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Sunday, September 24, 2023

9 Nice Korean Restaurant Franchises (and unhealthy ones) 2022

There’s one thing I’d say for Korea that I wouldn’t say for America–there are some freakin’ good restaurant franchises that I’d advocate even over impartial eating places. Their high quality is persistently good. These Korean restaurant franchises would even be nice manufacturers to export.

I’m leaving out the fried hen and non-Korean-food franchises as they require separate posts. There are lots of different franchises on the market, and a few are good. However they’re both not nice (Bon Juk, Baekje Samgyetang), or they’re inconsistent (Andong Jjimdalk, Omogari Kimchi Jjigae).

Maetdollo-man 맷돌로만

Maetdollo-man 맷돌로만

Although the title seems like a superhero, it means one thing like, “Solely from the Millstone.”

That is my new favourite franchise, they usually’re increasing quickly. They focus on tofu. Housemade tofu. They make it out entrance behind the window for everybody to see. Korean tofu converts individuals who hate tofu. It has a tough masculine high quality.

Maetdollo-man 맷돌로만 Dubu Jeon

Get their Dubu Bossam set, which incorporates some tender pork stomach with tofu and wraps. Additionally get their Dubu Jeon, which is a crunchy pancake made solely out of tofu. Pure protein.

I can’t discover a web site for them, and it seems to be like every considered one of their storefronts is barely completely different. Simply copy and paste 맷돌로만 on Google and Naver.

Supply: bossam.co.kr

Yeah, it’s simply bossam. However it’s persistently good. We are inclined to get it delivered, however I feel it’s greatest within the restaurant itself. The banchan is at all times various and attractive, together with that candy, fruity recent kimchi. They’ve lunch specials that may fill you up.

Supply: newmaul.com

This Korean restaurant chain has been getting fairly fashionable with Koreans and expats. They’re a part of this Nineteen Seventies nostalgic development. Take a look at the lattice-work on the doorways and the final really feel of the place. Some areas even have marshaling anthems blaring outdoors, harkening again to, um, easier occasions?

I’ve been a fan of their hangjeongsal and geopdaegi (pork pores and skin), however the factor to order (thanks, Lisa Kelley) is the Yeoltan Bulgogi 열탄불고기. It’s shaved pork smothered in spicy sauce. Toss that on the grill and be sure you have your favourite bev useful.

That is the star franchise of movie star chef Paik Jong-won. This man is infamous for sticking his face on EVERYTHING. The man has franchises for many any product, together with espresso. Most of his franchises suck, however that is the one good one.

Paik Jong-won

Search for the place with the yellow roof.

The legend of Jaws goes like this. A man stop his job and needed to begin a tteokbokki hut. But he didn’t know the very first thing about making it. He spent months within the kitchen perfecting his recipe. The result’s a spicy and addictive tteokbokki. However Jaws doesn’t cease there. Additionally they serve a meaty soondae sausage, hearty odeng fish desserts, and tremendous gentle and crispy twigim (tempura). I like mixing all of it along with the thick tteokbokki sauce.


After I was in Chuncheon, the DalkGalbi capital of the world, I observed that there have been eating places serving a sutbul (charcoal-grilled) model. Quickly after, this Orai opened in my city of Anyang.

That is nice stuff! Darkish meat hen marinated in a candy spicy sauce and thrown on the charcoal grill in entrance of you. Sure, you don’t get the same old fried rice on the finish, however by then you definitely’re in your third order. It’s fairly priced as effectively. One order will feed two folks–or one Joe. I’ve had this at one other location in Seoul, and it’s simply nearly as good there.


Credit score: Xin Li 88 on Flickr (cc)

Nolboo is tough to peg. They’re a model that has many various kinds of Korean eating places. Some do Budae Jjigae, some do Clay Pot Duck, some do Galbi Jjim. Most often, they serve prime quality variations of no matter dish they focus on. The Clay Pot Duck, Yuhwang Ori 유황오리, is the closest you get to Thanksgiving dinner in a Korean restaurant. The duck is full of rice, numerous seeds, fruits, and Chinese language medicinal components. It’s then baked in a clay pot for just a few hours. The result’s this steamy tender meat with this fragrant stuffing. Carry a bottle of pinot noir for this one.

The Budae Jjigae eating places do the traditional “military base stew” with the traditional spam and scorching canine. However in addition they add little bonuses like pepperoni. Their Galbi Jjim eating places serve taste-bud-obliterating spicy ribs that I can’t get sufficient of.

