Korean Food : Korea Best Pizza Franchise, Mr. Pizza


Yesterday, I was on the way to meet my friends in the evening.

I was starving to death, since I unintentionally skipped breakfast and lunch. I felt a great carb-craving. I could eat even a plate if it lay in front of me. Nearly bearing my hunger, I arrived at the Mr.pizza, the meeting point. I got there at 7 sharp, because I didn’t want any delay for dinner. But regardless of my wish, my friends as usual were late. I told my friends that I would sit and order pizza before they coming. I took a seat and ordered a potato pizza, salad and drinks. About 2 minutes later, my friends arrived. Presently, a salad bowl arrived simultaneously.


A salad bowl. ‘Here we go with our empty bowl and stomach.’ I rushed to the salad bar, and dug up sweet potato salad and squash salad. Then white pasta and chilli pasta were put beside the lump of salad. On the top were corns decorating with yellow. The first mountainous bowl was perfectly satisfying. My friends began to eat and I devour.

mrpizzamrpizzaThe second round.

I jumped into the yogurt bar. I fill the tiny yogurt bowl with a teaspoon of cereals, resins, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Then I topped with a scoop of yogurt on it.  Some people eat yogurt for their dessert, but for me it was a main dish. I also swallow cereal-mixed yogurt at once. Delightful.

mrpizzamrpizzaMain dish

The pizza was served. No sooner it came than my buddies scurried the salad bar to bring garlic dipping sauce and pickled cucumber. my friend distributed each piece onto our personal dishes. I cut a pizza into several fragments so that I could eat a bite-size one. While eating, we refilled the salad bowl twice more. And we finished the whole pizza within 15 minutes. I was so full that I could feel food stuck up to my throat.


More salad time. Although we finished up eating pizza, it didn’t mean the end of our meal. The finale is dessert at the salad bar. I stood up and stomped to the bar and brought the bowl with few leeches, kiwis, oranges and a few cubes of jelly on one hand and another yogurt bowl on the other.


We always eat like that when we are together.

After finishing all of them, I felt content with self-arranged 3 course meal. I wrote this without exaggeration. They summed up to a large size pizza, 4 salad bowls, 8 yogurt bowls, and uncountably refilled soft drink. We gulped like a horse as if we were food fighters.

I can tell that we always eat like that at any pizza restaurant when we are together. Honestly, I time to time feel ashamed for our appetite and sorry for owners of the restaurants. But we don’t eat like that when we are with other people, not with us. We with others eat less. And it offsets the amount that we have together, I think, I believe, and I hope.

Alright, I admit.
I am sorry, Mr. pizza.    

I will control my appetite next time.

Mr. Pizza

Mr. Pizza is a South Korean pizza chain established in 1990. It is based in Banpo-Dong, Seocho-Gu
, Seoul. After establishing a franchise in Ewha Women's University, Mr. Pizza opened a store in Beijing, China in 2000. It targeted young women customers and improved the salad bar with low calorie and low fat food and added yogurt bar. It also creat 'a woman's day' providing a huge discount to female customers. And it became the most popular pizza brand, outdoing pizza hut and domino pizza in Korea.

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A Restaurant : Hagawon Sujebi Kongguksu : Franchise in Korea


Hagawon Sujebi & Kongguksu★★☆
하가원 수제비 콩국수

Food : ★★★ Fantastic
Atmosphere: ★★☆ Enjoyable
Service : ★☆☆ Fair

Korean Food / Casual Dining

The menu in Hagawon is real simple. It only has 3 main dishes including Sujebi, Kongguksu, Dolsotbibimbab. The names of dishes might not get to you close. They are not well-known worldwide, but very popular in Korea. Genuine Korean food. Hagawon just focused on these few items and got fame on its savory tastes. Its food flavors stay harmonized, not fluctuating with over seasoning. It serves considerably delicate food with reasonable prices.

