‘Hometown Cold Buckwheat Noodles’ CEO Jeon Cheol-woo

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The North Korean defector Jeon Cheol-woo, who was a student in the former East Germany in 1989 and then chose to leave early and defect to the South, can always be seen in all smiles. He has always been a popular guest on television and prolific lecturer, but is now more known as a restaurateur with a flair for food. Mr. Jeon explains that “Jeon Cheol-woo’s Hometown Naengmyeon,” or cold buckwheat noodles, a North Korean dish popular in the South, are “the thing I know the best.” Magazine N interviewed him at his popular restaurant at Yangjae-dong, Seoul.

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He explains the main reason for starting the cold buckwheat noodle restaurant was the strong suggestion from his colleagues. “Ever since I came to the South, my colleagues, all of whom have tried my recipe for cold buckwheat noodles, always tell me to try using it in business, and thus this restaurant.” Mr. Jeon has strong conviction in the exquisite taste of cold buckwheat noodles, claiming that he can live eating it every day. When asked what the main reason for the success of his restaurant is, he says that, “It all boils down to taste and price. Even if it a place is very popular, without taste, popularity is short-lived.” He explains as well that, “Taste comes with generations. Trends should not be missed. While older people evaluate using their own opinions and perspective, it is important to look after the general trend in the market to succeed.”

Apart from the food industry and the restaurant that he has successfully built, he is not that interested in other areas. He keeps on going to popular restaurants by word of mouth to do research on food, and he plans to write a book on the creative minds behind the success stories of these food ventures. “Many people say that they instantly feel good after eating neangmyeon from my restaurant. I hope that that person will be remembered as evidence of the active food industry in Korea.” Summary by Rigoberto Banta Jr.

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