The Korean Consulate played host to a slew of diplomats, expatriates and Karachi’ites craving kimchi on Thursday night at a food festival held at the DHA Golf Club.
Consul-general In-Ki Lee said the event was part of a series planned to “celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pakistan-Korea diplomatic ties”, which falls next year. He told The Express Tribune that the festival was only the first step.”Since diplomatic ties were established in 1983, relations have expanded to all areas – economics, politics – except cultural areas.”
The security situation is to blame for the lack of cultural exchange, he said, adding that they are hoping to invite groups from Korea to perform in Karachi soon.
Korea’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Choong-joo Choi, spoke briefly. “I am glad to be back in this vibrant city of Karachi. I always feel reinvigorated and refreshed when I come here,” he said. “I always joke with my colleagues that I work in Islamabad, which is very quiet, like a monastery.”
The guests – including the German consul-general Dr Tilo Klinner and representatives from the Russian, British and Malaysian consulates – mingled as an elaborately dressed choir sang Korean songs and old pop songs, such as Abba’s “I Have a Dream.” Members of the chorus had practiced twice a week for the past three months. The hit song “Gangnam Style” by Korean artist Psy also blared from the speakers.
The ambassador said that Korean culture had been gaining popularity worldwide over the past year. With one language institute open in Islamabad at National University of Modern Languages, he hoped similar institutes in other cities could be opened and the “Korean wave would not be an exception in a very important part of the world.”
The ambassador said he had experienced the rich Pakistani culture in the past two years and now it was his turn to reciprocate the favour.
Two Korean chefs – Sang-chul Han and Moo-sub Kim – were to credit for the food. “It is made with a lot of care and love… It is all homemade,” announced the emcee.
Three women, who would only mention that they were from an ‘international school’ said they were looking forward to eating kimchi and grass noodles, and perhaps “having a look at how the food is made.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2012.