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Sunday, February 17, 2013
CHRIS KIM has been residing in the Philippines for over seven years. When he first came to the country, his English vocabulary was very limited, and he described it as just enough to get him by. He first stayed in Manila where his experience, he said, was met with adversities.
After several instances when he landed in trouble because of language barrier issues, Chris decided to teach himself English. He read, he practiced with friends and before he knew it, he was in a guest relations position in a world-class Korean-owned resort in Mactan. Today, Chris is the proud owner of a yakiniku restaurant located in J Centre Mall in Mandaue City.
It is called GueGue Yakiniku. The name is a play of two words: gue gue means to grill in Korean while yakiniku means grilled meat in Japanese. It opened in October of 2012.
“In South Korea, eat-all-you-can places are very popular, especially among university students,” says Chris. That reason is what essentially inspired him to start that kind of venture here in Cebu. Chris has gone a long way since his days when he could hardly communicate with the locals, as when he opened GueGue, he himself did the paperwork and logistics.
Chris shares that among the restaurant’s specialties are the seaweed soup, which he describes as a very health dish— it is good for blood circulation, and often taken in by pregnant and nursing women. Popular Korean noodles such as the spicy ramen, bibin kuksu and japchae are also available. Its prime food offering, though, is the eat-all-you-can set menus.
“I’ve noticed that Cebuanos spend more now,” Chris opines. He also believes that Cebuanos are now more open to trying out Korean dishes such as bibimbap and samgyeopsal, though there may be a little instruction needed on “how” to eat it.
The acculturation also works both ways, as Chris himself shares, he’s a fan of Filipino cuisine, particularly pochero, a favorite especially when he has a hangover.
“And it’s lami,” he expresses. FSE
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2013.