Entering the restaurant, I see the very Korean style tables on the floor. They don’t have any western table with chairs. It should feel uncomfortable for foreigners not accustomed to sitting legs cross-folded. You’d better get used to it soon. The entire atmosphere must be okay if you are not that disagreeable to new culture. 

I feel obliged to order as soon as I sit around the table. The staff just comes to take it. More embarrassingly, They don't have English menu. But, fortunately, I don’t have few options of menu with Sujebi, Bibimbab, and Kongguksu. It does not take so long to choose one.

While waiting, I cut Radish Kimchi with scissors aside. You might feel awkward cutting food particularly with scissors on the dining table. It’s not that weird in Korea to use scissors at the table. You should enjoy sniping it chattering with your friends. New experience. Later on, Bibimbab I ordered is served by the cart. 

Bibimbab looks awesome. Steamed white rice at the center, and various colorful vegetables lay around. Putting hot pepper paste(Gochujang) is my duty. I can add proper amount of it as your own. I top it on the rice centered. It looks greater with red circle on it. Then, I start mixing them altogether. The sauce tints all ingredients mouth-watering red.

The taste of Hagawon bibimbab is indescribable. All different and characteristic ingredients are harmonized. Flavor not extinguished by mixing. They all alive stay all together distinctively. A sort of orchestra, too much fact puffing?

Be Aware! The amount of pepper paste(Gochujang) is a significant factor that influence the whole dish. Be careful not to put too much. Add it little by little tasting through it.

For Foreign Foodies 

Must Eat Menu & Very Korean Menu :   Soup with flour dumplings (수제비)
                                                        Cold bean soup noodle (콩국수)
                                                        Bibimbab cooked in stone pot (돌솥비빔밥)

Spiciness :  Bibimbab cooked in stone pot : ◆◆◇◇◇(A little Spicy)
                 Rest of menu : ◇◇◇◇◇ (Not at all),
English : ◇◇◇ (No English)

Menu : Soup with flour dumplings 수제비/Sujebi/(5,000won), Cold bean soup noodle콩국수/Kong Guksu/ (5,500won), Bibimbab cooked in stone pot 돌솥비빔밥/Dol-sot-bibimbab/(5,500won), Grilled pork cube 석쇠떡갈비/Seok-se-ddeok-galbi/( 10,000won), Korean seafood pancake 해물파전/Hae-mul-pajeon/ (10,000won), Adding noodle(1,000won), Rice bowl(1,000won), Soft drink(1,000won)

Main shop

Opens : 09:00~23:00
Location : At Jangsan Station gate 10
Phone : 051-702-5511
Address : 891, jwadong, Hawundaegu, Busan
Budget : around 5,500won
Homepage : www.hagawon.co.kr (not available now)
Branch visited : Sajik, Busan

<Restaurant exterior and interior>






Map :Main shop : Haewundae

크게 보기

Map : Sajikdong(at Sports complex station, line 3, Busan)

크게 보기





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A Cafe : Coffee and Donuts, Dunkin donuts : Franchise in Korea


던킨 도너츠

Food : ★★☆ Delicious
Atmosphere: ★★☆ Enjoyable
Service : ★★☆ Attached

Donut Cafe / Fast Food Cafe

BR Korea, a huge food service corporation in Korea, was associated with Dunkin international to launch Dunkin donuts in Korea in 1993. It opened the first store at Itaewon in 1994, continued opening and reached to 635 stores in 2009. It leads the donut market competing with crispy donut and Mr.Donut, but it remain dominant empowered by its sturdy chain system of the BR group. It promotes ‘premium fresh donuts’ emphasizing use of sunflower seed oil after the trans-fat issue standing as the leader of the market.

