By Han Sang-hee
Singer Kim Jang-hoon
said he will open a "bibimbap" restaurant this year and franchise it globally to help publicize the famous Korean dish.
"I realized how significant bibimbap is after researching and studying about the recipe", the 32-year-old singer told Yonhap News.
"Bibimbap may seem like a dish for ordinary people, but it's actually a spectacular dish where various vegetables and herbs are mixed together. My mother tells me to get bibimbap when there is nothing to eat outside. I'm planning to open a restaurant this spring to help globalize the dish with fun and interesting ideas".
There are a number of Korean restaurants abroad, but compared to their Japanese counterpart, they tend to lack sophistication.
Thus, the singer explained that he was concentrating on the interior and making the place look hip and urbane, with customers allowed to choose their own toppings.
"I have started to dream of opening a bibimbap franchise around the United States and Europe", he said.
The singer, however, will only offer his ideas and investment in the project, leaving experts to run them.
"I will not leave my position as a singer", he said.
His plan to open bibimbap restaurants came weeks after Kuroda Katsuhiro, the Seoul bureau chief of the Japanese right-leaning Sankei Shimbun, created controversy after using the expression "Yang Du Gu Yuk" to decry bibimbap. The expression has similar meaning to the English expression of "crying wine and selling vinegar".
Katsuhiro added in his column that "Bibimbap looks like food when it is put on the table first. But once the vegetables, the egg, rice and everything else is mixed with a spoon, it transforms into something unidentifiable".
His remarks drew criticism from among Internet users, and he later wrote that his remark was meant to be humorous.
Singer Kim Jang-hoon
plans to open a "bibimbap" restaurant this year and franchise it in other nations to help promote the Korean dish worldwide.
김장훈 비빔밥 식당 낸다
가수 김장훈 (32)이 비빔밥의 세계화를 위해 올해 비빔밥 전문점을 차린 뒤 세계로 프랜차이즈 하겠다고 나섰다.
김장훈은 연합뉴스와의 인터뷰에서 "비빔밥에 대해 연구하고 공부한 뒤 비빔밥이 얼마나 중요한지 깨달았다"면서 "이 음식이 보통사람들을 위한 음식인 것처럼 보이지만 사실은 각종 채소와 나물이 함께 들어가는 특별한 요리로 어머니가 밖에서 먹는 게 마땅치 않을 때는 비빔밥을 먹으라고 하셨다"고 말했다.
김장훈은 식당 인테리어에 많은 신경을 쓰면서 손님이 들어가는 나물을 선택할 수 있도록 할 것이라면서 "미국과 유럽에도 식당을 낼 생각"이라고 말했다.
그러나 김장훈은 단지 아이디어와 투자만 할 뿐 경영은 전문가에게 맡길 예정이고, 가수는 계속하게 된다.
김장훈은 "비빔밥을 '양두구육' 음식이라고 비판한 산케이신문 구로다 가쓰히로 서울지국장의 칼럼을 읽고 오히려 비빔밥의 세계화에 앞장설 생각을 갖게 됐다"고 전했다.