DiplomaticQuarter: South Korea, Saudi Arabia share common dream, says diplomat

South Korean Consul General Sang-Kyoun Lee. (File photo)
Updated 01 November 2019

DiplomaticQuarter: South Korea, Saudi Arabia share common dream, says diplomat

South Korea and Saudi Arabia are working together to achieve shared future dreams, Seoul’s consul general said.

On the sidelines of the Qur’an Foundation Day ceremony on Wednesday, Sang-Kyoun Lee said that South Korea and the Kingdom share strong bonds based on diplomatic relations stretching back to 1962.

“Grounded in a deep mutual trust and a shared wish to ensure a thriving future for their peoples, the two countries have become key partners in sectors ranging from traditional fields of construction and energy to renewable and nuclear energy, culture and many other fields,” he said.

The envoy said that under Vision 2030, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are leading the Kingdom toward a brighter and more sustainable future.

“South Korea is also pursuing a drive for change, moving toward society and economy, which look to the future.”

He said that 2019 has been a remarkable year in relations between the two countries.

“First, the crown prince visited Korea in June and met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss issues of common interest in matters relevant to the Vision 2030,” he said.

After that meeting, ministers of both countries signed 10 agreements worth more than $8 billion in fields such as energy and ICT.

“Second, the Saudi government invited two K-pop bands, Super Junior and BTS, to perform as a highlight of the Jeddah Season and Riyadh Season,” he added.

“The Saudi people warmly welcomed the Korean artists and greatly enjoyed the performance. In turn, the first ‘Saudi Arabia Culture Week’ in the Asian region was held in Seoul in June, bringing Saudi culture to the people of Korea,” he said.

The Kingdom recently decided to issue tourist visas to citizens of 49 countries, including South Korea.

The lasting friendship between South Korea and Saudi Arabia will deepen even further, the Korean envoy said.

“It is my sincere hope that the peoples of both our countries will continue to thrive in the midst of peace and prosperity.”

The Jeddah-Korea Business Show, one of the consulate’s annual activities bridging the two countries’ private sectors, is scheduled for Nov. 21.

South Korea is one of the Kingdom’s eight key partners, along with the US, Japan, China, UK, Germany, France and India, to achieve the goals of Vision 2030.

Trade volume between the two countries in 2018 exceeded $30 billion. The Kingdom is the largest oil exporter to South Korea, the largest contractor in construction, and the republic’s leading trading partner in the Middle East.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 11 min ago

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne madeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Madeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne madeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.