 “First of all, Dunkin donuts stores are highly accessible, since it has about 700 stores in Korea. I come by here every now and then, when I feel like going to cafe. I feel assured to its standardized and trustful tastes and services. It always shows new products every season, and I cannot wait new ones. This year cutely tree shaped donuts for Christmas also delight me. Furthermore, it carries high quality coffee that suits for its donuts, and it betters the donut taste. "

" However, it’s been more than 15 years since it appeared in Korea, it pursues kinda stubborn brand design for several years. I think it needs changing of the interior and exterior of the store to catch up with ceaselessly changing trend. "

For Foreign Foodies 

Must Eat Menu
: Boston cream / Strawberry filled / Honey Fritter

Very Korean Menu

   Chestnut&redbean filled donut                           Redbean paste filled rice-donut



Spiciness(Donut) : ◇◇◇◇◇(Not at all)
English : ◆◆◇(Menu written in English)

Menu :
Munchkins(250won), Filled donut(1100~1500won), Ring Donut(1000~1300won), Americano(3000won), Black Original(1900won)

Opens : 8:00~23:00 (It depends on the store ±1hour)
location : at Itaewon, gate 3, next to the starbucks
phone : 02-795-7413  /address : 127-2, Iteawon 1dong, Yongsangu, Seoul
Budget : around 5000 won( 1 drink + 1 donut )
homepage : http://www.dunkindonuts.co.kr/
Branch visited :(around 700stores) Sajik, Busan

<Restaurant exterior and interior>


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A Cafe : New Coffee Menu, Tom N Toms : Franchise in Korea


탐 앤 탐스

Food : ★★☆ Delicious (Rather differentiated)
Atmosphere:★★☆ Enjoyable
Service : ★★☆  Touched

Coffee & Pretzel / Franchise Cafe

TONMNTOMS COFFEE is a professional coffee franchise brand. It strives to satisfy customers with the rich taste and aroma of high quality coffee extracted through its own roasting technology, offering pretzels baked right in the shop, good people and a comfortable atmosphere. TOMSNTOMS COFFEE is a global coffee business in the Uninted States, Australia, China, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Tomntoms is a cafe. Walking along the street, I suddenly feel like sipping a cup of coffee. I look around and there is a cafe. Its deep walnut color exterior and logo get along with the surroundings. Even inside the cafe, you feel cozy with the color mixture of deep brown, warm ivory, dark green, and glowing lights. Its feeling is the same with that of its round logo. On the wall, illustrations catch my eyes. Listening flowing jazz and the bean-grounding buzzing sound invigorate the mood of the cafe.

Tomntoms offers a number of varieties of food and beverages. On the menu, the unfamiliar beverage names are laid, and makes me curious about them. They seem to change Frappuccino to TomNccino. Its creativeness interests me as well. Not only the name they challenged, but also the new taste they created. Such as Pecan pralines, Walnutccino, Blackberry(and Rasberry) Italian Soda, and so on. They provide new cafe snack, Pretzel, that no cafe ever tried. They even diversified the pretzel dishes adding flavors and garnishes. Its novelty excites me bored of the unified menu in cafes.

In terms of atmosphere, the design of stores is rather too ordinary, so I defined, at the first, Tomntoms as ‘a cafe’. It positively works as a comfortable and attaching feeling to customers, but negatively no impression to them. The emphasizing symbol should be invented to strengthen its character.

On the menu, I hardly find the Korean menu. It, as a Korean orginated cafe, should have provided korean style menu.
According to the homepage, it exports to other countries including USA, Australia, Singapore, and Thailand. I don't know if they offer korean menu there. I just highly recommend developing Korean products. I ascertain that for Tomntoms to become a leading company based on Korea, it should perform social responsibilities introducing Korean food and culture and exporting Korean materials.

