Korea Festival highights: an extravanganza of food and popular culture

We round-up the not-to-be-missed events at this year's Korea Festival.

 SE:UM meld western and Korean sounds. Courtesy Korea Festival
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Abu Dhabi’s annual Korean cultural extravaganza is back, bigger and better than ever and, as usual, free to attend.

Unlike previous editions, which ran for three days at Abu Dhabi National Theatre, Korea Festival 2016 runs from tomorrow until November 6, and has expanded to include additional venues: Abu Dhabi Corniche and UAE University Al Ain.

The line-up is more ambitious, too: visitors can enjoy cookery classes, food-tasting, music, dance and beauty shows, plus a film screening and a critically acclaimed Korean play, both starring popular actress Yeh Ji-Won.

There is lots to see and do during the first weekend at Abu Dhabi National Theatre. You can taste red ginseng (a Korean herbal superfood), browse a hanji (a traditional paper craft) exhibition, check out the cosmetics stalls for the latest Korean products, and watch beauty demos by YouTube celebrity Calary Girl.

On Saturday, October 29 Yeh will talk to the audience after the screening of her 2011 film Hanji. She is also the star of the play Hongdo, which will be staged on Thursday, October 27 and on Friday, October 28 at the theatre.

As always, we are excited about the food-tasting stalls, a regular feature of the event. Korean delicacies coming to the Corniche on November 3 and 4, courtesy of InterContinental Abu Dhabi, include japchae (stir-fried glass noodles), tteok-galbi (meatballs), dak-kangjeong (fried chicken with spicy sauce), gimbab (rice rolls with vegetables), and ho-tteok (sweet fried pancake). Our advice is to get there early – the queues will be huge.

On November 4, Jaehak Lee and Sunghyun Yoon, chefs from InterContinental Abu Dhabi, will lead a 60-minute alfresco kimchi workshop. UAE University Al Ain will host the second round of food-tasting and cookery workshop on Sunday, November 6.

Entertainment on the Corniche will run late into both nights, with performances by SE:UM, a group that meld western music with traditional Korean sounds, and Goblin Party, a troupe that mix classical Korean and contemporary dance moves.

The B-Boy breakdance show, and pop group Danpyunsun and the Sailors, whose music draws heavily from western indie rock, will also perform. There will be repeat performances at UAE University Al Ain on November 6.

A satellite event, the Korean International Medical Tourism Convention, will be hosted by InterContinental Abu Dhabi on November 10 and 11.

All events are free to attend. Visit uae.korean-culture.org for the full schedule