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ASEAN Culinary Festival: Korean celebrity chef Lee Wonil loves PH

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SEOUL, South Korea – The flavors of 10 Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines took center stage at the ASEAN Culinary Festival 2018 at the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX) in Gangnam, Seoul.

The event, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 and organized by the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC), aims to give the Korean public the chance to sample ASEAN’s signature rice-based dishes, desserts and beverages.

Korean celebrity chef and TV personality Lee Wonil (extreme right) with Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul Hernandez, his wife Ana and Filipino chef Claude Tayag (Photos by Jonathan Hicap)

Korean celebrity chef and TV personality Lee Wonil (extreme right) with Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul Hernandez, his wife Ana and Filipino chef Claude Tayag (Photos by Jonathan Hicap)

Gracing the opening ceremony were AKC Secretary General Lee Hyuk, who served as ambassador to the Philippines and Vietnam; ASEAN ambassadors to Korea including the Philippines’ Raul Hernandez and his wife Ana; and ASEAN chefs with Claude Tayag representing the country.

“ASEAN is already renowned for gastronomic destinations. Having lived in the Philippines and Vietnam, I’m also a big fan of ASEAN dishes (like) lechon, adobo, bulalo, bun cha, pho, nam to name a few. Last year alone, 7.5 million Koreans traveled around ASEAN countries not only for nature and culture but also for food. This time we will showcase ASEAN’s diverse rice-based dishes and desserts,” said Lee.

Part of the ceremony was a live cooking show by Korean celebrity chef and TV personality Lee Wonil and Malaysian chef Dato Ismail Bin Ahmad.

Lee Wonil told Bulletin Entertainment that he lived and studied in the Philippines for about seven years from 2002 to 2008.
“I just wanted to learn English and I wanted to pursue my studies there. I like the Philippines,” the 38-year-old chef and restaurant owner said. “I used to live inside UP Diliman campus.”

Asked what was it like living in the country, he said, “Fantastic. I stayed there for seven years. I graduated HIRM (Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management) at UP Diliman.”

After graduation, he went back to South Korea, saying, “I pursued my career as a chef (based on the) things I learned in the Philippines and then my Korean culinary experience.”

ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General Lee Hyuk, a former ambassador to the Philippines and Vietnam, welcomes guests at the ASEAN Culinary Festival 2018 in Seoul.

ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General Lee Hyuk, a former ambassador to the Philippines and Vietnam, welcomes guests at the ASEAN Culinary Festival 2018 in Seoul.

What is his favorite Filipino food? Lee Wonil said, these include sinigang, bulalo, adobo and halo-halo.

Lee Wonil is also a TV personality having been part of the popular TV cooking show “Please Take Care of My Refrigerator,” which features chefs and celebrity guests.

The ASEAN Culinary Festival 2018 showcased dishes, desserts and beverages from each of the 10 ASEAN nations.

From the Philippines, it was bringhe (sticky rice with meat and seafood), ginataang halo-halo (coconut milk with tapioca and mixed fruit dessert) and mango juice.

Others were nasi tomato and ayam masak merah, and kuih seri muka (Malaysia), nasi katok and bubur pulut hitam (Brunei), sack kor ang jangkak and borbor thnot (Cambodia), bubur ayam and kue lumpur (Indonesia), pher and kaho sang kha gna (Lao PDR), nan gyi thoke and shwe kyi (Myanmar), laksa and pandan cake (Singapore), khao kluk kapi and bua loy nam kati (Thailand), and pho ga and nem/cha gio (Vietnam).

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