We were really excited to kick off our adventures in South Korea, a country we have always felt a special connection to because we grew up competing in Tae Kwan Do. (Karena visited Seoul when she was 13 and won a gold medal in the Korean Open.)
You definitely get the feeling South Koreans are at the cutting edge of fashion and music and the food is probably the most fashionable in the world right now. The flavours are intense and some of the experiences have left a lasting impression.
Barbecuing on the side streets in Korea was amazing. The large barrels with charcoal gave the meat an amazing flavour. Also, the everyday use of fermentation was fascinating and we were able to get up close and personal with one of Korea's kimchi masters (there are only five in the country) - "Mrs Lee". This definitely intensified our love and appreciation for kimchi and now we are really looking forward to trying to ferment our own at home.
We also got to meet a lady who is a national treasure and bibimbap master. "Mrs Kim" showed us how to make her version of bibimbap - a signature Korean dish, which literally means "mixed rice". It was delicious. And we were totally blown away by one Korea's most cutting-edge chefs, Chef Riu, whose food was really inventive.
The biggest cultural similarity we discovered is how Korea values the medicinal properties of food in the same way Maori do.
Karena & Kasey's Kitchen Diplomacy tonight, 8pm, TV One.