The First Korean Fast Food Chain in America

Asian Week reports that Sorabol, a family-owned Korean fast food chain, currently has 15 stores in California, Nevada and the Philippines while looking into opening locations in Seattle, New York City and Washington, D.C. As of now, they’re concentrating on the food court market, dominated by Sbarro and Panda Express. The difference is that they’re not Americanizing their food. According to them, they serve authentic Korean BBQ, noodles and soups, including Yukejang 육게장. And if their stores typically look like the ones on the web site, they look kick ass.

I’d say it’s a welcome healthier alternative to the usual food court findings and proof that you don’t have to drench everything in grease to make it fast food.

UPDATE: Asian Week seems to be having a lovefest with them. Here’s another story.

NOTE: They have a little section on their web site where you can tell them your location if there is not a Sorabol restaurant in your area. Don’t know how seriously they’d take it, but I’m sure some good response is helpful.

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10 thoughts on “The First Korean Fast Food Chain in America”

  1. Asian Week’s a bit slow out of the gate on that one. I remember eating at the Sorabol in Rincon Center ten years ago and the chain’s site said they started in 1979.

    Reply
  2. Yeah I saw a Korean fast food joint in Oz a few years back. Was pretty empty though as there was a Chinese restaurant across the road and seriously, who would eat Korean food when there is Chinese food available?

    It’s a good idea nonetheless and I can see it working ONLY if restaurants from other Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand etc don’t start doing the same thing.

    Reply
    • If you go to the Westfield Mall in San Francisco, Sorabol competes with Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants and they hold their own just fine. When I went there with my family in tow, Sorabol had the longest line of all of restaurants in the food court.

      Reply
  3. The Sorabol chain here isn’t doing so well. Food was horrible if I remember it right. They opened up years ago here in the Philippines but was outrun by Kaya Restaurant (which I still consider the first Korean semi-fast food semi- casual dining restaurant). I don’t even know if they have branches here nowadays -_-::

    Reply
      • Korean food has been around for over 15 years and I don’t think it still has the exposure it highly deserves. Filipinos are dumbfounded and intimidated of entering a restaurant that doesn’t have a word of English written on its sign board. When you say Korean, automatically, Kaya Restaurant pops into their heads. It’s the most..uhhmm…mainstream Korean restaurant whose food is adjusted to suit the Filipino palate. In general, people have not yet discovered that Korean food is not only about being spicy and 불고기,찹채,비빔밥,and 김치. I have made it a point to introduce friends and family to Korean restaurants whose clientele are 90% Korean. I call myself the “Ambassador of Korean Cuisine”. Hahahaha ^^

        Korean food has so much potential and it has not yet been tapped into properly ^^

        Reply

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