Korean food – a discovery

November 10, 2010

My recent trip to Korea was a kind of revelation as regards the discovery of Korean food. I was ignorant for too long about the intricacies of this type of Asian cuisine.

This is the first of a series of blog entries dealing with my recent experience in Seoul and on Jeju island.

Even Korean fast food, such as “tuna kimbap” (김밥) as shown on the photos below, can be extremely tasty.

It consists of a filling (here tuna with some salted or preserved vegetables) surrounded by rice and wrapped in seaweed. Delicious.

Tuna kimbap

Tasty Korean fast food

What to drink with it, you might ask? Well, I would suggest a beer. But one could also drink some of the many varieties of rice wine, for instance “makgeoli” (막걸리), a fermented Korean milky drink on a rice-wheat basis with about 6-7% alcohol. More about this later.

Another wine experience in China

November 7, 2010

One of the privileges of a frequent traveller, even if exclusively travelling on economy class, is the use of the lounge. As a “wino” this is great territory to sense and experience some of the global trends in the wine industry and/or the airline service providers.

One such trend seems to be the use of paper cups instead of proper glasses. That’s at least what my recent experience in the business class lounge (star alliance) at Shanghai Pudong International Airport suggests.

I found the “wine ensemble” below. Isn’t it cute?

Wine at your service

I could not resist a tasting of the two wines on offer, a white from China and a red wine from France. Unfortunately I could not find any trace of the French wine in the internet. I had noted down “Tour Gouvercin” as the name of the wine (a Cabernet Sauvignon) which was quite pleasant to drink, fruity with body and structure.

The second wine, a ‘Clos des Chenes, dry white wine’ by Imperial Court, a brand re-designed and re-established by Shenma Winery. The wine was a bit “thin” but since the cooler (as seen in the picture above) guaranteed a pleasant temperature, I found it not so bad, light but technically well made.

My wine tasting at Shanghai Airport

China is not only an emerging world power but also a booming market for oversees wines. Chinese grape wine consumption increased from 554 million bottles in 2004 to 899 million bottles in 2008. However, per capita consumption is still very low, about 0.4 litres per person per year.

That’s all good news for wine producers and distributors. Also that imported wines account doe only about 11.8 % (2008) of total domestic consumption is “music in the ears” of the non-Chinese wine industry.

Wine educators have their tasks outlined for them as well. Chinese consumers do not like tannins and acids, often perceive grape wines as “sour” only. This is why the mixing of red Bordeaux wines with coke and spite is quite common consumption habit. This needs to be changes, I guess. Since Chinese people have very complex taste buds, it should not be too difficult to make them appreciate the wonders of fine wines.

Shanghai: on the run

November 6, 2010

I had not much time for food and drink while on a business trip to Shanghai this week. But it is always interesting to visit the “Paris of the East”. Now that the World Expo is over, it was a bit more quiet than the last six months but the controversy of the award of the Nobel peace prize to Liu Xioabo kept the blood of CCP officials boiling.

What did the Shanghai Daily say? Hu’s visit to France which has become a good old friend again and the order of 100 airbus planes made the front page. This contrasted well with issues the Shanghai people are concerned with: the high tax/licence fees for their pet dogs. Nice mix of local and global.

My breakfast: coffee and the Shanghai Daily

After my talk which I gave to German students I had some time for a quick lunch snack: dumplings in a broth with noodles, and a glass of the house red, of cause a Chinese wine. Delicious. Nice mix of East and West.

Lunch snack with red wine