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Posted : 2013-09-16 20:07
Updated : 2013-09-16 20:07

Temple food, slow food at 2013 AsiO Gusto

By Kim Ji-soo

Fall, especially in the aftermath of the sweltering summer, is the ideal season to slow down.

Namyangju in Gyeonggi Province will play host to the first slow food festival from Oct. 1 through Oct. 6 to allow people to experience Korea's slow food such as temple food,

The organizers for 2013 AsiO Gusto Festival said that leading temple food expert, Buddhist nun Seonjae from Korea and Mari Fujii, a Japanese Shojin Ryori (devotion food) author and chef will participate in a "Taste Workshop" that will be held at the Namyangju Sports Culture Center.

During a two-hour session, Seonjae will demonstrate Korean temple food tailored to monks, who meditate daily, that is made without meat, fish, shellfish, or any kind of strong additives such as garlic or scallions. Japanese Shojin Ryori also does not use fish, meat or other animal products such as eggs nor strong tasting vegetables such as leeks, onions and garlic. Seonjae and Fujii have been working together recently where the latter learned about Korea's sauces, and used them in Shojin Ryori dishes.

The taste workshop is part of the six-day slow food festival that is taking place for the first time in the Asian and Oceania region. Other taste workshops including ones on Nordic, Indonesian, Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine are planned at the festival that is co-organized by the city government, Slow Food Korea and its governing body, Slow Food. The slow food movement isn't only about being an antithesis to fast food, but also about preserving traditional and regional cuisine, the organizers said.

Under the theme of "Slow Food, change the world with taste," a total of 1,197 plants, seeds, and livestock from 64 countries will be introduced at the 2013 AsiO Gusto Festival, the organizers said.

Of the 1,197 items, 356 items are registered in the Ark of Taste, an international catalogue of heritage foods in danger of extinction. Korea on Aug. 30 added five items to the Ark ― soybean paste from Jeju Island, wheat traditionally cultivated in South Gyeongsang Province, a rare breed of chicken from Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, tiger cattle from Ulleung Island and a lily also found there.

The inaugural event is anticipated to draw 300,000 visitors, including 155 chefs, slow food activists, and small-scale farmers. Foreign participants to the festival will include Paolo Di Croce, general secretary of Slow Food International, general secretary of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity; Yoko Kurokawa, a gastronomic specialist and director of Slow Food Japan; and Phrang Roy, an expert on rural development, gender and indigenous peoples and coordinator of the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty.


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