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* Date : 2016-03-30

Korean Independence Day 70th Anniversary Special
Korean Diaspora's Dining Table in Uzbekistan

▶ From Primorsky Krai to Russia, and again to Central Asia Korean Russian diaspora's 100 years
In September 1937, Stalin's regime displaced 17,000 Korean Russians in Primorsky Krai to Central Asia. It took their freight train 50 days to travel 6,000 km to a barren wilderness, where they cultivated the land and planted the seeds from home.
Over the course of 80 years after that, Korean language, history, and people slowly faded from Korean Russians' memories.
From Primorsky Krai to Russia, and again to Central Asia, Korean Russians of Uzbekistan lived their life in diaspora.
However, there was one part of life that they could not forget. Their food.
Their food culture has been passed down from generation to generation, and their dining table tells the stories of Korean Russians' life and history.

▶A 3rd generation Korean Russian singer, Irina
Irina is a 3rd generation Korean Russian who is popular in the Korean Russian society for her traditional performances. However, on her dining table are Uzbek style salad and fried rice plov. Korean Russian food disappeared from her table a long time ago. To her, Korean Russian food symbolizes the forgotten food of her parents' generation.
Irina decides to take a step back and visit her hometown to learn about Korean Russian food. She learns how to make baeoja, guksi, and doenjang, and in the process, comes to learn the history of Korean Russian food.

▶Baegoja and guksi - Hometown food that the body remembers
Korean Russian food has been disappearing from the dining tables of 3rd and 4th generation Korean Russians. Now, people only eat them on rare occasions such as family parties. Irina's parents make baegoja to celebrate her long-awaited homecoming. Baegoja is a Korean Russian style dumpling with meat and vegetable filling.
Then, they boil noodles, pour in cold soy sauce broth, and top the noodles with meat, tomato, and cabbage to make a dish called guksi. It is the perfect summer dish for fighting off the 40°C heat.
A closer look into history of baegoja and guksi reveals stories of Korean Russians' life and history of settlement in Central Asia.

▶Korean Russians' ongoing diaspora
Korean Russians had to suddenly move from Primorsky Kry to Russia, and again to Central Asia. Their descendants, 3rd and 4th generation Korean Russians, are now leaving for Korea or neighboring countries to find work. Just when they thought they could settle down somewhere, they had to resume their life as a diaspora again.
Their homeland is Korea, language is Russian, and residence is Central Asia. Likewise, their Korean Russian food displays a blend of their culture, life, and identity that changed over generations.
Through their food, Korean Russians retell the story of their diaspora.

Korean Diaspora's Dining Table in UzbekistanKorean Diaspora's Dining Table in UzbekistanKorean Diaspora's Dining Table in UzbekistanKorean Diaspora's Dining Table in UzbekistanKorean Diaspora's Dining Table in Uzbekistan

 

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