Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Korean fever is not only about the viral hit "Gangnam Style" made popular by Psy that is currently No. 2 on the Billboard chart, the pretty and talented idol groups who have stolen the hearts of millions of teenagers all over the world, or dramas that make housewives and maids cheer and chuckle in the afternoons.
No doubt K-Pop and K-dramas have led the Korean Wave, or hallyu, around the globe, but its impact goes further as people become more curious about the once-so-foreign country.
People across the world are keen to know more about the country's language and culture, traditional art, and even food and sport.
Jakartans are no exception.
All eyes were on South Korea during the annual Korean Week held by that country's embassy and the Korean Cultural Centre in the Taman Anggrek shopping centre in West Jakarta, which was due to end today.
People of various ages and walks of life flocked to the mall every day during the festival to indulge in everything Korean, from enjoying performances, tasting food, watching movies or being photographed wearing traditional hanbok.
Winda Dwi, 18, a first-year student of Sahid University, was among the crowd on Saturday. She watched in awe an acrobatic performance by around 20 athletes of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
She gasped as the athletes jumped and kicked wooden boards - which were held at a height of three meters - to pieces, and exhaled in relief when they landed safely.
She laughed when the performers, in white dobok martial art uniforms, suddenly lined up and imitated Psy's unique Gangnam Style dancing.
"I know Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which involves much kicking, as many Indonesians practice it too. But I never knew that a performance by professional athletes could be so enthralling," the girl said.
Dwi said she was new to everything Korean as she had recently become a fan of boyband Super Junior and that had made her want to know more about the country.
Ros, 54, another visitor, did not join the crowds watching the performances.
Instead she lined up with her two teenage daughters to have their arms painted in a booth by the stage. The booth offered visitors the chance to have their faces or parts
of bodies painted with Korean flowers, hangul letters, or a woman wearing a hanbok, for free.
"I want a flower drawn on my right hand," said Ros. "I have been a fan of Korean drama for a long time and have visited South Korea several times. I fell in love with the place instantly."
The Bekasi resident said she had to wait for her daughters to arrive home from school in the afternoon and travelled through Jakarta's congested traffic to reach the mall.
"The event is held only once a year and we don't have any other free time to enjoy this," she said.
She regretted missing the traditional Korean dishes japchae (noodles with vegetables), dak maeunjin (spicy chicken), toppoki (spice ricecake), and samgyetang (broiled chicken filled with rice) which were served in a food festival held that afternoon.
The food festival was that day's highlight, in which 600 visitors were served by 10 teams consisting of three amateur cooks competing to produce the various dishes.
"The winner of the competition gets a 1 million rupiah [US$104.28] Lotte Mart shopping voucher," said Lee Mira, a councillor from the Korean Embassy.
The specific dishes were chosen as they were similar to Indonesian food, Lee said.
Azara, 18, one of the visitors, said that she preferred toppoki the most.
"I was always curious what it tasted like each time I saw people eating it in a Korean drama. It's a bit plain but I like it," the freshman at the National University said.
The food festival also involved injoelmi (rice cake covered with soybean powder) making, when visitors were invited to grind the rice cake with big wooden hammers.
Other highlights of the Korean Week Festival were a drum dancing performance by Ha Yong-bu, a traditional percussion session by Noreum Machi, a street dance performance by internationally renowned dance group Last For One and a Korean movie screening held at the mall's cinema every day until today.