The record-breaking Korean series: after its triumph many Korean restaurants began to propose their versions of “royal banquets”.
The Korean term is Hallyu, which in English could be translated as Korean Wave. By whatever term you call it, what’s undeniable is the success Korean culture has had throughout Asia starting in 2000. And this applies to all genres of culture: from cuisine, music (K-pop), films, (Europe embraces the more “festival”-oriented ones; Asia loves their action movies), and, most of all their television shows.
The most clamorous example is the costume drama, Dae Jang Geum, which is set in the royal courts of Korea in the 17th Century. The leading character is Jang Geum (a true historical figure), a woman of humble origins who becomes the first female doctor and the premiere royal chef of the Joseon dynasty.
It’s an in-depth and realistic look at Korea’s ancient culture, which has broken all viewer records, with almost 50% of the audience share, and has played an important part in diffusing traditional Korean cuisine throughout South East Asia.
The series, also known by its English title Jewel in the Palace has been so popular that the production company has transformed 6,000 square metres of set into a theme park dedicated to the show. But according to Koreans, the true value of Dae Jang Geum is that it’s made today’s population familiar with culinary tradition. After its triumph (the series was first aired in 2003), many Korean restaurants began to propose their versions of “royal banquets”. But more than anything else, it’s made other Asian cultures interested in Korea’s eating habits, both past and present.
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