The recent race among nation-states to promote national cuisine as a way to counter globalization has marked food as a resource to reinforce national identity and preserve local food heritage. In 2008, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak joined this “food war” by launching the Global Hansik Campaign to reinforce Korean national identity and enhance the nation's image. The government chose royal court cuisine of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) as the national representative to present a unified and culturally refined image to simultaneously neutralize local differences and project its global desires. Yet, rather than providing a unifying front for Koreans to project nationalism, the selection of court cuisine fomented debates among local, national, and international actors about what constitutes culinary heritage. Exploring how the state navigated domestic, regional, and global power relations demonstrates that debates surrounding heritage remain tethered to global forces that reproduce the hegemonic social order.

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