Why is it that this cuisine is not so common? My (Mr. Guy.) and I have been wondering for quite a while why there are not more Korean resturaunts around. Mr. is Korean, and after his childhood of disliking the food is now appreciating his heritage. I do realize that there are restauraunts around, but not a many as other asian food. Would love input, as we have been kicking aroung an idea of opening something in the food-truck, cafe, category. Thanks!!
I think it has to do with numbers of immigrants. Certainly, in US cities with a heavy Korean population, there are a lot of Korean restaurants. With a lower Korean population, there may only be one or two. Many non-Korean people know about Korean tabletop BBQ and kimchi, but I think other Korean foods aren't widely known to the mainstream. It's a matter if exposure, as well as which immigrant population's dish has taken off as 'trendy' with the mainstream. (Seems that one dish, like bulgogi comes to represent the entire cuisine.) I have noticed a lot of sushi restaurants are owned by Koreans. Perhaps business wise, in many cities it is easier/more profitable to open a sushi restaurant that would attract a broad multi-ethnic clientele, than to open a Korean resto that would of course be open to anyone, but cater more to the local Korean population.
We have Korean style tacos in my town. I love sweethaven's streetfood idea. I would definitely patronize a food-truck that had dak bok ki.
I'd say it is changing. Korean food has exploded across NYC in the last few years, much the way thai food did 20 years ago.
I think immigration patterns and population are key. The US Korean population is smaller than even the Vietnamese population and concentrated within the coasts and select urban areas, so they have less of a culinary footprint. This is changing, though, as prominent young Korean-Americans and their devotees in food media are making Korean a trendy cuisine, particularly in its fusion form. If ever there was a time to get into the business, this would be it.