With nearly 100 locations in the U.S., and more than 300 internationally, fast casual Bonchon is dominating the Korean food market here and abroad. It’s doing so with its selection of Korean fried chicken, as well as traditional fare like bibimbap, japchae glass noodles, and bulgogi, and Asian fusion dishes like the new sushi-inspired salmon avocado ball and potstickers.
“We are seeing strong growth across the board with interest in Korean food,” says Hank Balle, Bonchon corporate chef. By offering both traditional and fusion elements on the menu, Balle says, the restaurant provides both the unique flavors of Korea while also appealing to wider American tastes.
“Korean flavors are a bit spicier than American fare. When you use gochujang, a fermented Korean pepper paste, and kimchi, a specially fermented cabbage, they really spark up a dish and make you want more,” says Clark Cerilles, general manager of Bonchon in Kapolei, Hawaii.
As Korean flavors become more mainstream, Bonchon is looking forward to adding more adventurous dishes and refining the recipes already on the menu.