President Trump has now found himself on the South Korean leg of his 12-day tour of East Asia, which he kicked off over the weekend. For lunch on Tuesday, he trekked to Camp Humphreys, an American military base not far from Seoul, and gorged on Tex-Mex in observance of the base cafeteria's Taco Tuesday. On Tuesday night, he dined at a state banquet at Cheong Wa Dae, or the Blue House, the residential compound for the country's heads of state. There, he was served an array of dishes in a concerted effort to "appeal to the taste of the US head of state," according to a statement from an unnamed government official to local South Korean Yonhap news agency.
Here was a meal of many splendors: corn porridge with fresh herbs; grilled sole (reportedly Trump's favorite fish) from Goje Island along with Donggukjang consommé; pine mushroom rice served in a stone pot with grilled pawn caught in the territorially-disputed waters off Dokdo Island between Japan and South Korea; and Hanwoo rib, with what a spokesman for the South Korea presidential office claimed was "an exquisite, 360-year-old soy sauce served on a tray."
Contrast this meal with what Trump ate in Japan, where he was treated to a meal of familiar American comforts at a country club, eating some burgers from Munch's Burger Shack, a Japanese chain that sources its angus beef straight from America. He also paid a visit to teppanyaki restaurant Ginza Ukai Tei , which saw its stock skyrocket by 7 percent following his visit.
This state banquet at the Blue House, as some have pointed out, is quite a gastronomic change of pace for Trump. Some slapdash math suggests that soy sauce has a birthdate of 1657, the same year as the birth of good old Benjamin Franklin. It's unclear whether this matter is truly a symbolic stroke by South Korea to appease Trump, though the inclusion of this finely aged soy sauce in the meal has been interpreted by some to be a deliberate nod to Franklin's date of birth.
Either way, one thing's quite clear about this meal: We see no cheeseburger, nor any well-done steak with ketchup.