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Korean restaurant that serves ‘KFC’ tells of ‘rollercoaster’ first year

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:22 05 November 2020

Korean restaurant The Kimchi opened a year ago selling authentic dishes and even its own version of KFC.  Pictured are owners Junghee Park and Bongha Kim PICTURES: Brittany Woodman

Korean restaurant The Kimchi opened a year ago selling authentic dishes and even its own version of KFC. Pictured are owners Junghee Park and Bongha Kim PICTURES: Brittany Woodman

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The Kimchi has become one of Norwich’s most popular restaurants since opening a year ago, but it has been far from the first 12 months the owners expected.

Inside The Kimchi in Brigg Street, Norwich. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANInside The Kimchi in Brigg Street, Norwich. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The Kimchi opened in Brigg Street in October 2019 and is run by couple Junghee Park and chef Bongha Kim, who both grew up in South Korea.

The pair moved to London in 2005 and last year they finally decided to take the plunge and open their own Korean restaurant.

As Korean food was something new for the city, they expected it would take a few years to build up a customer base, but straight away there were queues down the street.

Items on the menu include bibim-bap, a rice dish with assorted vegetables and a choice of toppings, barbecue meats, Korean Fried Chicken, its version of KFC, and complimentary kimchi.

The Kimchi's Korean Fried Chicken, its version of KFC, which is available to takeaway Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANThe Kimchi's Korean Fried Chicken, its version of KFC, which is available to takeaway Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

After a brilliant first few months, business ground to a halt overnight as the nation went into lockdown in March.

READ MORE: Five ways you can help restaurants and pubs in lockdown

Two months later, the couple decided to start offering takeaways for collection, after receiving so many requests from customers, which kept them busy until the restaurant reopened in July.

Ms Park said: “August was great and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme helped us a lot, then we had a little dip in September but October was brilliant.

The takeaway combination box from The Kimchi Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANThe takeaway combination box from The Kimchi Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“We are so gutted to have another lockdown all of a sudden and it is really sad. It has been a rollercoaster year and we have experienced a lot, but we are lucky we had a good start.

“This second lockdown is a little bit better than the first one as we are more prepared.”

READ MORE: How good is the new food offering at this Norwich pub?

The Kimchi will once again be offering takeaways to collect and the menu includes bibim-bap and combination boxes, with rice, Korean barbecue beef or pork, ‘KFC’ and dumplings.

The takeaway combination box from The Kimchi. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANThe takeaway combination box from The Kimchi. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

While it will just be collection at first, from Tuesdays to Sundays 12pm-3pm and 5.30pm-8pm, delivery will launch later in November.

Ms Park added: “Whenever we think about our customers we are speechless and can’t thank them enough.”

You may also want to watch:

Message The Kimchi on Facebook or call 01603 629215 to order takeaways.


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