Credit score: fabonthemoon on Flickr (cc)

They’re probably not a restaurant. They’re a tea purveyor. They’ve cafes in Insa-dong and round city. They open cubicles in excessive finish shops. O’Sulloc is a Jeju-based inexperienced tea producer that has proven how world class Korean tea will be. They’re not low-cost, however not like many Korean corporations that promote merchandise at premium costs, O’Sulloc’s teas are actually premium. Their fundamental inexperienced tea, which they roast and brew at no cost samples in Insa-dong, packs a lot of a punch that you simply received’t return to the sawdust within the teabags. The complexity makes it so attention-grabbing. They don’t simply do inexperienced tea. O’Sulloc carries a big swath of flavored and themed teas. They even have some tremendous posh black field teas. Most of them would make excellent presents.

Primarily based in Jeonju, residence of the head of bibimbaps, Gogung brings this well-known dish in its most Platonic preferrred. Whenever you see attractive colourful photographs of bibimbap, that is the kind they serve. The signature Jeonju bibimbap is available in a brass bowl and is chock stuffed with little goodies, full with the uncooked egg yolk that binds it collectively after mixing. You often discover branches in shops. If you happen to can’t make it to Jeonju, attempt it right here.

Bukchon Mandu makes their dumplings recent. You may see them wrapping them within the open window the place folks choose them as much as eat on the road or take residence. Their Manduguk (mandu soup) warms you up and fills you up for the afternoon. Be certain to get a few of these Sae-oo Mandu (Shrimp Mandu, pictured above). Possible, you’ll get extra.

And these both suck the soul out of Korean meals or are simply poorly executed.


Oh, the issues that proceed to be mistaken with this idea! I had already informed you the story on how CJ approached me and some others to assist manage market testing with westerners for a bibimbap idea they had been planning to take abroad. The unique restaurant was Cafe Sobahn, which was fairly cool. The sprouts they grew hydroponically within the store. You could possibly see them. After attempting and score completely different dishes, they ended the testing by saying, “We’re considering of going with the title Bibigo. What do you consider that title?”

The group unanimously mentioned it was a horrible title. The CJ supervisor took the outcomes to his superiors. The superiors checked out it and tossed the outcomes away, together with Cafe Sobahn itself. They didn’t match with what they deliberate.

A catastrophe

The consequence has been considered one of many cash pits for the CJ conglomerate. The one motive the Bibigo branches within the U.S. and even in Seoul have stayed afloat is that CJ’s deep pockets are patching the holes. They use the franchise to boast to the Korean public that they’re spreading Korean delicacies. However few have requested them no matter occurred to their prediction to have many extra eating places open than they’ve now.

It’s a cash suck. The exec in command of this has famously in contrast herself to Steve Jobs, which is her excuse for not being attentive to market analysis. She doesn’t notice that Steve Jobs may get away with it as a result of–he was Steve jobs. Each transfer they’ve carried out has been crass and out of contact with the market. However hey! That they had Psy!

(What’s humorous is that Psy was the face for Nolboo earlier than he got here out with Gangnam Type.)

Since I first posted about this, they’d a catastrophe of a restaurant in London, and the chain is dying out. However now they’re identified for his or her frozen mandu.


Korea’s reply to TGI McChilibee’s. They attempt to do the chain informal eating fern bar idea a la Outback. This might have labored. Sadly, like so many prepped up Korean endeavors, they one way or the other surgically eliminated all of the enjoyable, taste, and pleasure of Korean BBQ whereas upping the worth, pairing it with Yellow Tail Merlot.


Oh, I’m going to get my ass chewed for this one. However I critically don’t see what the hype is about this past being an establishment. It’s like how I don’t get The Varsity in Atlanta. Everybody says you need to go there, however except you’re sentimental for it, it’s disappointing.

I’ll say this, the broth within the Kalguksu is ok. However that’s about it. The meat is grisly and low high quality. The dumplings are simply the identical as you’d get wherever else. And that kimchi–it’s god terrible! It’s like they put no jeotgal in it and simply doused it in uncooked garlic and gochugaru. You solely eat the kimchi as a result of there’s no different possibility. There are lots of a lot better kalguksu joints in Korea, like Hwangsaengga Kalguksu in Bukchon.

Myeong-dong Gyoja is simply hype for vacationers.


If you happen to’re simply impressed by gimmicks, that is your house. Their hearth beef sushi isn’t unhealthy. However the namesake noodles are boring, boring, boring. It needs to be a blinking warning when a restaurant imprints their emblem on the egg in your bowl.

Shinpo Uri Mandu 신포 우리 만두


2013-07-17 20.26.45

Simply ralph on my plate and serve it with rice, why don’t ya!

They supposedly focus on mandu. It’s of their freakin’ title! The frozen mandu given out as free samples at E-Mart are higher.

Grainy. Mealy. Tasteless.

So it’s solely downhill whenever you attempt their non-mandu objects.

What nice (or unhealthy) Korean meals franchises am I leaving out? Say so within the feedback.

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