For Foreign Foodies 

Must Eat Menu
:  GreenMint Mocha(or Choco) TomNccino,

                          Vanila TomNccino,
                          Hot Chocolate, Chai Latte,
Very Korean Menu : Sweet Potato Latte, Crysanthemum Tea

Spiciness : ◇◇◇◇◇ (Not at all)
English : ◆◆◇ (Menu written in English)

Menu : Americano(3,600won), Cappuccino(3,900won), Cafe Latte(3,900won), Vanilla Latte(4,300won), Premium yogurt smoothie(5,300won), Premium smoothie(4,800won)TomNccino(5,800won)

Main Shop

Opens :
24hour open

Location : Sinsa, Seoul
Phone : 02-542-5517
Address : Hanyang town 1st floor, 665-1, Sinsadong, Gangnam gu, Seoul
Budget : around 5,000won (1drink)
Homepage : http://www.tomntoms.com/

Branch visited : Sajik, Busan

<Restaurant exterior and interior>


Map: sinsa main shop

크게 보기

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A Cafe : Coffee and Angels, Angelinus Coffee : franchise by Lotte




Coffee / Franchise Cafe

Have you heard of ‘The Gift of God’, it is another name of coffee that wamr our body and spirit. Angel-in-us is the place angels give presents to people. They can feel the coziness and happiness in this heavenly cafe. As the franchise cafe branched from Korean leading food company, Lotte, it possess its chain system and knowhow. It uses the high quality arabica coffee bean in the partnership with Java-trading and Distance corps.

“I am so fond of three angel characters and its products such as mugs and tumblers.”“It has high accessability of more than 500 branches. I can just easily come by and get a sip.”“I can get discount with Lotte card, another perk.”“Here it has more sofas than chairs, and I sit more time, more comfortable.” 

For Foreign Foodies 

Must Eat Menu : Caramel Cafemocha, Caramel Cafemocha Frappe, Real Dark Choco 58%
Very Korean Menu : Hongsi Smoothie(persimmon), Green tea latte
Spiciness : Spiciness : ◇◇◇◇◇ (Not at all)
English : ◆◆◇(Menu written in English) 
                                                                         <Hongsi Smoothie>

Menu : Americano(S:3,600won/R:4,100won), Cappuccino, Cafe Latte(S:4,100won/R4,600won), Caramel Macchiato(S:5,100won/R:5,600won), Tea(4,000won), Muffin(2,500won), Plain waffle(6,000won), Sandwich(3,800won~6,500won)

Opens : 07:00~23:00
Location : At Seoul station, gate 1
Phone : 02-365-0890             
Address : 43-205, Dongjadong, Yongsangu, Seoul
Budget : less than 10,000won (coffee+sandwich)
Homepage : http://www.angelius.co.kr

Branch : Geoje, Busan(051-507-0962)

<Restaurant exterior and interior>




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Korean Bread : The History of Korean Bread

The first introduction of bread is guessed as 1885 by a missionary named underwood and 아펜젤러. Later, the entrance of the Japanese bakeries stimulates the spread of bread in Korea. The famous old-fashioned bread 옛날빵 such as red-bean bread 단팥빵, fresh cream bread 크림빵, strewed bread 소보루 빵was introduced from Japan.


                               < red-bean bread >

After Korean War, having food aid with huge amount of flour from USA, there appear numerous bakeries in Korea, but bread was considered as high class food only for the rich, Around 60’s thanks to flour aid from USA, the government encouraged the use of flour based food. Schools distributed corn bread and milk for free and bread has been recognized to publics.


 < After Korean War,
 Flour food aid from USA >

 At the end of 1960, the mass produced bread appeared, and factories started to make bread in large quantity. People consumed huge amount of mass produced bread during 1970 to 1980.

                            <Mass producued bread in the factory>

Especially during 70’s to 80’s, the mass produced bread and bakery bread co-existed. It is the time apprentice system prevailed and becoming an artisan is the pride.

From the end of 70’s, as the size of bakeries became larger, they began to have the franchise system owning few franchisees. Later in 80’s, Sinra-myunggwa 신라명과, Shany 샤니, Crown Bakery 크라운 베이커리 has joined the franchise market. Since 80’s, customers tended to prefer bakery bread to mass-produced bread due to new tastes on bread quality and freshness based on economic development. This tendency has accelerated; as a result the market share of bakery became twice as much as that of mass-production.

