Explore Korea through Korean Cooking Classes and Culinary Tours
For most travelers, food is a major part of their traveling plans and sometimes even the main attraction. Whether through a gourmet meal in an exclusive restaurant or a quick bite at a popular street food cart, visitors seek out their destination’s authentic foods and ultimately hope to glimpse an understanding of the local culture through food. For guests to Korea, O’ngo Food Communications provides the ultimate culinary and cultural exploration of Korea. So instead of sticking to tourist-friendly zones, you can have expert guides taking you to traditional markets, hidden restaurants and bars. Your guide will explain the culture and history as you dine and taste the real flavor of Korea.
O’ngo Food Communications was founded in 2007 by Dr. Jia Choi, who trained as a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York and earned her Ph.D. in Korean Food Culture at Ehwa University. She is an official board member of the Korean Food Globalization Organization. Dr. Choi’s business partner, Daniel Gray is a food expert and author of the popular food blog Seoul Eats.
The name of this Seoul-based culinary tourism company refers to revitalization of traditions through modernization, and O’ngo has led the industry by providing cooking classes, food tours, culinary consulting services and lectures – all with the aim of helping visitors experience Korean traditions and culture through cuisine.
O’ngo’s fully equipped kitchen in Seoul’s historic Insadong area welcomes food enthusiasts from all over the world. The cooking classes are designed by Dr. Choi to highlight local flavors and seasonal ingredients. After a demonstration by O’ngo’s experienced chefs, students follow the hands-on approach, learning specific cooking techniques that are authentic and easy to replicate back home. After class, students visit a traditional Korean food market to see or buy the ingredients they cooked with in class.
Even the most timid culinary students will be ready to impress their friends with homemade haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) and sundubu (soft tofu stew) after one of the beginner classes. For more experience students, O’ngo offers intermediate level classes, such as Korean Barbecue class and Banchan class. Special classes like Vegan Temple Cuisine and professional-level Korean Palate Training and Royal Court Cuisine can be scheduled by request. All cooking classes are offered in English or Japanese.
Beginning Class Menu: Seasonal Kimchi and Bulgogi, Spicy Tofu Stew and Seafood Pancake (Sundubu & Haemul Pajeon), Stone Bowl Bibimbap and Fresh Kimchi, Chili-braised Chicken and Japchae (Dakbokkeumtang) Intermediate Class Menu: Korean Barbecue: learn techniques and sauces for chicken, beef, and pork and accompaniments, Buddhist Temple Cuisine: Make a full-course vegan meal of soup, side-dishes and rice, Korean Banchan: learn techniques to make a table full of Korean side-dishes such as japchae, spicy pork, various vegetables and more.
Beyond the kitchen, Daniel Gray organizes the highly-popular culinary tours, which have been voted as the best tours in Seoul by TripAdvisor travelers. Each tour reflects in-depth knowledge of local neighborhoods and offers an unparalleled glimpse into some of Korea’s tastiest eateries and best-kept secrets.
The Korean Taste Tour starts off with a cooking demonstration and tasting at O’ngo Culinary School and then takes foodie travelers on a walking tour of local shops, street food stalls and authentic restaurants, tasting and snacking at each stop.
The Korean Night Dining Tour focuses on the unique Korean drinking culture and bar food – perfect tour for the adventurous and the jet-lagged. You will learn about Korean culture while dining on Korean barbecue, crispy pancakes and spicy chicken
During the Noryangjin Fish Market Tour, seafood lovers can explore the immense variety of seafood available only at this largest fish market in Seoul and pick out their lunch to be prepared at a restaurant inside the market.
Private and custom tours allow food travelers to explore Korean cuisine and culture based on their own particular interests and to create their own unique, memorable and genuinely Korean experiences. Serious foodies have taken trips to foodie destinations such as Chuncheon, Jeonju and Jeju Island. Guests have also traveled to visit farms, temples and to eat some of the more bizarre foods Korea has to offer, such as black goat, turtle, skate, live octopus and even dog. O’ngo has a team of travel experts who can handle logistics so that visitors’ experiences are memorable, exciting and stress-free.
O’ngo’s culinary tours and cooking classes have been featured in National Geographic, Rudy Maxa’s World, Delta Airlines, FinAir, The Washington Post, Food Network Asia, The Kimchi Chronicles, Monocle Magazine and many other publications and programs.
Working with socially responsible partners and local businesses, O’ngo aims to be part of local community and invites visitors to Korea to experience the local lifestyle through authentic Korean cuisine.