The Inside Scoop on Portland’s First Korean Food Festival

Local bigwigs, fusion specialists, and Beaverton institutions join forces for the city’s inaugural Korean food fest.

By Katie Vaughan September 30, 2015

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Han Ly Hwang of Kim Jong Grillin’

Image: Michael Novak

On Sunday, October 11, The Korean American Coalition of Oregon will host Portland’s first ever Korean food festival at the Ecotrust Building in Northwest Portland. Actually, according to Jenny Kim, President of KAC’s Oregon branch, this is the first dedicated Korean food festival in the country. “In a way, Portland is more global than a lot of cities,” says Kim. “People here are more open to new ideas, concepts, and foods.”

The Portland Korean Food Festival stars some of the city’s biggest-name chefs, a few notable Korean fusion specialists, and a handful of institutions from Portland’s true Koreantown, Beaverton: 

  • Han Ly Hwang of Kim Jong Grillin’
  • Bo Kwon of Koi Fusion
  • Brandon Kirksey of Seattle's Girin
  • John Gorham of Toro Bravo
  • Kyo Koo of Superhawk
  • PJ Yang of Bamboo Sushi
  • Johanna Ware of Smallwares
  • Rick Gencarelli of Lardo
  • Peter Cho of Stray Dogs

Rick Gencarelli and John Gorham, who are serving up pork and kimchi sandwiches and seafood jeon (oyster and octopus pancakes), respectively, probably aren’t the first chefs that come to mind when you think of Korean food. “But,” says Kim, “All the participating chefs have experience with Korean dishes and ingredients in one way or another.”

A $50 ticket gets you access to 12 dishes (like Han Ly Hwang’s grilled galbi and seaweed and rice kimbap and Johanna Ware’s hot oxtail soup with radish and rice cakes) and abundant rice and kimchi from Seoul Kimchi in Tigard. Soju cocktails and makgeolli (Korean rice wine) are on tap. Kids get in free.

Portland Korean Food Festival
Ecotrust (907 NW Irving St)
Sunday October 11th, 2 - 6pm
Tickets available here

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