Later on 2000, it is characterized with the rapid development of the franchise bakery and diversification of bread. The Bakery market divided into the franchise bakery such as branded ‘Paris Baguette’ or ‘Tous les Jours’ and the window bakery (self-owned) that individual owns. Until the middle of 2000, the number of window bakeries is four times as many as franchise ones, but nowadays, in 2009, the numbers became almost the same (window approximately 4400, franchise approx. 4300). However the sales of the franchise are twice as big as one of window. It means that the franchise has higher efficiency and better margin.
There are other new types of bakeries such as ‘in-store bakery’, ‘organic bakery’ and ‘quality bakery’.

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Korean Bread : Kingdom of Franchise bakery. Paris baguette, Tour les Jours.


10 years ago,

There were many ‘town bakeries’ around my elementary school. On the way home, I used to drop by different bakeries on each different day. Although the interior and decoration were not that splendid, haha, frankly speaking, rather old-fashioned, there oozed something warm. The owner baked the bread from early in the morning and prepared to sell them. They tried to make the best taste bread with the effort. They were not only owners but also earnest bakers. And they were kind sellers who remembered me and who were happy with the compliments about tastes. Sometimes, they do gave perks to their regular customers.
Korean’s affection 정 lived in it.


The town bakeries were different from store to store. Some town bakeries have a particular kind of bread, but others do not. Some town bakeries’ owners are an old, plump man, others a young lady, an old grandpa, grandma and so on. The tastes of bread were not guaranteed, so some bread were not delicious.  Of course, some bakeries have the worse sanitation compared to franchise one. Differences were not all good things, but bad as well. But people always miss something that they cannot get. In that way, I yearn for that difference.


 If I describe my feeling of self-own bakeries,
 This picture is. the diversity.


When you walk on the street of Korea, you can easily find the bakeries in Korea Although the main dish of Korea is rice, we do eat bread quite aften anytime in Korea. But you might think that there are just few kinds of the bakeries in Korea, Paris baguette, Tour les Jours. If you come from the countries that eat bread every meal, you should have noticed as soon as you arrived in here. Since one of fourth of Korean bakeires are run by these two franchise companies.


 < paris baguette in Seoul >

It is obvious that the number of self-owned bakeries is

decreasing, while the franchise bakeries increasing. According to the statistics on the newpaper, self-owned bakeries have diminished from 17,000 to 5000. The number of franchise has recorded 3,000 and number two, Tous les Jours almost 1500.

<The number of the franchise bakeries>
   focused on two majors

파리바게뜨 : Paris baguette
뚜레쥬르 :  Tous les Jours

<The number of self owned bakeris>

Reference : Korean newspaper,Segeilbo

Let's ask about the biggest franchise bakery, Paris baguette to Mr. Wiki.

Paris Baguette

Paris Baguette is a division of SPC Group, an international food and food services company based in Korea. Paris Baguette ranks as the top brand-based on brand recognition and brand power- in the highly competitive Korean Bakery market. Paris Baguette presently supplies fresh bakery products to customers through 2,900 stores in Korea, and 50 stores in China. Paris Baguette currently operates 15 stores throughout the United States, in California, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, There are 7 more stores that are planned to be opened by the end of 2012.The brand’s management philosophy focuses on educating its employees with offering the highest quality products with only the freshest ingredients and the best customer service.

 I found the introduction of Tous les Jours on its webpage.

Tous les Jours : European style Healthy bakery

Tous les Jours means every day in French, providing true taste of the fresh bread baked in the branch for the first time in Korea, and makes natural ingredient to bake bread and cake that are fresh every day,

Tous les Jours began from CJ cheiljedang with tremendous history as affiliated brand of CJ Foodville that has been producing flour since 1958 with its own skills, showing its pride of authentic bakery


When I enter the franchise bakeries, I can see young staff serving me with a huge smile, well-designed interior made by professionals, fine bread arrangement, good sanitary system, and trustful bread quality. All of them I love.

