K-pop agencies whet fans' appetites with F&B outlets
HALLYU continues to forge ahead around the globe, with K-pop powerhouses unrelenting in finding new ways to spread Korean culture.
One of the biggest current trends in the South Korean entertainment community involves celebrities and entertainment agencies taking a stab at the food and beverage scene.
Many South Korean celebrities invested in their own eateries, such as Grill5taco owned by Super Junior's Donghae, JYJ Junsu's Misarang Imshil Cheese Pizza and G-Dragon's Cafe Monstant Aewol.
The top K-pop agencies are also following suit.
Following the unveiling of its SMTOWN@Coex Artium - a hub in Gangnam that features a merchandise store, theatre, studio and a cafe - last year, SM Entertainment proceeded with its third tilt at the restaurant business by opening SMT Seoul in January.
The eatery not only offers fusion food but also features hologram projections of the agency's artists - making it the ultimate dining option for fans.
According to SM officials, it aims to open an SMT Tokyo and SMT LA this year.
Rivalling SM is another top dog in the South Korean leisure business - Yang Hyunsuk of YG Entertainment.
In 2004, subsidiary YG Foods opened its first Korean-style pub Samgeori Pocha.
Later, Korean barbecue franchise - Samgeori Butchers - was launched.
In less than a year, the company has launched two branches of YG Republique, which features Samgeori Butchers, K Pub and 3 Birds cafe.
A spokesman for YG Foods said it plans to open a YG Republique in Bangkok in June.
Later this year, it expects to venture out to California and China.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK