I had the chance to go to Houston, TX for the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo and while there I stumble onto the Korean Festival at the front lawn of the Convention Center. What a great time to have this festival on the starting day of the largest Food and Nutrition Convention for Nutritionist and Dietitians in the world!!
This is the 5th Annual Korean Festival where the best of Korean culture and food is featured. The theme this year was the “Taste of Korea” which highlighted traditional Korean meals of rice, vegetables and meats and also side dishes (called banchan) such as Kimchi .
Being from New York, I have heard and seen the famous Korean Barbecues in action but did not know the history of it. Some people say that the Korean’s invented modern day barbecuing but the most interesting thing about Korean BBQ is it has been dated back since the Goguryeo Dynasty (37 BC to 668 AD). Korean Barbecuing is known as Gogigui which literally means “meat + roasting”. The most representative form of gogigui is bulgogi usually made from thinly sliced beef sirloin or tenderloin. Bulgogi (called “makjeok” at the time) was prepared similarly to how it is now—cuts of beef, topped with garlic, scallions and a lot of soy sauce. Korean barbecue refers to the Korean method of grilling beef, pork, chicken, or other types of meat. Such dishes are often prepared at the diner’s table on gas or charcoal grills that are built into the table itself. Some Korean restaurants that do not have built-in grills provide portable stoves for diners to use at their tables. Below is an example of a piece of BBQ lamb meat on a wooden stick that you can purchase from any the food vendors at the festival.
I have never seen so many variation of Korean BBQ food stands than I did at this festival. Here are some of them below:
Enough with the food! Was there any entertainment? Yes there was! The entertainment at the festival were TaeKwonDo demonstrations, traditional fan dancers, contemporary Korean-American performers, and having a chance to learn how to play traditional Korean games. I had a chance to see the Lee Yun Hwa Dance Group which is a Korean cultural dance group. I loved watching the dancers who were so graceful with their dance moves and the fans .
What a excellent job that the Korean American Society of Houston (www.KoreanFestivalHouston.com) did to introduce the public about the Korean culture and food. If you ever happen to be in Houston during the month of October then make sure you stop by the Korean Festival and get some of that Korean flavor!!