Spreading her love for the Korean food craze, winner of the World Top Gourmet Awards 2020 shares that her secret to success is in pleasing her customers.
BY YVONNE YOONG
Some of the best things in life happen by chance. And, so too the craze for Korean cuisine here – thanks to the visionary Pursuit of adventurous foodie and savvy entrepreneur Huen Su San – the proud owner of 10 restaurants promoting four different Korean brands. These include the Shinmapo Korean BBQ outlets at The Garden Mall, Mid Valley and SS15 Courtyard, Subang Jaya. There’s also the Apple Samgyupsal outlets at Taman Desa; Bandar Puteri Puchong and Jaya One, Palatine Jaya as well as the Hanbing Korean Dessert Cafe outlets at Bangsar; SS15 Courtyard, Subang Jaya; Hanbing Korean Dessert Cafe outlets at Nu Sentral Mall, KL Sentral and IOI City Mail, Putrajaya besides Seoulnami Korean BBQ at The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley.
The venture Into Food & Beverage (F&B) started as a side business which hatched while I was on holiday in Hong Kong. I chanced upon a Korean dessert café named Hanbing sporting a long queue for Its Bingsu (Korean shaved ice dessert). I knew it would be loved by all Malaysians and reached out to the owner to bring the brand to Kuala Lumpur. Within two months of meeting up, Mr Shin (my Korean partner) and I opened the first Hanbing Korean Dessert Cafe in Bangsar in Oct 2015. As the popularity of Hanbing grew, we planned for more outlets” she reminisces.
Later, her partner introduced her to an authentic Korean BBQ chain – Shinmapo Korean BBQ. So impressed was she with the brand’s concept and menu and armed with experience in F&B, she was confident on operating a BBQ restaurant.
“We opened Shinmapo Korean BBQ at SS15 Courtyard and The Gardens Mall in three short months apart from one another in Aug and Oct 2016. While in Korea, I visited one of the Shinmapo main companies’ new concept BBQ store —Apple Samgyupsal. The combination of apple with pork was a crowd pleaser and the concept stuck. When the right location come about, we opened the first store in Taman Desa in Sept 2017 followed by Puchong in Dec 2017, and the latest outlet at Jaya One last Dec 2018.
Not one to rest on her laurels, and with the experience of five Korean BBQ restaurants behind her, she launched a Muslim-friendly halal Korean BBQ — Seoulnami Korean BBQ outlet in Feb 2019. The World Gourmet Top Awards 2020 winner for Korean dining enjoys bringing different dining experiences to cater to different segments of the market.
When quizzed on her secret to success, she shares, “I’ve always wanted to do more, be more and have the inner drive for constant improvement. Moving ahead, I hope this continuous drive for improvement is going to bring about more value to the businesses and society it participates in.”
We strive to please all our clients in food quality, service and dining experience. F&B requires constant and continuous adaptation to remain relevant in the market,” she maintains.
Hanbing Korean Dessert Café
Hanbing Korean Dessert Café’s wide range of Bingsu is its main draw in a chic Korean café setting. The brand appeals to a younger crowd and boasts a trendy menu ranging from Korean street food favourites to authentic traditional favourites and is the perfect place for a quick Korean meal and dessert.
Seoulnami Korean BBQ
Seoulnami Korean BBQ is the latest concept focusing on satisfying local taste buds with a pork-free and alcohol free menu. The Korean chefs have gone to great lengths to develop in-house Korean sauces and kimchi from scratch ensuring all its ingredients and processes are halal-compliant whilst staying true to authentic Korean taste. Seoulnami Korean BBQ is its only concept serving an “All-you can eat” BBQ buffet daily from 11am-6pm.
Shinmapo Korean BBQ
Shinmapo Korean BBQ is the leading Korean BBQ franchise in Korea with over 500 outlets worldwide. The star of its menu is Galmaegi skirt meat – a priced cut as there is only 200g of this meat in every adult pig served with a wide assortment of Korean cuisine.
“Apple Samgyupsal is a modern twist to Korean BBQ which incorporates apple as a pairing with pork. The signature Apple Park Is smoked with apple wood chips and marinated in apple sauce before it is grilled before your eyes. Traditional side dishes in Apple Samgyupsal and alcoholic cocktails are given a modern take for a refreshing Korean dining experience where one can sample fried kimchi, salad in black sesame dressing, fresh apple juice makgeolli and soju, etc. The Apple Samgyupsal concept has a more laidback approach, replicating a road-side BBQ store,” she says of the restaurant that clinched the award recognition.