Walking in Central Park last Friday, I came across Korea Day in NYC. Filled with entertainers in colorful attire and tons of free food, the Korea Day celebration attracted many people who were unfamiliar with the Korean culture. (A guy in line asked me "what's a kimchee?" and "is it seafood?") It was an accessible way to encourage people to try new foods and learn something new. Enjoy these photos of the day!
I loved the performers demonstrating Korean traditional dance - especially the cute kids!
Crowds gathered to watch Ddeok (aka Tteok), or Korean traditional rice cakes, being made. With large hammers or mallets (called tteokme), the glutinous rice is pounded until the rice cake is made.
The largest bowl of Bibimbap I've ever seen! Bibimbap is usually my favorite Korean dish because it's a mixed rice dish full of vegetables. Though not served here, my favorite version is the dolsot bibimbap, which is served in a hot stone bowl with raw egg. The bowl cooks the egg and crisps the rice.
One of the longest lines was for a version of Korean tacos. We've seen this trend at food stands in San Francisco, food truck from Jersey City, and the original Kogi BBQ LA food truck. This taco was an interesting version containing kimchee (spicy fermented cabbage), kalbi (Korean short ribs), fresh tomato salsa, and curiously Parmesan cheese all wrapped in lettuce and tortilla.
The other long line was for KFC or Korean Fried Chicken. Unlike American fried chicken, Korean fried chicken is typically double-fried which makes its skin extra crispy. Korean fried chicken is also eaten as a snack or bar food versus a full meal. After frying, the fried chicken is then seasoned with various sauces. My favorite is the spicy, subtly sweet sauce.
Korea Day will be an annual event in Central Park. Can't wait for next year!