Five thousand miles east of Slow Food’s original Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event in Italy, Namyangju, a satellite city outside Seoul, is set to host the very first AsiO Gusto event from October 1-6. An ambitious project, organized by the Slow Food Culture Center and the municipality of Namyangju in collaboration with Slow Food International, it will bring together small-scale sustainable producers from the Presidia, Ark of Taste and food communities with young people, chefs and exhibitors from 40 Asian and Oceanic countries.
Outside of Asia, many people have a very limited view of the region’s culinary riches, mediated by experiences in restaurants in their home countries and perhaps their travels, but rarely do they have a deeper knowledge of the continent’s very different cuisines, which vary greatly even within a single country. AsiO Gusto will offer a unique opportunity to experience the biodiversity of this vast continent in a single location. A continent where 100,000 traditional rice varieties are still cultivated, home to fermented beverages and foods like Korean kimchi and Japanese miso, the bright colors and pungent scents of forest-grown spices and a thousand types of tea. The event will offer a journey around Asia’s vivid sights and flavors, from the Kazakh steppe to the green mountains of Bhutan, from the Chinese markets to the street food stalls of Thailand, from the Filipino sea to the islands of Oceania.
The organizers are currently reviewing delegate nominations with the aim of putting together an agricultural and gastronomic map of this diversity, which we have no doubt will be full of surprises. Just like the Salone del Gusto, the event will show how traditional gastronomy and sustainable agricultural practices are vital for our future. In addition to highlighting the value of local cultures, the event will reflect how the guiding principles of Slow Food – good, clean and fair, the protection of biodiversity, the importance of taste education – are increasingly shared at a global level.
In the words of a Buddhist master, “When you are in the kitchen, you are not only cooking, but taking care of yourself and others.” AsiO Gusto will offer an opportunity to learn how best to take care of ourselves.
Nominations for AsiO Gusto delgates close on May 10. Delegates must be from Asia and Oceania and must either represent Slow Food’s philosophy through their participation in a Presidia, Ark of Taste, Indigenous community or education project, or their work as a chef, academic etc.
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