This Friday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet for a historic summit in preparation for much awaited talks with President Donald Trump. These meetings may very well set in motion the political and economic relationships of these countries into the future and mark a significant shift in global perception for the conflicted region.
We won’t be talking about that today. We will, however, the finely crafted menu of traditional Korean dishes that will be served to both leaders at the summit taking place in the ‘truce village’ of Panmunjom inside the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Let’s hope these talks don’t devolve into a food fight of epic proportions.
Thankfully, it appears that the South Korean delegation are making preparations for a veritable feast. Dishes include South Korean staples, a potato rosti symbolizing Kim’s time spent in Switzerland, and a bibimbap made with greens grown locally right in the DMZ. Confused as to what these meals might be? Let’s breakdown what these local flavors are and speculate how the Korean leaders might take them!
First, we have the menu as a whole, released by the Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s official residence. The original post is on Facebook. We’ve translated the script to provide quotes directly from the menu—South Korea wants to make their negotiations for peace not only through words, but through food.
“We carefully prepared the desire of the whole people for the land and the sea of north and south and the peace. Each dish contains the will of those who have tried to unify the peace of our nation,” the official post said.
Although there is no clear order of which courses will be served, it may be possible to make assumptions.
The first dish is an octopus soup from the Namhae Tongyeong sea served cold. The octopus will have a soft, chewy texture and is drizzled with soy sauce.
The second is called a rosti, which is a traditional Swiss potato fritter. This dish is meant to symbolize Kim Jong Un’s childhood which he spent in Switzerland. It looks fried and crispy and garnished with parsley.
This next dish is called Grilled John Dory fish, which was specifically picked as it is considered a high-quality fish in Europe and is a favorite of South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who spent his childhood in Busan. This fish roast is a traditional Busan meal.
This spread is called Bibimbap. It is made with wild vegetables, herbs, and rice from Biha village, where a former South Korean president grew up. The greens were also grown locally within the DMZ.
Mango mousse will be served for dessert and, cheekily, a map of a unified Korea has been placed on top. Interestingly, the dessert is initially hidden inside a hard chocolate dome which is knocked apart with the tiny hammer seen above. The Blue House states that the dish “symbolizes spring energy through cold winter frost.” Breaking the shell is meant to symbolize the unity between north and south.
This is only a glimpse at the full menu both Korean leaders will be enjoying at the summit this Friday. Officials from North Korea seem willing to cooperate in the dinner plans too and have sent over chefs to install a dumpling unit.
What do you think about Korean food? I’m certainly going to try some of these dishes out! Give it a shot yourself, and let me know how it went in the comments.