Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kudos for Korean Latkes video


Korea.net, run by the Korean Culture and Information Service, featured my Korean Latke (감자전 kamja jeon) video in its latest post on its food blog.

Thanks to latke-craving YouTube enthusiasts, this video has reached 10,000 views and is the third most popular video in search for "latke." (The first two videos are from YouTube partners.) I'm also proud to report that this video reached 10,000 hits today. It's wonderfully appropriate that this video reached that milestone during Hanukkah.

I'm humbled by Korea.net's description of my video:
This famous blogger introduces how to make Korean latkes (potato pancakes), pronounced Gamja-jeon and a short history of Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish holiday.
The juxtaposition of kamja jeon and Hanukkah might seem strange — even ridiculous — unless you know the history of Hanukkah and early 20th century Korea. The extreme cultural imperialism that nearly crushed the Jews during the days of the Maccabees (second century B.C.E.) and the suffering Koreans experienced under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945 are eerily similar.

Hanukkah is the Jewish equivalent to South Korea's Liberation Day (Aug. 15). The Korean word for the holiday is "Gwangbok" means "restoration of light", which coincides with Hanukkah as the "Feast of Dedication (or re-dedication). Another nickname for Hanukkah is the "Festival of Lights" in reference to the one day supply of holy oil that lasted for eight days. Korea's Liberation day as a restoration of the light of freedom shows a beautiful synergy between the two holidays.

Hanukkah is eight days long, while Liberation Day celebrations in Korea usually last only four days.  Jews — and a number of Christians — celebrate the victory of extremely outnumbered Jewish rebels against Syrian Greeks, known as the Seleucid empire. It boasted one of the most powerful armies in the world at that time.

For Koreans on both sides of the DMZ, this is the day that Japan (the most powerful army in Asia) surrendered and accepted defeat and released their illegal claims on the Korean peninsula, giving Koreans an opportunity to live as Koreans without the threat of losing their language, history and culture. When Liberation Day comes around, I'll be eating kamja jeon just as I eat them during Hanukkah.

Grated Potato Pancakes on Foodista

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