If a local would-be restaurateur was unclear on how to make a success of her business, she might consider brushing up on her Korean street food skills.
Evidently, there is an acute and insatiable appetite for the likes of mandu dumplings, spicy rice cakes, seaweed rice rolls, fish cakes, and other small delectables to eat out of your hand whilst standing around with a drink in the other. So insatiable, that diners are willing to line up, hundreds deep, in the dark and cold and wait. And wait some more.
Eddie Wu of Cook St. Paul has always had an abiding love for Korean cooking and when he opened his tiny diner on Payne Avenue he peppered the standard diner fare with a few winks toward his first crush — pancakes animated with spicy cabbage and yellow beans; a fruit bowl seasoned with Korean chiles and lime.
But when his partner and spouse, Eve Wu, recently returned from a trip to Korea with a notebook filled with ideas, Eddie Wu and chef Taelyn Lang took a notion to throw together a little Friday night pop-up comprising a few of her journal entries. They started rolling gimpap and pattying uhmook, and tacked a menu on the window and flung open the doors. And customers poured in. And more poured in. Soon it was clear that hundreds (reports vary from 300 to 1,000) of people were lined up around the block.
Wu says he has no idea why this phenomenon happened, except that he received a tip that east St. Paul's large Hmong population has a particular yen for Korean food, just as he does.
He plans to make Korean street food a regularly occurring pop-up (and why not? He's sitting on a gold mine). Watch their Facebook Page for details on the upcoming events.
Somebody was wise enough to capture some of the action on video. Check it out here: