gangnam Style, or fan-girled over members of Big Bang and Super Junior.
The Korean Food Fair, which will be held from now til August 16 at Mid Valley Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, aims to introduce to Malaysians a wide spread of culinary delights from the Land of the Morning Calm.
Organised by the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, Kuala Lumpur is the fair’s first stop in a worldwide tour of seven cities in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.
From delicacies such as bibimpap (spicy mixed vegetables), health products like ginseng and organic fruits and vegetables, to snacks like ramyeon (instant noodles) and cheese tobokki (rice rolls), I was spoiled for choice when it came to sampling from the 20 exhibiting booths.
There were also fun activities at each of the season-themed booths, such as a skiing simulator at the Winter booth, and folding lotus flowers from paper at the Spring booth. I tried my hand out at making one – and let’s just say that my flower-folding skills were not up to par.
Guests also got to cool themselves down with bingsu (shaved ice) at the Summer counter. But the best part of it all ? Everyone gets to enjoy the activities and food as the products are halal, and were designed to meet the standards set by the Korea Muslim Federation and our local JAKIM for halal certification.
The halal market is growing and is currently a focal point for the Korean food export industry, according to Republic of Korea Ambassador to Malaysia, Cho Byungjae.
“South Korea already has an established food and product base in many Asian and South East Asian countries, such as Japan and Hong Kong. The halal food market is the next step and with Malaysia being a global halal food hub, this gives us an advantage to tap into the market,” said Cho when met by EFY at the fair’s launch recently.
“Malaysia has good relationships with other Muslim countries, like Indonesia and the Middle East. There is huge potential for us to broaden our horizons,” he said. He added that Korea’s agro-food exports worldwide were valued at USD100mil – something that is expected to increase with their foray into the halal market. “This is just the beginning, but we hope to see it expand as there is a huge potential for growth in this sector,” said Cho.
He also expressed hope to establish a long-term relationship between the two countries through culture, food and tourism.
The K Food Fair will run until August 16 at the Mid Valley Exhibition and Convention Centre from 10am to 9pm.