If I describe the feeling of franchise bakeries,
This picture is. the standard. 

But instead of trained smile, I miss my old neighbor. Instead good looking store, I want to owner’s interior sense. Instead of high-standard bread, I want to try bomb tasted bread, maybe one of owner’s experimental results.

I hope someday there will be more various colors of bakeries with baker’s warm smile on the street.


 How come  franchise bakeries dominate the market?

The primary reason is the principle of free-markets and the lack of craftsmanship in bakery business.

First of all, as industrialized, the products got mass-produced to reach high productivity and efficiency. The entrepreneur emphasized on rather the profits than the quality. It leads to the mass-produced bread. Later that, the market desired fresh bread made from the store. It seems the business flow changes to fresh bread. There appear diverse self-own bakeries on the street. We usually call it ’town bakery’
동네빵집 in Korean.

However, the advent of the franchise system, people began to be accustomed to standard products that always provide average quality, different from self-owned bakeries that do not guarantee the taste. It can be said ‘McDonald advantage’ with the advantage of franchise system, those bakeries have widely spread throughout the nation. The systemized stores easily followed the trend of the market, so attracted more customers and generate more profits through the organized management system.

 <principle of free market>

The owners of small bakeries transferred to franchcise ones since they became inclined to simple operation and warranted earnings. Through this way, these ‘big dinosaurs’ massacred ‘small town bakeries’ with the economy of scale. As a result, in Korea, almost half of bakeries are franchised by companies. Furthermore half of these franchised bakeries are run by two carnivore dinosaurs, Paris Baguette and Tous les Jours, offering standard and common taste to customers.

Secondly, No or less craftsmanship. There is a saying in Korea that ‘If you have nothing left to do, you own a restaurant.” As you can vaguely feel, it covers the neglecting perspective for workers in food field. Although the chef’s status has much leveled up compared to 50 years before, this notion still lies in Korean.

After people retire, they still want to work but nowhere to work, so they start up bakery business. Based on that notion above, considering their own business, they first come up with restaurant business, but they got depressed by the budget issues. Fortunately, compared to the restaurant, the bakery opens with small budget. It dragged retired workers to the bakery business.

          So Different works, Aren't they?

Here, the critical issue occurs because of the owner’s mind, rephrasing, the lack of craftsmanship. Most of bakery owners are not bakers or they do not even know what the yeast is. Of course, they might get trained in skills and know-how by headquarter training centers, but they might not have mind-set. The primary purpose of running the bakery is earning, not selling good bread. For them, the bakery is their job, not their vocation. They get satisfied if they get profits through the business and do not think about the quality, taste and do not study bread.

Is it really the development of Bread industry?

Since 1960, the bread market has expands, so the bread industry has got bigger. However, I do not dare to say that the bread quality improved. Under the governance of two major bread companies, the bread become standardized and normalized since they study the common taste for general customers. There is no experimental bread that had existed in the ‘town bakery’ that just targeted a few customers in the neighborhood. No diversity. That is exact word that describes Korean bread market.

Few days ago, Paris Baguette announced that the number of franchisee store exceeded over 3000. They do reluctantly publicize that fact, since they assumed that the citizen will not be happy with that. It means customers also become aware of the monopoly of Paris baguette that leads to restrain of customer choices.

As the situation worsens, people began to wriggle. Some, who study in France and Japan and study real French or Japanese baking skills, open their signature bakeries. They aim to be noble bakery and tend to put high price on bread, but have diverse varieties of bread and good taste.

I think the market trend always changes interacting societal changes. The monopoly of bread market in the current market is not that welcoming. But, One day, consumers must pursuit another values on bakeries and it will affect the bakery industry.  It means that it is also one stage to transform to the more diversified and professionalized bakery. Just personally, I hope the change comes very soon because I am quite fed up with common bread.


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