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Gastrodiplomacy Culture as South Korea’s Branding Reputation Through the Entertainment Industry in 2023

Gastrodiplomacy Culture as South Korea's Branding Reputation through the Entertainment Industry


Gastrodiplomacy (Photo : dictionary.com)
(Photo : dictionary.com)

Gastrodiplomacy is food can be used as a tool of diplomacy, and the practice of sharing a country’s cultural heritage through cuisine. As the world changes and develops due to globalization, countries compete with each other in the international arena. Globalization creates a significant opportunity for countries to use media as one of the tools of diplomacy, such as public diplomacy. Public diplomacy has been widely used to influence the public to support a country’s foreign policy on specific issues. In public diplomacy, many things can be described and have a role that influences many people quickly, including food.

Appetizing the Audience: The Portrayal of South Korean Food in Reality Shows and the Entertainment Industry

Food can be used in Gastro-diplomacy and is usually applied by a country to increase the interests of the country itself. National food is a national brand that shows the identity of a particular country. South Korea is one country that uses public diplomacy in various ways. Korean wave or Hallyu is one of the terms used in the global phenomenon of K-pop culture and the internationally booming entertainment industry. The craze for K-pop culture does not stop there; it extends to its culinary offerings, such as Korean food, which is booming in various circles.The use of public diplomacy, such as gastro-diplomacy, is believed to be the right tool to achieve goals in solving specific problems.

South Korea is one of the many countries that use this method to achieve their country’s goals. South Korea not only uses the concept of gastro-diplomacy but combines diplomacy with the media and entertainment industry. Korean television programs are indispensable as a medium to represent culture through gastro-diplomacy. Korean TV shows broadcast gastro-diplomacy programs in various Korean reality shows, such as Jinny’s Kitchen, BTS: In The Soop, and Running Man. These reality show programs create interest and connection with the audience, so they are effective when delivering the desired message.

How gastrodiplomacy quickly boosted South Korea’s food popularity and image

Furthermore, the concept of these shows is combined into a common thing and introduced as diplomacy. In this case, the government increased gastro-diplomacy and used it as a soft power tool to improve the country’s branding. Soft power is more suitable for this event because it can emphasize the attractiveness and relationship between countries, the political aspects of the country, the policy changes in the government, and the cultural aspects. Gastro-diplomacy is a strategy that countries can use to create an image and influence in the culinary world. South Korea also actively uses gastro-diplomacy to promote Korean food and culture.

Diagram data from statistics.com in 2022 shows that the popularity of South Korean cuisine worldwide shows the highest diagram with a data reading, which is very popular, with a chart showing 49.1%. Korean food offers a wide variety of dishes that are full of flavor. Some famous dishes are tteokbokki (rice cakes with spicy gochujang sauce), bibimbap (rice mixed with various toppings, such as multiple vegetables, eggs, and spices), kimchi (fermented cabbage), bulgogi (grilled and marinated beef), Korean style fried chicken, various kinds of noodles (ramyeon, naengmyeon, jajangmyeon), and others. Reality shows have become a relevant medium for promoting Korean food to the world.

The Impact of Korean Wave (Hallyu) Specialized Content: Korean Wave Drama and Food Trends

Reality shows feature eating and cooking scenes, which can interest the audience so they can feel the deliciousness of Korean food. Korean television programs are needed as a medium for cultural representation through gastro-diplomacy. Korean massa media shows aired gastro-diplomacy programs in the reality shows Jinny’s Kitchen, Running Man, and BTS: In The Soop.

The first reality show, Jinny’s Kitchen, is a restaurant concept located in the beautiful small town of Bacalar, Mexico. This Jinny’s Kitchen show introduces and serves Korean Street Food such as Ttekbokki, Kimbab, Corn Dog, Ramyeon, Rice Bulgogi, Gimbap, and Spicy Fried Chicken to loyal customers and this show stars top Korean artists, namely Park Seo-joon, Choi Woo-shik, Jung Yu Mi, Lee Soe-jin, and ARMY’s favorite young idol, BTS V which attracts viewers and has become popular not only in South Korea but internationally.

Second, the variety show Running Man is ranked top in South Korea. The popularity of this show in carrying out missions that are always jarring to keep the audience entertained, with the presence of spectacular guest stars adding to the excitement of this one show. Running Man is famous in South Korea and has managed to reach the international market through its fans spread worldwide. In addition to the excitement of the mission, the show also features a variety of Korean culinary specialties, ranging from samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), kimchi, jeon (Korean-style pancakes), ramyeon, mando (Korean-style dumplings), jjajangmyeon, Korean-style BBQ, and many more provided for the members in their mission, to provide an attraction for the audience when watching it.

Similarly, the reality show BTS: In The Soop shows the activities in the daily lives of BTS members as ordinary people away from city life. The show continues to attract international attention, especially to its fans scattered around the world. The show features Korean food cooked by the BTS members, such as Jjapaiguri (a combination of two instant ramen), Kimchi Bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice), gimbap, dak galbi, and various types of Korean BBQ, thus providing an attraction for the audience to try it. Through this variety show, we can identify the relationship between culinary culture and the entertainment world in promoting a country’s national culture in the international arena.

Therefore, Korea is very suitable for utilizing the culture of gastro-diplomacy to promote its country’s culture. South Korea often uses gastro-diplomacy in its implementation in collaboration with various non-state actors, such as idols, television, and the entertainment world, to improve the image of the South Korean nation, which can also increase the value and national brand through food to the international community. So, food Gastro-diplomacy is the leading actor that becomes an instrument in foreign policy. Korean food can be used as a diplomatic goal for a country to build cultural contacts using soft power.

Gastrodiplomacy Culture as South Korea’s Branding Reputation Through the Entertainment Industry in 2023

The Global Impact of the Korean Wave:

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