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Homegrown ingredients, spirits served at Yoon's inaugural dinner

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President Yoon Suk-yeol, first from right, toasts with foreign guests during a dinner for dignitaries who attended his inauguration ceremony at the Shilla Seoul, Tuesday. From left are Second Gentleman of the United States Douglas Emhoff Harris, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and President of Singapore Halimah Yacob. Yonhap
President Yoon Suk-yeol, first from right, toasts with foreign guests during a dinner for dignitaries who attended his inauguration ceremony at the Shilla Seoul, Tuesday. From left are Second Gentleman of the United States Douglas Emhoff Harris, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and President of Singapore Halimah Yacob. Yonhap

By Lee Hae-rin

President Yoon Suk-yeol held his inauguration dinner at Shilla Hotel in Seoul, Tuesday evening, with some 150 domestic and foreign dignitaries including high-ranking government officials, foreign delegation members and CEOs of major Korean companies. An array of Korean food made with regional specialties, paired with six Korean liquors, was served at the dinner.

This is the first time the presidential inauguration dinner was held outside of the Cheong Wa Dae reception hall, which was built in 1978. The dinner had to be offered at a hotel since the relocated presidential office in Yongsan does not have enough space yet to organize a large-scale dinner and Cheong Wa Dae was opened to the public as of Tuesday.

As the dinner began, Yoon delivered a message of gratitude to the domestic and foreign delegation members who attended the event. The exact number of the guests was not revealed by the presidential office.

The dinner menu featured modernized "hansik" (traditional Korean cuisine), using local ingredients such as abalone from Wando Island, South Jeolla Province; ginseng from Geumsan, South Chungcheong Province; barley grass from Gurye, South Jeolla Province; pine nuts from Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province; snapper from Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province; Irwin, a mango variety also known as apple mango in Korea, from Jeju Island and more. According to the presidential inauguration preparation team, first lady Kim Keon-hee handpicked the menu inspired by traditional Korean ingredients.

Six Korean liquors featuring local agricultural ingredients and brought from different regions were chosen to be served at the inauguration dinner.

"Chateau Miso Sweet Rose" is produced by local farm winery Doranwon in Yeongdong County, North Chungcheong Province, which grows Campbell grapes. The wine has a rose pink color and scents of strawberry, rose, cherry and peach and has received several prizes from the Korean Sool (K-Sool) Awards, an annual competition jointly hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.

Seen is Chateau Miso Sweet Rose produced by Korean winery Doranon from Yeongdong, North Chungcheong Province. It was served in President Yoon Suk-yeol's inauguration dinner, along with five other Korean liquors, Tuesday. Courtesy of Doranwon
Seen is Chateau Miso Sweet Rose produced by Korean winery Doranon from Yeongdong, North Chungcheong Province. It was served in President Yoon Suk-yeol's inauguration dinner, along with five other Korean liquors, Tuesday. Courtesy of Doranwon

Yeongdong County is home to 41 wineries. The region's wine was served at a Cheong Wa Dae dinner with former U.S. President Trump before the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018.

From kiwis to tangerines, these selected liquors are made from a diverse range of regional agricultural specialties.

"Neobeunae Sparkling Apple" is an apple wine with a golden color from Hongcheon of Gangwon Province, named after the region's Korean name, meaning, "wide stream." Another is an award-winning nectar fermented wine, "Honey Moon," from Yangpyeong of Gyeonggi Province, which contains 33-percent domestic-grown honey.

"Nimome," which in Jeju dialect means "in your heart," is brewed with the island's regional rice and tangerine peels and won several K-Sool awards. High in vitamin C and sugar content, "Red Pearl" from Muju, North Jeolla Province is made from the mountainous region's local specialty wild grapes, offering a deep color and fragrance.

"3004," which in Korean sounds like the region name, "Shamcheonpo," is brewed with locally cultivated kiwis.

All six liquors are officially recognized local special beverages under the Act on Promotion of Korean Traditional Liquor Industries. They are available on online shopping platforms, as the government has relaxed regulations on online sales of traditional liquor since 1998.

The liquor selection has differed according to each president at previous inaugural dinners. Former President Park Geun-hye chose the Korean-styled fruit wine, "Gam Grim Ice Wine," while Lee Myung-bak preferred makgeolli, milky and sparkling rice wine.

Former President Moon Jae-in dispensed with the inaugural dinner as he won the early election in 2017, but offered local craft beer from one of the country's breweries, Sevenbrau, in his meeting with entrepreneurs in July of that year.


Lee Hae-rin lhr@koreatimes.co.kr


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