Mar 112007

Giwa is a Korean fast casual / fast food / take-out kind of restaurant, and I think they’ve hit a sweet spot towards presenting Korean food in a more palatable way to mainstream America. Giwa‘s menu and website both introduces newcomers to what Korean food is, accentuating its health benefits, and mentioning the 3 most popular dishes (to get past the paralyzing indecision of too many choices.) And the atmosphere of the restaurant is simple and clean; and, with only 25 seats, it’s a good setup for take-out food to go. Real Korean food connoisseurs may say it’s not authentic enough, but (I think) the point is to give non-Koreans an easy on ramp.

That’s one of the notions that’d been stewing in the back of my mind about different ethnic Asian foods, be it Chinese, Japanese, or Thai. All of these are mainstream now; these 4 have made certain adjustments to make it inviting for non-Asians to enjoy their foods. I’d wondered what would it take to mainstream Korean food — Giwa has done it! I think for Chinese food, that meant (initially) chop suey, fried rice, and sweet & sour pork. Plus, Chinese food has the sheer extra number of years to assimilate. There are still many who don’t eat Chinese, so even a fast-growing fast-food chain like Panda Express uses intentional tactics to explain Chinese food to non-Chinese (cf. Panda Express spreads Chinese food across USA.) I love the visual beauty of Japanese sushi and showmanship of Japanese Teppanyaki. Thai food has mainstreamed by having beautiful decor and ambiance at its restaurants.

This morning, I’m really looking forward to “dining” at Cereality for the very first time. Yes, a fast casual kind of place that serves all kinds of cereals all day.

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