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Got to have Seoul

By Ye Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2008-03-01 07:27
Got to have Seoul

Chinese people have grown accustomed to seeing South Korean stars on TV, in popular soap operas and advertising local products. But long before the arrival of South Korea's entertainment elite came its restaurateurs, who have worked hard to see the Korean meal established as a firm favorite of diners here.

Capitalizing on the Chinese appetite for his country's cuisine as well as its popular culture, South Korean businessman Ohn Dae Sung (pictured second from right), 48, named his Beijing restaurant for the popular TV drama, Dae Jang Geum. Opened in 2006, the restaurant is adorned with pictures of Ohn's daughter, a senior high school student, clad in the traditional Korean dress worn by actress Lee Young Ae in Dae Jang Geum. Ohn has since opened nine restaurants with the same name in Beijing, plus a Korean noodle eatery.

The population of South Koreans living in China is estimated at 700,000, with 120,000 of those in Beijing, says Association of South Korean People in China deputy director Park Je-Yong. Wangjing area accommodates China's biggest South Korean community of 70,000. Wudaokou area has a Korean population of 30,000. With the growth in population came the flourishing of the service sector.

Got to have Seoul

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