Member Spotlight: Taste of Korea

Taste of Korea

A lack of representation coupled with a viable gap in the market, created the perfect storm in which Dima could create Taste of Korea.

The contemporary street food truck has been slinging out Korean deliciousness since 2017, broadening the tastebuds of their local Nottingham and the nation alike. We sat down with Dima to find out more about Taste of Korea’s journey so far and what the future holds.

taste of korea burger

How did it all begin?

I’ve worked in lots of different restaurants, including Korean restaurants which were always my favourite. I’m of Korean heritage and I grew up eating this food and I wanted to introduce Korean food to the community of Nottingham.

What is something you wish more people knew about Korean food?

It’s really healthy food and there is a lot of variety. It’s not just one type, you can eat so many different things.

You wanted to share Korean food with Nottingham, did you feel that there wasn’t much representation prior to that point?

No there wasn’t much choice. I was the Head Chef of the first Korean restaurant in Nottingham back in the day. On the street food circuit, people did cook some kind of Korean food but it wasn’t legit, it was not fully Korean. So I came up with the plan and an authentic menu to show contemporary Korean street food because food evolves but it was important to me to stick to the authenticity of the food. I don’t want to ruin the food. Doing fresh food all the time is important to me and I enjoy that.

You mentioned that you were Head Chef at a Korean restaurant. Taste of Korea is currently mobile, is there a bricks and mortar premises in your future?

I’m still looking for a premises actually but I enjoy my street food. I get to meet a lot of new people and I get to choose my working days.

How adventurous would you say people are when it comes to trying Korean food?

Korean food is trendy nowadays and people like to try new things. It’s something that people encourage other people to try as well. They get the information first and then their curiosity means they are willing to try new things. People usually come and ask a lot of questions about Korean food before they buy. I give them as much information as I can and offer them some samples, then once they try it they love Korean food!

Korean food is definitely much more popular than it was in the early noughties. I can’t speak to its authenticity, but it’s definitely continued to grow in popularity.

Yeah around 10 years ago it wasn’t really popular. Then about seven years ago a food critic wrote about Korean kimchi and it became the number one diet food! Probiotic food is really good for your stomach and that’s a big part of why the fame of Korean food started to grow in England.

You started your business in 2017 which was around the same time as this growth in popularity. Is that what encouraged you to start your business?

Yes, but also there was no Korean street food. It made me think that there was potential there for Korean street food. Of course there were a few restaurants in London but there was only the one in Nottingham back in the day.

taste of korea loaded fries

You mentioned that you were looking for a premises, is that for a Taste of Korea restaurant in the future?

Yeah in the future I’d like to open a proper Korean BBQ restaurant but street food style. Somewhere people can come and enjoy themselves with their whole family and stuff like that. Street food style is getting really trendy now because people can choose different food and stuff. I’d like to open a Korean BBQ with a  good variety, you know vegan, vegetarian, barbecue and soups.

What’s your favourite type of event to cater?

I have a lot of contracts  with local village pubs so I’m introducing Korean food to those local areas. I’ve got a lot of really good feedback from those, I work with around 5-6 village pubs and they really enjoy our food so they keep inviting us to come back!

What Korean dish do you recommend people try to get a good example of Korean cuisine?

For vegans and/or vegetarians I would recommend our bibimbap which is a bowl of warm rice topped with different seasoned vegetables. For meat eaters I would recommend they try our spicy or teriyaki crispy fried yum yum chicken. They both represent good Korean street food and when it comes yum yum chicken it’s very popular in the USA and England.

I’ve got to ask then, what is your favourite Korean dish?

My favourite dish would have to be Korean noodles with kimchi.

Finally, if you could go back in time what advice would you give your younger self?

Start small. When you come up with the business plan you come up with a lot of different concepts but when you start you don’t have any systems in place. Start small, learn how to develop a system, how to cook, how to prep and everything and then go forwards.

Follow Taste of Korea’s journey on Instagram here and find more Member Spotlights here.

Want our latest content?

Subscribe to our mailing list and get weekly insights, resources and articles for free

Get the emails