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G-20 speakers treated to Korea's traditional cuisine

All Headlines 16:12 May 19, 2011

By Kim Eun-jung and Kim Jung-yoon

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- Parliamentary leaders of the Group of 20 nations tasted Korean cuisine and watched cultural performances at the newly built Korean traditional house at the National Assembly Thursday, becoming the first foreign guests at the facility.

The one-story building, which was designed as a banquet and luncheon hall for foreign dignitaries visiting the Assembly, opened Monday ahead of the G-20 Speakers' Consultation, a conference of parliamentary speakers and representatives from G-20 countries and other nations.

The building was named "Sarangjae," which means a building for important guests.

On Thursday, participants in the conference had a luncheon there after the opening session of the two-day meeting aimed at discussing an array of major issues facing the international community, including anti-terrorism measures and sustainable growth.

"We decided to serve lunch here to show the beauty of hanok," National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae said as he proposed a toast. Hanok refers to Korean traditional houses.

"I hope you get fully immersed in the Korean Wave, along with the spring wave blowing at the moment," he said, referring to the Korean culture that has been gaining worldwide popularity, especially in Asian nations.

A Korean traditional liquor made of wild black raspberries, bokbunja-ju, was served as the official toasting drink.

Staff in traditional clothing, hanbok, served the Korean course meal -- stir-fried noodles, ginseng chicken soup, tri-colored vegetable pancakes, bulgogi and bibimbap.

Bibimbap is a steamed rice dish mixed with assorted vegetable and meat, and bulgogi is a Korean-style barbecue dish.

Unlike Korea's typical staple dishes with spicy, salty and pungent flavors, Thursday's foods were mild and more approachable to foreigners, organizers said.

During the luncheon, a group of performers played a mix of traditional Korean folk songs and popular pop songs with a Korean harp, gayageum.


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