COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Sharing a meal is one way to share cultures with people from different backgrounds.
And with the emergence of Korean pop music and Korean dramas in America, more people are taking interest in Korean culture. One Korean American in Columbia is contributing to the cultural exchange through his love of cooking.
Kwang “Kory” Yoo owns two Asian restaurants in Columbia, I am Sushi and Grill and Geisha Sushi Bar. Yoo has been a business owner in Columbia for 14 years. He said one of his favorite parts of owning a restaurant is seeing regulars come back, and people try new food.
“More people are interested in Korean things, and I know how to cook Korean food,” Yoo said, about one of the reasons he opened a restaurant in Columbia.
Yoo’s love for cooking started when he moved to America. It was 1998, and Yoo was 17 years old when his family moved to Michigan. Yoo said there wasn’t a very big Asian community but through food, he was able to make friends.
“I invited my friend to my house and I gave him my food. Then we showed him my culture, and I also learned the culture,” he said.
While adjusting to life in America would be a challenge, Yoo said he found something he was good at and turned it into a career after helping a friend in St. Louis.
“I was like ‘wow, this is cool, I think I can do it myself too,'” he said. “Then I started looking at locations.”
Yoo, like other restaurant owners, said he’s struggling with staffing issues and high food prices but even in the hard times, he’s proud of where he’s come.
“Whoever is Asian American living here, I’m really proud of them. Everyone. They’ve made it to live here, to learn more language and learn more cultures,” Yoo said.