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[Contribution] Food culture is a national asset

Posted January. 04, 2001 12:23,   


Tourism is the largest industry in the world, accounting for 12 percent of the Gross World Product.

The tourist industry takes a larger portion even than financial, communications and automobile industrial scales. Of the four factors for tourism, namely, food, merchandise, games and sightseeing, food produces the largest added value of about 40 percent and rendering a great contribution to earn foreign exchanges. Moreover, food is a strategic weapon of propagating the national culture transcending national borders.

Most renowned food in the world is French and Chinese dishes. Although Chinese food is famous for its unique taste and variety, it cannot match the French dishes in terms of carrying its added value.

At one of most reputed French restaurants in Paris, one must pay as much as US$600 per person to take the full course of the most expensive dishes. And if the highest-quality wine is added to the meal, the price will be astronomical. On the other hand, the Chinese dishes at world-renowned Chinese restaurant in the Regent Hotel in Hong Kong, selected as the most expensive Chinese food by the International Tribune, cost less than US$300 per person.

Where does the difference derive? This is because in the case of the French dishes, guests must pay not only for their taste but also the sights, sounds, smells and touch. The French restaurants meet customers' satisfactions of these five human senses through not only quality and taste of the food but also in environment, good service, and so on. But the Chinese restaurants are capable of satisfying the guests with delicious food but stop short of meeting their five senses and fail to expand the added value.

Nowadays, it is not difficult for people to find Korean restaurants in every corner of the world. Nonetheless, the Korean dishes are not classified as a genre of the famous global foods, unlike French, Japanese and Chinese ones. Instead, the Korean food is now classified as an ethnic food, along with Thai and Vietnamese ones.

The Korean food has its own peculiarity to boast, but it runs short of satisfying the five senses of the world¡¯s people. As a result, the most expensive Korean dishes do not exceed the price of more than US$100 for a man.

For Korean food to be recognized as the world's first-class one to increase its added value, it is necessary to develop dishes that can harmonize five senses.

Song Hee-Ra, cooking critic