Soju may be the typical accompaniment to “samgyeopsal,” but German Ambassador to Korea Hans-Ulrich Seidt is on a mission to promote a less obvious pairing with the Korean favorite ― Riesling white wine.
“I like Korean food very much. And I realized that German white wine goes very, very well with Korean food, in particular Riesling from the different areas we have in Germany,” Seidt said Wednesday to a get-together to promote the pairing of the meat and grape.
A 2007 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling(John Power/The Korea Herald)
Riesling is Germany’s most popular grape variety, originating from the Rhine region of the country. Covering a wide range of styles, it is highly versatile, going with many different foods.
“The general idea is to have fun, to drink a glass of white wine and enjoy Korean food,” the German ambassador told The Korea Herald at his residence in Sungbuk-dong, Seoul, as guests lined up with half-full glasses to sample the pork belly being barbequed on the spot.
Seidt said the inspiration for the event came from a dinner after a hard day’s exercise.
“We were hiking in the summer, coming down the mountain and we had either bulgogi or samgyeopsal. So we had samgyeopsal and I thought German white wine would go very well with it, and I thought this we could share with our Korean friends.”
The German ambassador said the passing of the EU-Korea FTA on July 1 is set to make German wine even more affordable and attractive to Korean consumers.
“Wine used to be a very expensive commodity but, nowadays, with the FTA and very low tariffs for sea transport, wine is becoming very competitive. And I would say it has one advantage: It is healthier than those very strong alcohols. It is not dangerous for your health,” he said.
As for his favorite, it’s a 2007 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Classic.
“I like this wine very much. This wine has a lot of minerals. It is a medical doctor who is running the vineyard.”
But Seidt said that gastronomic exchanges between the two countries were far from one-sided. Korean food, he said, is growing ever more popular in Germany.
“In Berlin we have, for example, a very famous Korean restaurant called Kimchi Princess ― Kimchi Gongju. Also in East Germany, for example in Dresden, Korean restaurants are becoming more and more popular,” he said.
And just why does he think Riesling goes so well with samgyeopsal?
“Taste it,” he said, smiling, “Just try it!”
By John Power (email@example.com