Cheese fondue charcoal dakgalbi writes a new history in dakgabli franchise in South Korea: 75 Dakgalbi

신태섭 기자l승인2021.05.28l수정2021.05.28 15:31

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▲ 75 Dakgalbi / CEO Kim Jeong-sung

(PowerKorea) Koreans love of chicken is second to none. Chimaek - chicken + maekju (beer) – is not only popular in the nation but spread fast to the world thanks to K-pop and culture. Koreans have developed a variety of chicken-based menus and some of the frequently enjoyed are fried chicken as in chimaek, steamed chicken (baeksuk) and spicy stir fried chicken (dakgalbi). 

Dakgalbi is one of the most popular local cuisines in Chuncheon City, a 2 hour drive east from Seoul. This is the reason many dakgalbi restaurants nationwide are named Chuncheon dakgalbi or wonjo (original) Chuncheon dakgalbi for better appeal. As the competition to attract more dinners among the restaurants is high, some entrepreneurs find breakthroughs with fusion ideas; and 75 Dakgalbi is one of them. 

CEO Kim Jeong-sung brought up with this great idea to add cheese fondue to charcoal dakgalbi; and it hit the market. The flagship restaurant is located near Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong County, a 2 hour drive east from Seoul. The words about this ‘cheese fondue charcoal dakgalbi’ started to spread from mouth to mouth among the locals and it attracted a great number of gourmets from the whole nation after featuring on TV. Many similar restaurants hurried to introduce similar menus but as is often the case the original taste should better be tried at the very place.

The cheese on the spicy stir fried chicken gives a visual entertainment with its unique drooping when forked up and the agreeable spiciness and tenderly chewiness in the mouth is but an ultimate way to enjoy a fusion dakgalbi in South Korea. In fact, Kim’s cheese fondue charcoal dakgalbi is a prize winning menu at the Gapyeong Jat Show (jat is pine nuts in Korean). 

“Restaurant business probably is the most heated up industry among small business owners in South Korea. Many come and go within such a short period of time. Being left behind of rocket-fast changing trend of Korean diners means immediate out of business. This is the reason I brought up with the fusion idea as the traditional dakgalbi seemed to be losing attraction from young generations” says Kim Jeong-sung, CEO of 75 Dakgalbi.

Kim is strict on using quality ingredients as they directly affect the taste. Once taste is lost, the business loses its diners including the regulars. It is as clear as the sun rises from the east. For this reason, Kim has said no many times to suppliers offering ingredients cheaper than the partner suppliers because Kim knows cheaper prices means low quality ingredients or loosed handling of the ingredients. For the same reason, once make a partnership, Kim hardly changes it as mutual trust is already seen and proved.

Currently, Kim is running 4 of 75 Dakgalbi stores: three in Gapyeong and one in Seojong-myeon, Yangpyeong. Alongside this dakgalbi franchise, he is managing a cafe. 75 Cafe right next to 75 Dakgalbi offers coffee at 50% reduce price when presented a receipt of 75 Dakgalbi. You can expect a nice view of the surroundings and of course the taste of coffee and bread. 

Kim is a man of hard work and diligence. He started as a washer-upper and went through various positions in various restaurants afterwards before launching his own business. All those times, Kim never once has forgotten how hard it is to earn money and how valuable it is to build experience and knowhow. And this also is the reason he opens heart to part timers who have good attitude and not easily lose friendship. 

“I don’t believe in cock of the walk. At the end of the day, business is but cooperation as much as people-to-people relationship. I think trust is more important than who’s the toast of the town.”

As the saying goes “what you think, you become”, Kim has been engaged in volunteer activities for many years: he guided a tour of local elderlies in group of 30 to 40 before the pandemic and now is donating charcoal dakgalbi and side dishes to them instead. He plans to buy a truck to give out free makguksu (buckwheat noodles commonly enjoyed alongside dakgalbi) to elderlies.

PowerKorea is an official partner of Herald Corporation. The magazine is distributed to the KOTRA business centers in the world. PowerKorea publishes latest news of government, Samsung, Hyundai and LG and endeavors to serve a platform to engage with people around the world.


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