Bangor, Maine is host to all kinds of unique cuisine, ranging from Italian to Japanese food, as well as Mexican, Chinese and other cuisines. As of the spring of 2021, a new Korean restaurant, Korean Dad, will be joining the Bangor food lineup. This restaurant, opened by Changsu Kristopher Lee, will be the only Korean restaurant north of Portland. Lee has been cooking for his family for over 30 years, gradually increasing his skills in his home environment. Now, he is ready to take those skills to a larger audience, giving the people of Bangor authentic Korean tastes with homestyle cooking. Korean Dad will be located at 97 Center Street in Bangor, which is a prime location that is sure to bring in hungry customers.
Korean flavors are typically intense, as well as spicy and pungent. Some classic Korean dishes include kimchi, which is a fermented vegetable dish, hoeddeok, which resemble sweet pancakes and japchae, which are stir fried noodles,to name a few. These dishes are staples of Korean cooking, and just some of the options that will be available at Korean Dad when it opens later in the year.
Lee decided to open up this restaurant as a way to have his homestyle cooking reach a larger audience. He is originally from South Korea, and came to the U.S. in 1994. Korean Dad is a family business, as Lee is running it with his daughter, Alex Farron. He has been an active member in the Maine community, teaching mathematics at Eastern Maine Community College, and volunteering at the Bangor area homeless shelter.
Lee is excited to be taking his food to the Bangor area, in particular because of its location up north. While getting his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maine Presque Isle, Lee began to develop his cooking skills by sharing his Korean foods with friends.
“People up there weren’t really exposed to a lot of diversity, so they were very curious about us,” Lee said in an interview with the Bangor Daily News. “We thought we should try cooking Korean food for them, and people ended up loving it. They wanted us to cook it all the time.”
This is another exciting opportunity for University of Maine students due to the restaurant’s location. Being only a 15-minute drive from campus, students will have fairly easy access to the new location.
“I would eat there if there is a decent amount of clearly labeled vegan options” Agenor Duhon, a third-year wildlife ecology student at UMaine said.
Third-year mechanical engineering technology student Tevin Duff is also interested in Korean Dad.
“I would like to eat there to expand my variety of diet,” Duff said.
The growing interest of students is certain to grow even more as Korean Dad prepares for its opening day. Students interested in learning more about the opening can follow the official Korean Dad page on Instagram, where the restaurant is posting updates on its opening, sending pictures and keeping the public informed on any and all news. Given the added variety the restaurant will bring to Bangor, the venture is looking to be a great success.