12 (Wed) February 2020
Black Sesame & Pine Nut Porridge
at the Embassy Residence of the Republic of Korea
-Forbes Park, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines-
with Korean colleagues, including RDE, and HE Ambassador and his wife
Not sure about the ostensible objective of the occasion, but the dinner conversation ended up consisting almost entirely of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The Ambassador was understandably anxious to get the right information that he could convey to Korean expats in the Philippines.
One point was the need to dispel the notion that Koreans may have greater immunity to the disease because they eat kimchi, which was a popular belief during the SARS outbreak in 2003, when Korea reported only 3 cases (out of 8,000 globally) and 0 deaths (out of 800 globally), even though it didn’t seem to help during the MERS-CoV outbreak in 2015, when Korea had the highest incidence rate outside of the Middle East with 185 cases (out of 2,500 globally) and 38 deaths (out of 850 globally).
The food was okay. The Koreanish dishes fared better than the Frenchish ones.
I would think that official diplomatic protocol would require the embassy residence to exclusively serve Korean food to guests, not only to actively promote the cultural brand but more simply as a matter of common sense.