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Meet the Sisters Behind LA’s Korean Hangari House

Similar to hundreds of thousands of People within the midst and wake of the worldwide pandemic, Los Angeles-based sisters Sally and Sarah We discovered themselves rethinking the place their careers have been headed. Sally, then a trend retail retailer supervisor, and Sarah, employed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Middle, each figured it was pretty much as good a time as any to vary course and finally to deliver work nearer to residence. In July 2022, the duo created Hangari Home: a meals enterprise impressed by their mom’s cooking that “elevates in style Korean avenue meals however retains genuine Korean flavors and recipes,” Sally says.

Although the sisters didn’t have skilled culinary coaching, they have been certain that their mom’s recipes had the particular sauce—each actually and figuratively—to maintain a profitable enterprise. “Our mother labored laborious as an immigrant to present us ‘the American dream,’ and we needed to do one thing for her,” Sally shares. “We grew up with good Korean meals: genuine recipes she introduced from her mother and sisters in Busan, South Korea.”

Sarah provides that the chance to share wealthy and scrumptious flavors—all of the whereas honoring their household and cultural legacies—was a no brainer so far as the chance of beginning a small enterprise was involved. “We have been blessed with bundles of plant-based meals since our mother needed to create wholesome dishes for us,” she explains. “She loves cooking, is nice at something she tries to make, and simply has that detailed contact.”

Keen about nature and animals, Sally all the time appreciated that their mother’s cooking was primarily vegan. (Regardless of the abundance of greens within the conventional Korean dietary sample, veganism isn’t widespread within the tradition’s delicacies at massive. The truth is, she says their mom was unfamiliar with the phrases “vegan” and “plant-based” when she introduced them to her consideration.) Korean delicacies is probably finest recognized worldwide largely for 2 staples: Korean barbecue and kimchi, the latter of which generally contains animal merchandise regardless of its fame as a probiotic-packed, veggie-forward staple.

“Most Korean kimchi recipes name for jeotgal [salted seafood], which may range from shrimp to anchovies,” Sarah explains. But nobody of their household favors the style of seafood or fish sauce, so their mom’s personal kimchi recipe has all the time skipped jeotgal in favor of a secret mix of plant-based dupes. “This recipe is one thing she grew up studying,” she continues. “And the artwork type of fermenting is a talent,” to not point out a core part of kimjang tradition (the normal ritual of creating and sharing kimchi). Tying again to their roots, the sisters add that the phrase hangari itself refers to a Korean earthenware vessel used to ferment kimchi.

Whereas their preliminary plan was to deal with kimchi just for wholesale distribution, their enterprise organically expanded to incorporate different vegan household recipes. The duo travels round LA every day, organising store at farmers markets, meals festivals, and different pop-ups. Sally notes that the broader curiosity in Korean meals has come a good distance since her childhood. She remembers the puzzled glances her classmates gave upon her boxed lunch of kimchi and different Korean fare. Now, she takes pleasure in the truth that individuals are actively looking for genuine Korean flavors—and that Hangari Home offers them in spades.

It’s no shock that kimchi takes a starring position of their hottest dishes, which embrace kimchi fried rice with bulgogi-style (skinny and marinated) Past Meat, kimchi pizza (modeled on jeon, a Korean pancake, however with a crispier texture to imitate pizza crust), and bibimbap (combined rice bowls with assorted banchan, aka facet dishes). Hangari Home rotates the banchan on provide—akin to garlic eggplant, shishito peppers, and braised tofu—on a seasonal foundation, that are additionally obtainable to buy à la carte. Nonetheless, their unique napa cabbage kimchi stays a hard and fast staple yr spherical because of an in depth fermenting course of, which the sisters are nonetheless making an attempt to excellent.

“Via fermenting, now we have been creating banchan round native elements. That has been the [most] difficult half, however one we’re probably the most pleased with sharing,” Sally explains. On this level, Sarah remembers a troublesome second through which they miscalculated yields for a big batch of kimchi, which they needed to toss out. “It was heartbreaking, as each greenback issues,” she says. Nonetheless, she was capable of snort it off along with her household by her facet.

On the heels of their one-year anniversary in July 2023, Sally acknowledges how far they’ve are available in a brief period of time. She remembers the primary market they labored, for which they overestimated how a lot meals to deliver and exhausted themselves by unloading and reloading the objects, on prime of the lingering uncertainty of how their new enterprise would pan out. Nonetheless, leaning on and having religion in one another—and their mom’s recipes, after all—stored their spirits excessive. “I do know it sounds cliché, however each second was rewarding [by being] collectively,” Sally shares. “It grew to become clear that we have been going to present it our all and have enjoyable constructing this firm.”

“I do know it sounds cliché, however each second was rewarding [by being] collectively. It grew to become clear that we have been going to present it our all and have enjoyable constructing this firm.” —Sally We

Finally, the We sisters hope to construct Hangari Home right into a standalone storefront to function a house base for the plant-based Korean fare that’s as pricey to their hearts as it’s to their palates—in addition to these of their rising buyer base. Till their manifestations grow to be a actuality, they’ll proceed to bounce round LA with a discernible dedication to crafting meals made with and borne out of affection.

Whereas they’re grateful to study alongside and spend high quality time with one another, totally different types of help from prospects go a good distance, proving that the chance to begin a enterprise in honor of their mom and Korean roots was value taking. Sally cites one couple who frequents the Hangari Home stall at one of many Vegan Playground night time markets on a weekly foundation. Comfortable to have repeat prospects to start with, she says {that a} small but sentimental reward moved her in a giant approach. “After a couple of months, they introduced us a card with a photograph they took of us on the market,” she shares. “We each sincerely bought caught off guard and have become emotional; it was probably the most considerate gesture and we’re ceaselessly grateful. Small issues like that may actually change every part.”

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