South Korean celebrities cash in on the hallyu wave by opening restaurants in Bangkok
THE SOUTH Korean wave that lapped cautiously at the world’s shores back in the 1990s and quickly turned into a tidal wave is showing no signs of ebbing. Proof of the popularity of all things South Korean can be found in Bangkok where more than 10,000 K-pop fans turned out last week for a concert by a handful of Korean artists as part of the grand opening of new entertainment complex Show DC.
Among those artists was Psy, who became a global sensation with his 2013 hit “Gangnam Style” and remains high in the hallyu hierarchy. The 40-year-old K-pop dance icon took the opportunity of his trip to launch his very own Bangkok restaurant, Psy-Mien.
“Ramen is a wellknown local delicacy and Koreans love it. I personally like my ramen spicy and always try and eat it when I’m on tour,” Psy told XP.
Psy-Mien is almost certain to be a hit with guests at the opening particularly taken by the spicy sauce made from lime and peach. The highlights are Blue Crab ramen, sausage ramen and, in this heat, the spicy cold ramen.
The ambience is well though out, giving off the feeling of being in a small street in South Korea though the tuk tuk painted on the wall adds an unmistakable Thai flavour.
And Psy is not the only one to be moving into food. All-time fan favourites Kim Sung Soo and Lee Seo Jin have also launched eateries in Thailand – Kim’s Full House and Samsicoco, respectively – and they, along with Psy-Mien, have taken their place in the K-District Zone on the first floor of the mega entertainment, shopping and dining complex alongside five other celebrity-owned concerns. There’s After the Rain by Rain, and By Grace, which is owned by “Coffee Prince” actress and former member of Baby Vox Yoon Eun Hye. Super Junior member Choi Siwon has Bugsy Dog, “Ballad Prince” Lee Seung Gi is the name behind Seung Gi’s Mill while Brick Life Cafe by BTS belongs to boy band Bangtan Boys. There’s even a Kimchi Bus stopping off, part of a 400-day global project that promotes Korean culture through free dishes as “Majangdong Taco” and “Bukhansan Fries”.
Samsicoco has a “Back to Nature” theme that replicates a scene in Lee Seo Jin’s “SamsiSekki” (“Three Meals a Day”). The South Korean reality cooking show sees the cast living in a small rural or fishing village for three days a week and using whatever food they find to create three meals a day.
“I would like to introduce people to traditional Korean cuisine with Samsicoco. Our fried chicken is served in a clay pot, which gives it a really good taste,” says the 46-year-old TV star, who is best known for playing King Jeongjo, the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, in the 2007 TV series “Yi San”.
During the launch, Lee Seo Jin served fried chicken to guests and the media, and they were all impressed by the tender chicken cooked in a black sauce made from garlic and soybean. Wedge potato fries and coleslaw are served as side dishes.
Nearby is Kim’s Full House by Kim Sung Soo, who played Yoo Minhyuk, a director of a large media company, in the 2004 hit series “Full House”. A cosy little place, Kim’s Full House is a great place to feast on ‘khao phad kimchi, fried rice mixed with spicy fermented cabbage.
“Our concept is make our customers feel comfortable and relaxed. We also offer Bulgogi or Korean-style barbecue beef and I believe Thais will like it,” the 44-year-old actor said. “I really appreciate that fans here have supported me since ‘Full House’.”
The front of Kim’s Full House is decorated with a cabbage garden and models of jars used for kimchi-making while illustrations of how to cook kimchi fried rice cover the wall. Customers can choose their own topping from a selection that includes chicken, shrimp, tofu, spicy pan-fried pork (jeyuk bokkeum) and beef bulgogi.
The spicy pan-fried pork topping has so far proved the most popular thanks to a sauce that’s heavy on the garlic and ginger. Bulgogi too is selling well and features delicately sliced sirloin mixed with soy sauce, sugar and vegetables that’s stirfried with kimchi and rice.
- Show DC is open daily from 10am to 10pm.
- Find out more by calling the information counter at (02) 203 1890 or visit www.ShowDC.co.th.