So this month the eyes of the world are on the Korean Peninsula on the eve of the 23rd Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in South Korea. Less well known than its Asian tiger competitors of China and Japan, South Korea is none the less an economic powerhouse, home to world famous brands such as Samsung, Hyundai and Kia. Its divided from its neighbour the Republic of North Korea following a bitter civil war over 60 years ago, and North Korea remains one of the world’s most secretive and mysterious nations.
However, in a ground breaking move the North Koreans are sending athletes south to participate and with the spotlight on both nations, expect to see an increased interest in all things Korean this spring.
Korean food has already emerged as a hot trend in foodie cities around the world distancing itself from more traditional Asian cuisines through its fiery unique flavours and its ability to fuse with other popular trends such as BBQ, street food and central American or Mexican flavours. Kimchi, the potent fermented cabbage and garlic pickle is becoming as ubiquitous as Thai chilli dipping sauce or Piri Piri and the hot food from the street wagons of Toronto, Sydney and LA is Bulgogi- thin seared beef in Korean spices.
In interior design look out for more simplified accents of Asia. Forget the bright and gaudy reds and golds, temple dragon and lion motifs. Instead think soothing zen. Pebbles, bamboo, rush matting. Korean traditional homes known as Hanoks, are based around a calming courtyard and are designed to encourage contemplation and reflection. Silk fabrics in cushions and screens with hues of pale jade, light grey and the lightest of earthy browns would work well. Look out for fabric motifs with Storks, Swallows, sun rays and citrus fruits.