When you think of Korean cuisine, spicy chicken wings, KBBQ, and kimchi comes to mind.
Contrary to common belief though, the Korean diet is not predominantly meat-based.
In fact, it’s the opposite, according to Peter Park.
“Typically more than 60% of the Korean diet is plant based,” he said.
“It is, by nature, one of the healthiest diets in the world with a focus on lightly cooked vegetables with minimal seasoning or naturally preserved plant foods in the form of kimchi.
With this in mind and a long-standing wish from his wife, Michelle, to start a food business, they started Chan Good Food.
Getting The Ball Rolling
Launched in August this year, the business aims to focus more on the healthy aspects of Korean food, combined with convenience.
In line with their goal, Chan Good Food sells a variety of side dishes (ban chan) in 200g packets for RM10.50 each.
They also sell bibimbap (mixed rice) or japchae (Korean glass noodles) in a cup for RM8.50.
The products are sold online and in Kiara Mart, a Korean convenience store in Mont Kiara.
When I first learnt this, I was doubtful of their business strategy, particularly because of the location they chose to market their products in.
Mont Kiara is already packed with Korean restaurants. All littered at least several hundred metres apart from each other.
Anywhere you go, you would come across restaurants serving hot food with free refills for ban chan.
Peter is aware of this and said that launching in K-town was part of the business’ initial strategy.
Supplying Korean ban chan to the dense Korean community in Mont Kiara was mainly to generate quick sales growth.
It wasn’t meant to be a long-term strategy.
“We have, from the outset, tried to avoid directly competing with Korean restaurant businesses,” he said.
“We hope to deliver a different Korean food experience, focused more on health and convenience.”
The brand has been operating from the cloud kitchen Cookhouse, with plans to branch out to more satellite kitchens in KL to expand their reach.
“The focus now is to delve more into the general Malaysian market and we believe the strongest target demographic for our cup meal products is in this area,” he shared.
A Different Korean Food Experience
“The visual appeal of the colourful side dishes and the experiential aspect of having your meal cooked right in front of you are integral to the Korean food experience,” said Peter.
For their cup meals, the team wanted a form of packaging that was convenient for takeaways and easy for consumption.
This is in addition to maintaining the traditional colourful presentation of Korean food.
Hence, using a transparent cup for its packaging.
Because it’s in a cup, one can just hold it without needing to put it down on a table while having their meal.
And if you’re eating at your office desk, the cup will take up very little space too.
“What sandwiches are for the Western lunch food culture, these cup meals are for Asian ones,” he said.
There’s an old tradition where schoolkids would shake their lunch boxes (dosirak) to mix everything inside.
To add to the experiential factor, the team thought that shaking the cup to mix its contents would be a fun concept to bring to their customers.
Apart from KBBQ, bibimbap and japchae comprise of the more popular Korean dishes Malaysians are already familiar with.
That’s why these are currently the only 2 options for the cup meals, at least for now.
“It won’t replace a full meal experience at a Korean restaurant, nor was it meant to,” he said.
No Plans To Open A Restaurant
As mentioned previously, the team has no plans for Chan Good Food to go against restaurant businesses.
Neither do they plan for it to become a restaurant.
“We believe the meal delivery business will evolve to eventually be an independent sector rather than just an extension of the restaurant business,” said Peter.
Our focus is on delivering high-quality Korean food experience right to your doorstep at accessible prices. We want to apply advanced Korean food packaging technologies designed to deliver that experience.Peter Park, co-founder of Chan Good Food
Featured Image Credit: Peter Park, co-founder of Chan Good Food