WHAT is the recipe for making your country’s cuisine popular abroad? Asking your most popular actor could be one. And if that actor happens to be Bae Yong Joon, you may well be justified in doing so. The gentleman has restaurants in Korea and Japan, but that is not the only reason why BYJ has people, especially women, eating out of his hands!

The Korean Wave heralded by export of Korean drama has expanded to interest in other aspects of Korean culture as well, especially in Japan, China and South-east Asia. In India though, a mention of South Korea usually brings to mind Samsung, Hyundai and LG rather than Jewel in the Palace, Emperor of the Sea (both of which have been shown on Indian television) and Winter Sonata (which has not). As for Korean restaurants here, they can be counted on the fingertips.

So what would help to popularise Korean food in India?

For one, a vegetarian like me would like to know how I can get hold of something like the staple Kimchi without fish paste in it.

But for starters, showing Winter Sonata on TV here would definitely help.

PS: Has BYJ hurt the fingers of his left hand? The way he is holding his hand in the picture with South Korea’s First Lady Kim Yoon-ok seems to suggest so.