This “Veganuary” plant-based eating is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and what better way to expand your culinary horizons than by delving into Korean temple cuisine? A recent campaign organised by the Korea Tourism Organisation London in partnership with online travel publication Culture Trip introduced new audiences to the cooking traditions of Korean Buddhism, which make use of naturally vegan, environmentally friendly ingredients from the mountains of Korea.
The campaign kicked off in late November with an online cooking class hosted on Zoom in collaboration with the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism to celebrate Temple Food Week. The class was taught by Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist nun and chef renowned for her expertise in temple cuisine, as well as her appearance on the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table in 2017. Applications for the class reached the maximum of 150 within two days, and participants joined from all around the world – some getting up as early as 5am to cook along from their kitchens in South America or the United States, making their very own Yeongeun Jorim (Braised Lotus Root) and Gamja Jeon (Potato Pancake). They included prominent influencers such as Sean O’Callaghan (@fatgayvegan), who loved both dishes, and said: “Vegan travellers often worry about what we can eat when we are travelling…so it was really wonderful to hear about just how prevalent vegan food is in Korea.”
Those who couldn’t register for the Zoom class tuned in via the Facebook livestream, and many were inspired to enter a vegan cooking competition by KTO London in which participants made their own temple cuisine at home and shared the results on social media. The first prize, a pair of return flight tickets to Korea, was awarded to Grace Howarth who made a Korean temple food feast featuring a wide variety of delicious dishes and filmed her experience in a lively YouTube video. Joint second prize went to Ildi Nagy and Carmen Martin Perez respectively, both of whom submitted creative and informative cooking vlogs introducing their audiences to the unique flavours of Korean vegan food.
The campaign was accompanied by a series of in-depth articles, specially curated by Culture Trip’s expert writers to showcase relevant topics including Why Foodies Should Get to Know Korean Temple Cuisine and How Going on a Korean Templestay Will Help You Find Your True Self. The final two articles explored the themes of wellness and health more generally, from 7 Dreamy Detox Destinations in South Korea to A Guide to Outdoor Adventures Across Korea. Featuring bespoke illustrations by Byun Young Geun, the articles have captured the imaginations of travellers keen to escape the stresses of 2020 and discover the diverse experiences Korea has to offer.
Whilst travel restrictions are still in place, themes such as health and mindfulness are as important as ever going into the new year. With this campaign we hope to inspire the world to continue exploring Korean vegan food and temple culture from home, and eventually – once it is safe to travel again – to embark on the wellness adventure of a lifetime.
Title image: World-renowned chef Jeong Kwan, courtesy of the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism
For more information, please contact:
Ruby James, Marketing Coordinator
(+44) (0) 207 321 2535 (ext. 201)