5 Dunlop Street
(5 mins walk from Rochor MRT exit B)
Contact: +65 6291 4468/ 9232 2367
Korean Fusion BBQ
In recent years, Korean pop culture has swept across the globe, winning over hearts by the millions. Singaporeans were not immune to this, and even today, Korean dramas and food are still incredibly popular amongst the young and old alike.
Despite being a huge fan of Korean food, Ms. Shan decided that it would be even better with a local twist to it. “I learned to cook Korean dishes from my friend, and I thought, why not merge Korean and Singaporean cultures together in food?” she recalls. Korean Fusion BBQ restaurant was the result of this, and since 2014 she has opened a branch at Little India.
Here, they marinate Korean food mainstays like pork belly with a variety of unusual sauces, such as char siew and lychee. It sounds odd, but Ms. Shan says that when her customers try the lychee flavoured pork, they’re actually “pleasantly surprised by it.” “There’s a sweetness in there that’s not usual to Korean BBQ meats and they love these unique flavours,” she explains.
How did she manage to come up with such interesting yet delightful flavours? Ms. Shan has a background in food science, and has done a lot of research and development in food in her previous jobs, one of which was at the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore. As such, she definitely knows what she’s doing, and in fact does the marinating herself. “It takes a lot of trial and error to get the best taste for others, and not just yourself – taste is subjective,” she says.
Business has been great despite the economic downturn, Ms. Shan says. Beyond the eclectic flavours, many customers go to Korean Fusion BBQ solely for the free flow of waffles and ice cream that they have. “The kids love them!” she enthuses.
Still, the economic situation has taken its toll in other ways. For one, the prices of materials and ingredients have been rising, but Ms. Shan refuses to pass this cost on to her customers. “We ended up absorbing the increase in cost price,” she explains.
And switching to cheaper ingredients is a definite no-no in her book. “To portray the company well to customers, there are two things that we never compromise on: food quality, and service standards,” Ms. Shan says.
Clearly, it’s been working out well – she goes on to explain that most of her new customers come from social media or via word-of-mouth. Recently, she’s also been taking on tour groups as well, which definitely helps business.
To those who would like to go into the food and beverage line, she has these words of advice: “You must know what the industry situation is like – do your market research. Also, always prepare sufficient capital and forecast your finances in advance.”