Building a business by bringing Korean flavors to Halifax
Story and Photo by Chris Muise:
After having to leave (at least temporarily) its original Birmingham Street home, Backoos Korean Food is enjoying a second life in a tiny space on the Bedford Highway.
Business partners Joungmin Kim and Sangho Back, both originally from South Korea, opened their first Backoos in downtown Halifax in December 2015, in order to bring a popular Korean comfort food to the Maritimes.
“Korean fried chicken was getting international,” says Kim, who lived in Vancouver before moving to Halifax. “It was in Asian countries, and European countries, the States. The fried chicken from Korea is pretty popular. So, we knew that there’s demand, but there’s no specified restaurant just doing the perfect Korean-style fried chicken.
“Korean fried chicken uses different spices, sauces, and flavours than Atlantic Canada’s usual stuff” . “Our chicken is very different than that of McDonald’s or KFC,” says Back. Kim adds that fresh Poultry also distinguishes Backoos from another takeout chicken. The Bedford location is currently takeout-only. The original location in Halifax may seem closed for the time being, but Kim promises that it will open again as a dine-in restaurant and bar.
They also plan to open up a second dine-in joint on the Bedford Highway, because the demand from locals and the Korean community combined is more than they expected.
“After six months, we kind of knew that there’s more demand than just one spot [can cater to],” says Kim, who was initially worried that Nova Scotians wouldn’t embrace the Korean fried chicken for being too spicy. “It was really more than we expected. People just love it.”