Sunju Lee’s dream to bring authentic Korean food to her community is about to be realized.
Her new restaurant, Gangnam Korea, opens Friday, July 30 and will feature an array of Korean dishes as well as a specialty bubble tea café.
Lee, who is a mother of three, spent her childhood in Korea but when she went to University of Toronto in the 1990s her parents bought Smith’s in Port Sydney. Her family has been in Muskoka ever since.
“Since we are from Korea, my parents are so submerged in their culture and we still celebrate all of the traditional dates and customs,” said Lee. “But living here I have always felt like this area could use a little more diversity and culture with our food choices.”
When she saw the former Tim Hortons location on Main St. East was up for lease, she knew it was the perfect time to get planning.
With its proximity to downtown and plenty of parking, Lee knew there was high potential to turn it into her dream restaurant. Walking through the space now, you immediately notice the huge transformation it has undergone in just a few months.
“I am just so excited to introduce what I know to my local community and show everyone what I grew up eating,” said Lee.
The menu is comprised of four main themes: bubble tea, mozzadogs, Korean fried chicken, and dup-bap.
Gangnam Korea will serve a variety of traditional dishes as well as popular street food like mozzadogs (right).
Known for its bright colours and wide range of unique fruity flavours, bubble tea is a popular, sweet, iced drink, complete with chewy tapioca pearls.
Mozzadogs are a trendy Korean street food that feature mozzarella, a hot dog, or the combination of both, battered in chewy rice coating.
Korean fried chicken is battered with tempura and deep-fried four times to give each piece a super-crunchy texture and unique flavour.
Dup-bap is steamed rice topped with Korean beef, chicken stir fry, or spicy pork paired with vegetables.
In addition to these four main offerings, Gangnam Korea will also serve dumplings and Japchae or Korean rice noodles.
Chef Yangmo, Lee’s cousin and business partner, is a long-term Korean chef from Toronto who has relocated to run Gangnam Korea.
Although the goal of the restaurant is to offer convenient takeaway food, they have also created a cozy seating area for those who wish to dine in.
“There are so many health benefits to our food,” said Lee. “My goal is to offer a hearty, healthy meal at an affordable price. With every meal you order you are offered a side of kimchi [a traditional side dish made with fermented bok choy or Napa cabbage]because I want everyone to try it at least once.”
Gangnam Korea’s grand opening will run for four days starting on Friday, July 30. During that time they will be offering draws, bubble tea samples, and coupons.
A website will launch soon, with online ordering available, and they hope to offer delivery in the future. In the meantime, you can call 705-788-0777 to order once they open.
Gangnam Korea is located at 99 Main Street East in Huntsville and will be open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
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