By P.C. Staff
Three Korean American friends, who grew up in Southern California and Texas but now make their home in South Korea, have started a new food revolution in Seoul known as “Ko-Mex.”
Sid Kim, Jonathan Juweon Kim and Kenny Park run the Vatos Urban Tacos restaurant in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The three friends have ushered in the “Ko-Mex” revolution, which blends traditional Korean favorites such as kimchi and pork belly with Mexican staples such as jalapenos and pork carnitas.
Since its opening in 2011, the popular restaurant has attracted the likes of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert and top model Tyra Banks.
Sid Kim spoke of the honor of having Kerry in his restaurant, who gave it a rave review. “I was very surprised and honored when the ambassador (Mark Lippert) recommended our restaurant to Secretary of State Kerry. Although we feel like we are doing well in Korea, it’s still great when people from the States come to our restaurant and give it a thumbs up,” he said.
Stopped by @VatosKorea in #Itaewon to grab lunch with @mwlippert & our staffs in between mtgs. pic.twitter.com/KTIyUDClgh
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) May 18, 2015
With the restaurant’s newfound success in South Korea, the owners’ eventual hope is to now expand overseas in the U.S. (A location in Singapore opens this month.)
“My ultimate goal is to bring Vatos to the U.S.,” said Sid Kim. “I have done a lot of research and visited many places, but I could not find anything quite like Vatos. We’ve sort of brought Ko-Mex in the modern age and made it hip and fun.”