• Tangier

  • Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 9:25 AM
    Last Update : Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 10:38 AM

South Korean Tourist Settles in Tangier, Morocco, and Opens a Korean Restaurant

(AWP) - At first glance, visitors to the "Galbi Dak" restaurant might think they are in one of South Korea’s neighbourhoods with its culture, music and food. However, its prominent and distinctive name reminds guests that they are in the heart of the Arab city of Tangier in Morocco.

Such cultural fusion was made possible by Korean restaurant owner, Johun, who first visited Tangier with his wife as tourists 12 years ago.

Like thousands of tourists who visit Tangier annually, Johun was charmed by the city where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.

He fell in love with Tangier and its culture so he decided to settle in Morocco, finding no better way to make a living than opening a Korean restaurant with the Arabic name "Galbi Dak", which means "my heart beats."

Johun says, "When I arrived in Morocco for the first time in 2011, I noticed the popularity of Korean songs, especially the famous ‘Gangnam Style’ song, in all the alleys and places. I found everyone in Morocco interested in Korean films, songs, and TV series, and interested in me and my culture. I said to myself, I can do something here."

He added, "When one culture meets another, the best way to strengthen their bond is through food. When you taste the food of a particular community, it strengthens the bonds between the two sides for more meet-ups, fun and understanding. That's why I created the Korean restaurant project."

Being the only Korean restaurant in the city, "Galbi Dak" has grown very popular among tourists and Tangier residents alike, as it provides customers with a full experience of South Korean tastes, culture and music.

Ayman Al-Aji, a Moroccan customer, says, "I am a fan of Korean food and Korean culture in general. This restaurant gives a glimpse of a Korean city inside Tangier, and here, the Korean culture, language and paintings, are showcased and make you feel as if you have travelled to Korea."

Johun points out that the main difficulty he faced when settling in Morocco was the language barrier, especially since Moroccans speak several dialects that mix Arabic with Amazigh, Spanish, French and English. Nonetheless, he says he quickly managed to overcome this due to his deep love for Morocco and its people.