Korean food comes to Suva

Last week Fiji Traveller had the chance to make and taste popular Korean dishes at a cooking class led by Korean-born chef, Mira Kwon. 

At age 64, Kwon is a food entrepreneur and a familiar face at the well-visited ROC market.

She is best known for her delicious kimchi and kimbap, which was the highlight of her cooking class. Kimchi (김치) is fermented cabbage that is usually drenched with a spicy red paste and kimbap (김밥) is a seaweed and rice dish featuring various fillings. 

Kwon taught us the step-by-step processes of making the popular dishes. We used fresh, locally-sourced vegetables like carrots, cucumber, moca (Fijian spinach) as well as tofu for our fillings, plus sesame oil, that beautifully blended it altogether.

Kimchi prepared by Mira Kwon

“I’m more than happy to introduce Korean food in Fiji,” Kwon told Fiji Traveller.

“Korean culture has been very popular nowadays, especially when I sell at the ROC market, the young people come up to me and want to speak in Korean,” the proud businesswoman noted. 

Kwon says her kimchi business of three years has been “going good”. 

She and her husband have a shop in Nabua. “For a 300g pack of Kimchi, it’s FJ$10. Our kimbap is only available at the ROC market,” she added. 

The class was held at the Pacific Theological Centre in Suva and organised by VegFest Pasifika. 

Mira Kwon (left) teaches her class

Vittoria Pasca, food nutritionist and co-founder of VegFest Pasifika said: “Our philosophy as VegFest is that a delicious meal is always the most convincing way to prove that a healthy plant-based diet can be very satisfying and pleasant to follow

“From a personal point of view, I always thought that to make kimchi, we would need to use exotic ingredients which would be too difficult to find in Suva, so I was pleasantly surprised during the class as we used only common, locally available ingredients.” 

Pasca noted the popularity of the class: “We had over 220 people who expressed their interest on Facebook and the class was fully booked within the first few days. I think it’s a great sign that there is a growing interest in learning new, creative ways of preparing healthy meals from local vegetables. The feedback we received from the participants was very positive and some of the ‘students’ even tried to make their own kimbap during the class, with impressive results.” 

Mira’s husband, Bang Seong-soo (right) and Kite Pareti of Fiji Traveller say thumbs up to Korean food

Follow VegFest Pasifika on Facebook for more classes and events. 

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