The Rise of Korean Cuisine

SCR Staff
 | Oct 18, 2019
Food being eaten with chopsticks

Julia Cho’s Aubergine (Oct. 19-Nov. 16) is a play about food, family, relationships and memory. Ray is a Korean-American chef whose career his father has never understood. Now that his father is in hospice, Ray returns home and learns to cook a dish that connects the two men in ways that words cannot. This perfect spoonful bite transcends time and cultural differences in this poetic tale of love, loss and healing.

With food as one of Aubergine’s dominant themes, thought we'd round up some information about the steadily increasing popularity of Korean cuisine in the U.S.

Korea’s traditional food and preparation techniques have evolved through centuries of cultural changes, and in today’s culinary world, Korean-style restaurants have been one of the most notable trends among U.S. diners in the past few years. Additionally, Korean food has been appearing regularly on mainstream restaurant menus. With a complexity of different flavors and cuisine largely comprised of proteins, vegetables, grains and assorted spices and chiles, Korean food is a great choice for the health-conscious and clean-eating consumer. Plus, Korean food seems to be everywhere at the moment, from large chains to smaller restaurants, including Korean BBQ establishments, where a grill is often brought to a table so diners can directly experience the meat-cooking process.

A growing interest in Korean pop culture such as K-pop music and Korean TV shows and movies among American consumers has undoubtedly contributed to the growth of Korean cuisine. However, diners are also seeking exciting new culinary experiences and on-trend flavors. Foodies have been gravitating toward Korean meals that incorporate bold, innovative flavors used in the sauces and are balanced with banchan (small side dishes) to complement the main dish. Korean BBQ restaurants have especially become prominent on the national dining scene, especially among younger consumers, as guests flock to these establishments for the delicious combination of flavors—a little heat paired with sweet, savory, spicy, etc. that allow the Korean sauces to enhance the contents of the dish. Think of a menu featuring mouthwatering dishes such as pork belly, beef short ribs, chicken and other meats with unlimited sides of Napa cabbage kimchi, cucumber kimchi, fermented onion, jalapeños and much more.

With Korean food’s authentic and healthful ingredients, not to mention bold, crave-worthy flavors, the popular cuisine is certainly resonating with American consumers’ palates, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Learn more about Aubergine and buy tickets.