The outdoor terrace at K-Story is designed to make casual dining more appealing. Photo by MIRANDA GLASSER
Wat Bo residents wondering about the sleek, contemporary white and glass building that slowly emerged on Wat Bo Road over the last year can now satisfy their curiosity: this is K-Story, a new Korean restaurant with a twist.
Owner Jeon Deugyong, a Siem Reap resident for eight years, wants to cater for walk-in customers of all nationalities, as opposed to the Korean tour groups so courted by the large Korean restaurants on National Road Six.
Jeon, who has run travel agencies in both Seoul and Siem Reap, has been asked to have K-Story included on tour group itineraries but has been unequivocal in his response. “I don’t want,” he says emphatically. “Most of the Korean restaurants serve food to Koreans, like tour groups, so I decided to try to open a Korean restaurant for Cambodians. So that is why the concept is a little bit different, like a café or something like that.” Jeon hopes the central location and contemporary feel will make K-Story more accessible to Korean cuisine novices. He points out that it is the first Korean restaurant to open on the Wat Bo side of the river. “These days in Southeast Asia many people are interested in Korea, in the food, the music. When they want to try Korean food in Siem Reap, it can be difficult to find something good, ” he says.
“The atmosphere is a bit different, they don’t feel so comfortable.”
Unlike the “dark” look of many traditional Korean restaurants, Jeon says he has opted for a more western design. The airy eatery is all clean lines with large glass windows letting in plenty of light. The pretty terrace has a comfortable seating area with wooden decking, bright red umbrellas and palms dotted around.
Upstairs the air-conditioned first floor houses a traditional Korean dining area with floor seating strewn with red and blue cushions, as well as a section with tables plus a balcony. Customers can choose from the extensive food menu or simply have a coffee, juice or K-Story Juice, a mixture of fresh fruit juices.
Jeon expects the most popular dishes to be jokbal nengchae – pig’s trotters – or samgyupsal, Korean-style bacon. The meaty mains are between $10 and $15 but can be shared between three people, in Korean style. “When Koreans come to Southeast Asia they all really enjoy the pork. Compared to Korea it is much more delicious, better,” he says.
K-Story is open seven days a week, from 10am to 10pm.