Embracing Korean food

March 19, 2014

More American restaurants such as CPK, Gordon Biersch, TGI Fridays, PF Chang add Korean flavors to their menu

KOREAN BBQ PORK CHOP PLATTER - Korean marinade with marinated shiitake mushroom and soy butter sauce, accompanied by sweet ginger rice. (www.gordonbiersch.com screen capture)

KOREAN BBQ PORK CHOP PLATTER -
Korean marinade with marinated shiitake mushroom and soy butter sauce, accompanied by sweet ginger rice. (www.gordonbiersch.com screen capture)

TGIF's Korean steak tacos.

TGIF’s Korean steak tacos.

By Park Ji-hye

American restaurant chains are increasingly embracing Korean flavors — most prominently kimchi, gochujang and Korean BBQ — on their menus.

Some chains that have recently taken on Korean cuisine are: California Pizza Kitchen’s ‘Spicy Korean Barbeque Pizza’ with Korean BBQ sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds; Gordon Biersch’s ‘Korean BBQ Pork Chop’; California Tortilla’s ‘Korean BBQ Burrito’ served with a choice of chicken, steak, or pork; P.F. Chang’s China Bistro’s galbi jjim and kimchi fried rice for its Hawaiian menu; and TGIF’s ‘Korean Steak Tacos,’ with Korean-marinated beef with ginger.

Korean cuisine, after all, was No. 4 on the National Restaurant Association’s 2013 chef survey list of Top 5 Ethnic Cuisines and Flavors.

And between the Michelin-starred Annisa featuring a dish of yookhwae and grilled mackerel with gochujang and Mama Fu’s, the Asian fusion fast food chain, using gochujang in its stir-fried dishes, it’s clear that the Korean pepper paste, more than anything, is experiencing popularity in the U.S. like never before.

Bon Appetit, the restaurant magazine, chose gochujang as one of the hottest food trends of 2013 and predicted it would become as popular as sriracha sauce in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Google searches for ‘kimchi’ have seen a 96.1 percent increase since 2010, while ‘Korean BBQ’ jumped 75.4 percent and ‘bibimbap’ a whopping 194 percent.

 

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