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Title Korean Noodles Loved by Moscow Citizens
No 47 Inquiry 288 Date 2017.07.26

Korean restaurants in Moscow are evolving in various forms. From the mid-1990s to early 2010, Korean restaurants were operated mainly for Koreans in Russia, the Kareiski, and some of the locals interested in Korean food. However, as Korean food became popular among the locals, Korean restaurants recently opened in the downtown area as well as in an agricultural and marine product center frequented by the locals in Moscow.

 

There were about twenty restaurants that mainly serve Korean dishes in Moscow, but more than five Korean restaurants have been opened in recent one year. The existing Korean restaurants were located in the vicinity of the areas where employees of Korean companies and embassy live, and the Korston Hotel, which is mainly used by Korean tourists. However, recently, Korean restaurants have been opening and thriving in the residential areas of the locals. Also, Korean restaurants entered the largest agricultural and marine product center, proving its rising recognition in recent years in Europe.

 

K-Town Noodle Bar that is thriving in Moscow. (Photo courtesy of K-Town Noodle Bar)

 

Moscow's famous chef Alexander Kan opened K-Town Noodle Bar, following the founding of K-Town Korean Kitchen. In addition to serving various kinds of cooked-to-order Korean noodle dishes, this restaurant also sells dumplings and gimbap, having its name up among the young locals as a "cool" restaurant to taste Korean food. K-Town Korean Kitchen was able to draw a great response from the locals in such a short time thanks to Alexander Kan's years of experiences and know-hows.


"The K-Town chain restaurants operate in a bar style while maintaining the luxury image of the conventional restaurants in order to make the restaurants more accessible to young people," said Alexander Bronchenko, manager of K-Town Noodle Bar. "We changed ordinary Korean food into modern-style food to meet the taste of the 20s, who are the main consumers in Moscow, and added some popular elements of Japanese udon to Korean noodle dishes. The key to our success was that we made Korean food more familiar to locals."

 

Mr. Vasilli Han, CEO of Soul Seoul, introducing Korean food to visitors (Photo by Choi Seung-hyun)

 

The recently opened Asian fusion restaurant Hong Gil Dong (Хон Гиль Дон) is also noteworthy. As the menus of this restaurant are closer to Asian fusion dishes than Korean dishes, it is hard to call it a traditional Korean restaurant. Still, it is very interesting that the restaurant was named after a righteous outlaw in the Joseon Dynasty. Sergei Iordanski, one of the co-operators of Moscow's famous bar, Rolling Stone Bar, is the CEO of the restaurant. In addition, Guksutjip (Дом Куксу), which sells Korean noodles as the main dishes for the first time in Moscow, has also commenced business. The restaurant uses a Korean traditional method of making noodles.


However, one of the most noticeable Korean restaurants is Soul Seoul, which recently opened in Cheryomushkinsky Market (Черемушкинский рынок). This market has a long history. The area started to be used as a marketplace from the 16th century, and in 1950, the present building structure was completed. This market is very popular with Moscow citizens because of its long history and excellent food quality. A year ago, about 10 restaurants for visitors opened in the market. Among them, Hanoi, a Vietnamese restaurant, and Soul Seoul are the only restaurants that serve Asian food. Soul Seoul, which opened six months ago, is a small restaurant with a floor area of about 20 square meters, but being located in a market crowded by the locals, it is well received by Moscow citizens.

 

In this way, the range of Korean food sold in Russia is expanding from traditional foods such as samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), kimchi, and doenjang (soybean paste) stew to noodles, and popularity among customers is also increasing. It is expected that Korean food will have a higher appeal to people across the world once investment is made for the development of various menus and contents. Its potential is being proven in Moscow.

 

* Choi Seung-hyun, Correspondent in Russia