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Unwind with Korea food, lifestyle docs on Netflix

Oct. 16, 2023 - 16:03 By Lee Si-jin
"A Nation of Kimchi" (Netflix, ELTV)

For those looking for a change of pace from Netflix's action-packed Korean originals, the streaming platform offers a range of Korean food, travel and lifestyle documentaries that are perfect for relaxing and learning something new.

“Rhapsody” (2020-2021) and “A Nation” (2022-2023) by ELTV are two such documentary series that are available for viewing on Netflix.

“Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody,” the first project to open the six-part “Rhapsody” series, presents the history of Korean grilled pork belly and explores different recipes and approaches to the dish.

Starring popular TV personality and chef Paik Jong-won as the host, the project showcases the unique stories of diverse individuals across Korea -- ranging from butchers, writers and a professor of agriculture and economics, to chefs, restaurant owners and village locals -- who share their experiences and thoughts on Korean pork belly.

TV personality and chef Paik Jong-won stars in the "Rhapsody" series. (ELTV)

The show also highlights different aspects of Korea's culinary scene, showing in detail the different ways of preparing and cooking pork belly, and how either grilling, steaming or boiling it can create a diverse array of mouthwatering delicacies.

The second part of the “Rhapsody” series offers a glimpse into naengmyeon, Korean cold noodles.

“Korean Cold Noodle Rhapsody,” which premiered in July 2021, focuses on some of Korea's iconic naengmyeon restaurants, delving into the lesser-known stories of naengmyeon masters and their kitchens.

“Hanwoo Rhapsody,” the last of the “Rhapsody” series, tells the rich history and tradition of hanwoo, or premium Korean beef.

This tasty follow-up to “Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody” and “Korean Cold Noodle Rhapsody” features an in-depth look at the highly coveted beef, showing details of the various cuts and the different gourmet dishes that can be made with them.

Meanwhile, “A Nation” is a series for those who are already familiar with Korean cuisine.

Unlike the “Rhapsody” series which covers a wide range of the country’s food culture from its history to popular recipes, “A Nation” showcases popular Korean eateries.

Leading food-themed comic artist Huh Young-man, K-pop star Mimi of Oh My Girl, and actors Ryu Soo-young and Ham Yon-ji star in the series, where they visit restaurants across the country.

Actor Ryu Soo-young is seen in this image from "A Nation of Broth." (Netflix, ELTV)
Galbitang, or Korean beef short rib soup, is seen in this image from "A Nation of Broth." (Netflix, ELTV)

A total of seven episodes -- two episodes titled “A Nation of Kimchi,” two episodes titled “A Nation of Banchan” and three episodes titled “A Nation of Broth” -- feature the unique charm of popular, everyday Korean dishes. Banchan refers to side dishes in Korean.

From South Korea’s southernmost island of Jeju to Seoul, restaurant owners whose establishments have been running for several generations present their dishes.

The series invites epicureans of all ages by introducing both traditional food and iconic Korean eats with a modern twist.

While the shows are not dubbed into other languages, subtitles are available in 15 languages, including English, German, Vietnamese and Spanish.