Six centuries ago, you had to be a member of Korean royalty to try the Korean shaved ice dessert popularly known as patbingsu. These days, to enjoy the icy treat you just have to stroll down to Mahabandoola Street, where a new branch of Korean restaurant Snow Factory opened on April 30.
Snow Factory’s owner, Korean entrepreneur Cho Byoung Kyu, first came to Myanmar four years ago, invited by a group of Korean Christians to support an orphanage near Shan State’s Inle Lake. Born in Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, Cho Byoung Kyu was already the manager of an Italian restaurant there, but on his subsequent visits to Myanmar, he saw an opportunity to expand here by popularising the Korean crushed-ice dessert.
“I want to let Myanmar people have the same food and culture that we have in Korea,” Mr Cho said. Inside, the employees wear blue shirts and white hardhats as if they were working in a factory. Exposed pipes and brickwork contribute to the factory motif.
With 15 employees at the new Mahabandoola outlet and another 18 at two other outlets – one other Snow Factory in Pearl Condo that opened in August last year and one bakery and barista training academy, the World Training Centre, at the same location – Mr Cho is confident that all his investments will pay off.
Offerings include the “snowflake” dessert in mango, red bean, chocolate, coconut, green tea, strawberry, melon, papaya and mixed fruit flavours, ranging in price from K4300 to K4800 for large and K3350 to K3800 for small. Salads include ricotta cheese, Caesar, ranch and taco, ranging in price from K2860 to K4800.
There are tuna, club and bagel sandwiches, small and large, from K3000 to K5750, chicken wraps, burritos, potato skins, chicken wings and omelettes, as well as hot and iced coffee, fruit juices, teas, and smoothies.
“The snowflake dessert is made with blended milk powder and ice cream and other fruit,” Mr Cho said. “We grind the ice very thinly and we put it so it seems like snow.”
Mr Cho himself has a barista certificate as well as an expensive Italian espresso machine.
“We hired a chef who used to work in the American Club and he made the sandwich menus.
“I educate and train the managers so they can manage the staff by themselves,” he said.
Mr Cho, 48, married with three children, intends to open his next Snow Factory in the new Vietnamese-financed shopping centre now under construction on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, near the Sedona Hotel.
“I don’t want to get rich for myself, I want to grow with the Myanmar people. I promised God that I would share what I have with others.”
Mr Cho says he intends to create 10 new original brands and distribute them through the entire Southeast Asian region.
He’s had a lot of help from other Korean businesspeople, investing in his ideas.
“I think Myanmar’s future is quite positive. Just like China has grown fast with changes and profits, I think Myanmar will do the same.”
Source: Myanmar Times