Ever since I jetted off to Australia, food has become a topic to write something about. More than anything, the culinary philosophy and history have awakened me to the value of food. Today I am trying to outline a few points about the interesting culinary history of the Korean royal court. This is locally known as Joseon Wangjo Gungjung Yori. This was the culinary method within Korean cuisine conventionally consumed at the court of the Joseon Dynasty from 1392 to 1910. Now in the 21st century, there has been a revival of this culinary art or style if I may say so. It is hitherto believed that 12 dishes were served along with rice and soup on brass plates or crockery. One of the most important reasons for using bronzeware (locally known as Bangjja) or silverware, such as plates, cutlery, spoons and chopsticks, is that in the past there was mounting fear of poisoning of the emperors. To avoid incidents of this sort, they would detect any poison in the food by seeing if the brassware turned black. There could be many more reasons for using brass utensils. However, the main reason for using brass crockery was for safety reasons because there was no sophisticated technology then to identify whether the dishes were safe to eat or not. Back in those days, or say during the pre-modern era, the Korean royal court cuisine was collectively known as Gungjung Eumsik. This culinary richness reflected the sophisticated lifestyle of the erstwhile rulers of the Korean peninsula. The type of sublimely humongous culinary treasure can be traced back to the Silla Kingdom, where the Anapji Lake was built for the sole purpose of hosting rich banquets, and in the same fashion, the spring-fed channel, locally known as Poseokjeong, was also built for no other than setting wine cups afloat. Now these have been inscribed as the food heritage of Korea, which is also popularly known as the crucial intangible cultural property of Korea. Therefore, food does more than reveal its nutritional and dietary value; it also discloses how it was eaten by their ancestral rulers. I am not being jingoistic here, but we, too, have a long history that not many countries have. Therefore, we can do a lot of research on our Nepali cuisine the way Korea has done to promote and preserve its culinary heritage. We should not just stick to dumplings (momos) because there are many hidden culinary treasures in our age-old cooking tradition. In a nutshell, I am passionate about how culinary philosophy plays an important role in our life.
Korean royal court cuisine
Published: 09:00 am Oct 21, 2020