View Full Version : What foods should I avoid serving to a group from Korea
01-12-2005, 06:25 AM
I'll be catering for a visiting choir from Korea in a couple of weeks; I'm aware that nearly every culture looks upon certain foodstuffs from other cultures with disdain/offence/disgust; is there anything specific I should avoid serving to these folks?
01-12-2005, 07:32 AM
Can't answer regarding Koreans particularly, but I've read that many Asians do not handle dairy products well. Lactose intolerent I believe.
01-12-2005, 07:35 AM
I've met a few people from east Asia who think cheese is gross. Then again these days everybody probably eats McDonald's cheeseburgers so this might be old hat.
Raw dairy (stuff like cheese/yoghurt is OK, since they've already been acted on by an enzyme) and booze, generally, for medical reasons.
01-12-2005, 07:59 AM
Not sure about Koreans, either. But I do know that when I made a dinner for a Chinese grad student he was very emphatic about there not being any dairy dishes. I thought at the time that it was simply a problem he had personally, but I've since learned that most, if not all, Chinese folks are lactose intolerant, as GaryM notes. (For an interesting writeup on this, along with anthropological theory about why, read Marvin Harris' book The Sacred Cow and the Abominal Pig, AKA Good to Eat).
I'm not familiar with anything else forbidden, although I'd steer clear of serving anything overtly weird like, say, grasshoppers.
01-12-2005, 08:37 AM
Yeah, dump the milk and anything else resembling dairy. That includes cheese and yoghurt, anything. Be sure that sauces and the like don't contain it either. Giving your guests projectile diarrhea would be pretty harsh. Besides, this is a choir we're talking about. They might be a bit fearful of really straining to hit the high notes. :p
01-12-2005, 09:24 AM
I spent six weeks in Korea on business and near as I can tell, they eat nearly everything. :p
Although their food can be spicy. They may have a difficult tolerating spiciness different than theirs such as Mexican food.
01-12-2005, 09:30 AM
Eh, I'm Korean and my family eats pretty much anything. Cheese (although it's definitely not native to our food), yoghurt, milk....
I wouldn't try serving anything that's supposed to be "Korean" that you might get from your local supermarket. I have yet to find decent kimchi from one of those places. Just give them traditional American food, like burgers or pizza or something. There's almost nothing in America that they don't have there, so there's not much chance of grossing them out or anything. They have "Outback Steakhouse" for goodness sake!
01-12-2005, 09:36 AM
I'm in the UK (probably should have mentioned) so, whilst I'm not going to avoid American foods, I'll probably only serve them by coincidence.
I suppose I might go for some British dinner-table favourites like shepherd's pie. I was going to say toad in the hole too, but of course there's milk in the batter.
01-12-2005, 09:40 AM
Oh, you're in the UK? Yeah, then screw the American food. Give them something they may not have had before. In regards to the lactose intolerance thing - many Asians are LI, but from my own personal experience, it's not that severe. When I was in Korea, my family (extended and immediate) would have milk with their cereal in the mornings. Of course, Korean milk is nasty. Or at least it was about 15 years ago. But I myself am probably the most LI in my family and I can still have a cup of skim milk a day without affecting me in any way. I eat cheese on Mexican food, American food, etc without any ill effects. Same goes for ice cream, milkshakes, blah blah blah. If this shepherd's pie is good, traditional UK food, then I think they'd get a kick out of it.
01-12-2005, 09:54 AM
It's tricky, because dairy forms such an important part of so many foods here; pretty much any of the hot desserts or puddings I'd like to make (including the famous spotted dick and jam roly-poly) must be served with custard (ideally with custard, ice cream and pouring cream. Many of the main-course things aren't any easier, as a lot of them involve cheese or bechamel-type sauces.
Shepherd's pie is fairly safe, simple fare though - minced meat (traditionally lamb) in a very rich, tasty gravy, topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and baked until the top turns golden brown...
Lancashire hotpot is another option, I suppose (essentially, a distinct type of meat casserole topped with sliced or cubed potatoes (civil wars have probably been fought over cubed or sliced).
And I suppose a traditional roast dinner would work...
01-12-2005, 09:55 AM
I think in general dough, batter or anything in which the diary is hidden and cooked shouldn't be a major problem. Alternatively, you could try using soy milk which is quite common in China and presumably Korea.
01-12-2005, 10:20 AM
Hey, I've had Shepherd's pie before! I didn't know that it was called that at the time, but it was fantastic. The desserts seem a bit heavy on the dairy (cream, ice cream, and custard?!), but like the above poster, I'd say that dairy used in cooking will be fine.
They drink soy all the time in Korea - soy milk is called doo-you (like doo-wop and you), as opposed to regular milk which is oo-you. The doo comes from doo-boo which is tofu in English. I don't know if it's any good to cook with though.
01-12-2005, 10:27 AM
(cream, ice cream, and custard?!)Yes! this is, after all, the Kingdom of Butter!
Seriously though what usually happens is that we make a load of puddings - maybe fruit crumbles or something - and decide that we'll give people the option of custard, cream or ice cream, then realise that some people will probably ask for a bit of this and a bit of that, then decide to over-cater sufficiently so that they can all do it and of course if it's offered, few will refuse.
01-12-2005, 11:09 AM
Sounds... delicious. I think I'll have to join this choir and come on over.
01-12-2005, 11:21 AM
Why don't you just ask them!? I'd feel better knowing if there were any dietary restrictions or requirements rather than blunder into a situation that would be costly and embarrassing to correct. I'm sure they'd appreciate your concern and desire to accommodate.
01-12-2005, 01:06 PM
Why don't you just ask them!? I'd feel better knowing if there were any dietary restrictions or requirements rather than blunder into a situation that would be costly and embarrassing to correct. I'm sure they'd appreciate your concern and desire to accommodate.Ah, you beat me to it! That would certainly be the most polite and sensible thing to do.
Also, recognize that beyond the issue of getting palatable foods, many visitors traveling abroad get ill regardless of what you serve. Different air, water, and foods all take their gastronomic toll on out-of-country visitors. So, while you shouldn't just throw your hands up in the air and say, "Well, I guess it doesn't matter then," you should also recognize that some people are probably going to have stomach problems no matter what you do, even if they like the food you've prepared.
Oh, and for what it's worth, a friend visiting from South Korea absolutely loved American-style barbecue.
01-12-2005, 01:35 PM
I can't see how anyone wouldn't absolutely love American-style barbecue =), unless they were vegetarians or had religious or medical restrictions with meat. That wouldn't be likely to be an issue with Koreans, though there could be some vegetarians. Korean cuisine already has some dishes similar to barbecue. The only problems are that it's very hard to make barbecue yourself, and it can be hard to find in some areas. Asking the group is probably best, in case there's a few people who do have some restrictions or simply don't like certain foods, but it's not a particularly difficult culture with respect to dietary restrictions.
01-12-2005, 01:38 PM
Why don't you just ask them!? I'd feel better knowing if there were any dietary restrictions or requirements rather than blunder into a situation that would be costly and embarrassing to correct. I'm sure they'd appreciate your concern and desire to accommodate.I will certainly try that, but it's going to be a chain of commuinication thing; in this context, I'm just the guy on the (voluntary) catering team; the request for catering came through about four levels of hierarchy before it got to me. But you're right, asking is best.
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.