Taste of Korea: Nourishing Community Unity

In celebration of Korea’s cultural and culinary traditions, the Consulate of the Republic of Korean in Seattle once again sponsored what has become a yearly tradition, Taste of Korea.  Hosted by the Korean Women’s Association (KWA) Board of Trustees, the 4th annual event took place on Saturday, May 19 at the Star Center in Tacoma.

KING-TV Anchor Michelle Li, who has a special connection to KWA, was emcee this year.  Li is part of the area’s #1 morning team and is part of the hosting team of KING’s newest program, Take5.  During the Taste of Korea program, Li introduced her sister, Hyun Jung Pak.  Ms. Pak moved to the Seattle area from Korea in May 2017.  Li looked to KWA for support and help for her sister’s transition to living in the United States. The positive experience inspired Ms. Pak to become a part of KWA. She now works at the KWA Lynnwood office.

Consulate Lee Dong-gyu attended Taste of Korea this year.  In his speech, Dong-guy pointed out the importance of “introducing Korean culture to mainstream society” and acknowledged KWA Board of Trustees for its ongoing commitment to the event and the partnership.

Keynote speaker Chef Rachel Yang spoke on food being “a universal language.”  Yang is a James Beard nominated chef.  She, along with her husband, own the Relay Restaurant Group which includes three restaurants in Seattle and one in Portland.  Together they earned a 2015 Star Chef’s Rising Star Restaurateur Award.

Morning Star Cultural Center captivated the audience throughout the afternoon with performances celebrating Korean dance, music and heritage. Morning Star Founder Jiyeon Cheh introduced the performances and shared the significance of various elements including a crowd favorite, the sangmo, which are hats with long ribbon attached to them that performers can spin and flip. The final performance of the evening brought out a full stage of performers celebrating Korean culture.

A Korean buffet is a tradition at Taste of Korea.  As is also the tradition, KWA Board of Trustee members, dressed in Korean hanbok, served guests the free meal.  This year choices included Korean barbeque chicken, Bulgogi, Kimchi and Gimbap.

Representing KWA, Board Chair Grace Kim spoke on the long history of the organization.  And closing the event, KWA Executive Director Troy Christiansen acknowledged the Board’s leadership as well as KWA community partnerships for supporting the ongoing mission of KWA.