Global Taste of Korea contest

Yesterday I was invited to be a judge for the New York City preliminaries of the Global Taste of Korea contest. This is a Korean cooking contest held by the Korean Cultural Service all around the world in Norway, France, Vietnam, Malaysia, Russia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the Philippines, Algeria, Peru, New York and Hawaii. Each location will send a winner to Korea to compete in the finals on August 29th.

Global Taste of Korea contestant

The contest is for non-Koreans to create new dishes using Korean ingredients like doenjang, ganjang, and gochujang, and to put their own cultural spin on Korean food, using real Korean ingredients. The winner in New York will be sent all-expenses paid to Korea to compete in the finals with 16 other contestants.

The grand prize in Korea is $10,000! The New York contestant won in 2013, so the chefs on Saturday were working hard to create new, delicious dishes.

Global Taste of Korea

The event was held at the International Culinary Center in Soho, and the contestants had an hour to create their dishes. Their family members came out to cheer them on. They shouted: “Hwaiting!”


Korean media including KBS-TV was at the event, filming everything. This cute couple are MCs for KBS Korea.

Global Taste of Korea judges

There were 4 judges. From left to right at the table: Jeffrey Moon (Chef and International Culinary Center Instructor), Hooni Kim (Chef and owner of Danji and Hanjan in NYC), me, and Christina Chaey (web editor at Bon Appétit). The contestants had to come out one by one and present their dishes, and we tasted them.



We sometimes asked questions about the food they made, and gave them advice.




I was impressed by the contestants’ experiments, creativity, and passion! This was a serious competition and they all wanted to do their best to win. It was great and exciting to see Korean food and ingredients being used in new and different ways.


Friends and family in the audience were anxious to hear every word we said. It was a lot of pressure! But the food was pretty delicious, so most guys got good feedback.

Global Taste of Korea choosing winner

We  judges had a conference to choose the winners.

Global Taste of Korea 2015 winner

This lady got the first prize. Her food was a mix of Korean and Latin American: she made fried plantains, avocado, and veggies mixed with Korean bulgogi. It was great!

reception food

After the 3 winners were chosen we had a reception with a huge Korean feast!


  1. Maangchi,
    I just watched the episode of ‘Hansik Taste of Korea’ by KBS which featured the New York preliminaries of this global Korean food contest, where I thought I saw someone who looked like you and got surprised! You looked really cool & impressive as a judge, even though you were probably the smallest in size :) Although you mentioned the NY contest was in July, this episode was only shown by KBS World recently.

    This KBS program has been very interesting to watch, to see how people in different countries interpret Korean food and to view their passion for Korean food & culture. It’s especially fascinating when they kinda do fusion food and incorporate elements of their own cuisine. For Algeria. it was the first ever Korean cooking contest, with only 5 contestants and you had to first win at writing your name in Korean in order to get first choice of which dish to cook! It’s going to get more interesting as they cover more countries. Nice to see how Korean food is being increasingly appreciated all around the world!

  2. PEMkid joined 6/15 & has 3 comments

    What a great event for everyone ! Thank you for sending the photos and commentary it was inspiring. I would of loved to of been there. Makes me think of using more fusion in my recipes. And to go to Korea and compete would be such a thrill. Please do keep us posted on that event if possible. I’d be interested to know how this lady who won, experienced the Korean event.

  3. Karma-Kutie (Vancouver Island, Canada) I couldn’t agree with you more ‘stirbar’ :) We live in a time when we are sensibly encouraged to try to use our own local produce more – for environmentally sustainable, economic, and fresher, flavourful reasons… so incorporating and adapting these food resources into traditional Korean recipes is brilliant, practical, and evolutionary! After all, centuries of fantastic Korean foods and recipes also evolved over time to become what today is “Authentic Korean Cuisine”. Congratulations to our Maangchi and the other judges, plus the “Creative Paticipants and Winners” who are spreading their own ethnic twist of Korean recipes, techniques, and displays….not to mention delicious flavours to all corners of the globe, while staying true and respectful to Korean cooking traditions :)

  4. stirbar New York City joined 3/15 & has 14 comments

    Looks like so much fun! What an awesome idea to have non-Koreans cook. :)

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