Meet the Sisters Behind LA’s Korean Hangari Home


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Similar to tens of millions of People within the midst and wake of the worldwide pandemic, Los Angeles-based sisters Sally and Sarah We discovered themselves rethinking the place their careers had been headed. Sally, then a vogue retail retailer supervisor, and Sarah, employed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Heart, each figured it was nearly as good a time as any to alter course and finally to convey work nearer to house. In July 2022, the duo created Hangari Home: a meals enterprise impressed by their mom’s cooking that “elevates in style Korean road meals however retains genuine Korean flavors and recipes,” Sally says.

Although the sisters didn’t have skilled culinary coaching, they had been certain that their mom’s recipes had the particular sauce—each actually and figuratively—to maintain a profitable enterprise. “Our mother labored onerous as an immigrant to provide us ‘the American dream,’ and we wished to do one thing for her,” Sally shares. “We grew up with good Korean meals: genuine recipes she introduced from her mother and sisters in Busan, South Korea.”

Sarah provides that the chance to share wealthy and scrumptious flavors—all of the whereas honoring their household and cultural legacies—was a no brainer so far as the chance of beginning a small enterprise was involved. “We had been blessed with bundles of plant-based meals since our mother wished to create wholesome dishes for us,” she explains. “She loves cooking, is nice at something she tries to make, and simply has that detailed contact.”

Obsessed with nature and animals, Sally all the time appreciated that their mother’s cooking was primarily vegan. (Regardless of the abundance of greens within the conventional Korean dietary sample, veganism isn’t widespread within the tradition’s delicacies at massive. In truth, she says their mom was unfamiliar with the phrases “vegan” and “plant-based” when she introduced them to her consideration.) Korean delicacies is probably finest recognized worldwide largely for 2 staples: Korean barbecue and kimchi, the latter of which generally contains animal merchandise regardless of its fame as a probiotic-packed, veggie-forward staple.

“Most Korean kimchi recipes name for jeotgal [salted seafood], which may fluctuate from shrimp to anchovies,” Sarah explains. But nobody of their household favors the style of seafood or fish sauce, so their mom’s personal kimchi recipe has all the time skipped jeotgal in favor of a secret mix of plant-based dupes. “This recipe is one thing she grew up studying,” she continues. “And the artwork type of fermenting is a talent,” to not point out a core element of kimjang tradition (the standard ritual of creating and sharing kimchi). Tying again to their roots, the sisters add that the phrase hangari itself refers to a Korean earthenware vessel used to ferment kimchi.

Whereas their preliminary plan was to give attention to kimchi just for wholesale distribution, their enterprise organically expanded to incorporate different vegan household recipes. The duo travels round LA every day, organising store at farmers markets, meals festivals, and different pop-ups. Sally notes that the broader curiosity in Korean meals has come a great distance since her childhood. She recollects the puzzled glances her classmates gave upon her boxed lunch of kimchi and different Korean fare. Now, she takes pleasure in the truth that persons are actively looking for genuine Korean flavors—and that Hangari Home offers them in spades.

It’s no shock that kimchi takes a starring function of their hottest dishes, which embrace kimchi fried rice with bulgogi-style (skinny and marinated) Past Meat, kimchi pizza (modeled on jeon, a Korean pancake, however with a crispier texture to imitate pizza crust), and bibimbap (combined rice bowls with assorted banchan, aka aspect dishes). Hangari Home rotates the banchan on provide—resembling garlic eggplant, shishito peppers, and braised tofu—on a seasonal foundation, that are additionally obtainable to buy à la carte. Nevertheless, their unique napa cabbage kimchi stays a hard and fast staple 12 months spherical due to an in depth fermenting course of, which the sisters are nonetheless attempting to excellent.

“Via fermenting, we have now been creating banchan round native components. That has been the [most] difficult half, however one we’re probably the most happy with sharing,” Sally explains. On this level, Sarah recollects a troublesome second during which they miscalculated yields for a big batch of kimchi, which they needed to toss out. “It was heartbreaking, as each greenback issues,” she says. Nonetheless, she was in a position to chortle it off along with her household by her aspect.

On the heels of their one-year anniversary in July 2023, Sally acknowledges how far they’ve are available a brief period of time. She remembers the primary market they labored, for which they overestimated how a lot meals to convey and exhausted themselves by unloading and reloading the gadgets, on high of the lingering uncertainty of how their new enterprise would pan out. Nonetheless, leaning on and having religion in one another—and their mom’s recipes, after all—stored their spirits excessive. “I do know it sounds cliché, however each second was rewarding [by being] collectively,” Sally shares. “It turned clear that we had been going to provide it our all and have enjoyable constructing this firm.”

“I do know it sounds cliché, however each second was rewarding [by being] collectively. It turned clear that we had been going to provide it our all and have enjoyable constructing this firm.” —Sally We

Finally, the We sisters hope to construct Hangari Home right into a standalone storefront to function a house base for the plant-based Korean fare that’s as expensive to their hearts as it’s to their palates—in addition to these of their rising buyer base. Till their manifestations change into a actuality, they’ll proceed to bounce round LA with a discernible dedication to crafting meals made with and borne out of affection.

Whereas they’re grateful to be taught alongside and spend high quality time with one another, completely different types of help from clients go a great distance, proving that the chance to start out a enterprise in honor of their mom and Korean roots was price taking. Sally cites one couple who frequents the Hangari Home stall at one of many Vegan Playground night time markets on a weekly foundation. Joyful to have repeat clients to start with, she says {that a} small but sentimental reward moved her in a giant means. “After a couple of months, they introduced us a card with a photograph they took of us on the market,” she shares. “We each sincerely acquired caught off guard and have become emotional; it was probably the most considerate gesture and we’re eternally grateful. Small issues like that may actually change every part.”


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