In the meantime, the Korea International Food & Food Tech Expo aka FoodWeek has started today at the COEX.
A lot of food and drink related companies have set up booths, which also means a lot of samples to be eaten and drunk (drank? drunken? whoa, I'm suddenly confused) so it's basically a foodie heaven. The Kitchen, Hotel & Restaurant, Food Packaging, Rice, Premium Agrostock fairs are showing at the same venue with other various events going on so it's definitely worth a visit.
I'm going this weekend, mostly to check out the Makgeolri Expo. (Also in the same venue.)
Makgeolri is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from rice (mistakenly translated as 'Korean rice wine'; there's nothing wine-y about it). Less famous than the potent soju, it is gaining a surge of popularity as the quality has been steadily rising the past few years. It has a milky and cloudy appearance and may resemble drinkable yoghurt to the untrained eye. It has a slightly sweet tinge to it and goes well with most Korean dishes. Soju might be described as Korean vodka, makgeolri is, well, there's nothing quite like it.
Like kimchi, there are many different versions and types according to region and many villages are starting to market their products to a larger audience. There are also the big brands from the larger companies that are being exported overseas. There is also confusion regarding the romanization of the name; it's being spelled differently a lot. (It's pronounced mahk-gull-lee.)
Will post about it after I manage to update a month and a half worth of belated posts. Hopefully before this month is over.
Food Week 2009 @ COEX from Nov 19 (Thurs) t0 Nov 22 (Sun)
(site in Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)