The global fascination with Korean temple food, a culinary tradition rooted in the wisdom of 1700 years of Korean Buddhism, has sparked the curiosity of food enthusiasts worldwide, leading prestigious culinary institutions like Le Cordon Bleu and the Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology to offer workshops and courses on the art of temple cuisine.

So, what sets Korean temple food apart from simple vegetarian fare, and why has it become a global phenomenon?

Harmony with nature and plant-based bliss

In a world increasingly embracing plant-based diets, the allure of temple food lies in its embodiment of harmony and closeness to nature. Free from artificial additives and animal-based seasonings, temple cuisine relies on fresh seasonal greens, vegetables, mushrooms and beans to create a pure and untainted taste. As a compelling alternative in the era of climate consciousness, it caters to vegetarians while contemplating the future of our planet.

Sustainability as a way of life

Temple food represents more than just sustenance; it embodies wisdom for a sustainable life. From eco-friendly cultivation practices to a low-carbon meat-free diet, temple cuisine emphasizes efficient ingredient usage and the ‘balwoo gongyang’ practice. This unique meal ceremony minimizes waste, reflecting the philosophy of completing every aspect of life with dedication and respect.

Nourishing mind and spirit

Distinguishing itself from simple vegetarianism, temple food appeals to those concerned with not only physical health but also mental and spiritual well-being. As the diet of temple practitioners, it symbolizes a holistic approach, respecting every stage from ingredient cultivation to meal preparation and consumption. Temple cuisine nurtures and heals the mind and spirit, fostering complete acceptance of all life forms.

Contemplative reflection and culinary schools

Leading culinary schools worldwide are captivated by the contemplative reflection embedded in temple food. Le Cordon Bleu, for instance, has integrated temple food into its vegetarian culinary courses, offering both online and offline lectures since 2020. Recent workshops and demonstrations by Master Jeong Kwan at institutions like BCIHMCT in India have further highlighted the deep contemplation about life essential to bring out the inherent flavors of ingredients.

Embark on a culinary pilgrimage

For those eager to experience the essence of temple food firsthand, “Let’s Learn Korean Temple Food” offers a weekly one-day class for foreigners in Seoul’s famous tourist spot, Insadong. Alternatively, indulge in a meticulously prepared temple food course at “Balwoo Gongyang,” a Michelin-starred restaurant renowned for its seasonal menus and fresh ingredients.

Are you ready to embark on a journey to Korea, where you can nourish both body and soul with the heartfelt autumnal cuisine of Korean temples? Join us in savoring the flavors of enlightenment!

SOURCE Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism

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