If it's Saturday, it must be Korean (in Merida since 1905)
"Younghee's Kitchen" is located at the edge of Merida's Slow Food Market at Reforma & 33-D. The market takes place on Saturday mornings and for the time being, the 6-month-old Korean restaurant is only open that one day from 8am to 4pm.
It's owned by Younghee Moser, who came here 12 years ago from Korea via Albuquerque, NM. Her husband Mike is a jeweler, and that is the family business 5 days a week. The ever-smiling, peripatetic Younghee has other ideas, which translate into a full house of happy customers eager for some of her Korean fare -- like the fluffy "Du Bu Jjim" (120 MEX or about 7.75USD, and includes miso soup, rice and 4 other condiments + Go Chu Chang chili sauce upon request). It's the only Korean restaurant in town.
That may not sound strange, but it actually is. Visit the Museum Commemorating Korean Immigration at #397 Calle 65 and Jenny Chang will tell you that all was not well 1905, when hacienda owners (who killed too many Mayans) imported 1000+ Koreans to work in the henequen (aka sisil) fields. Today they call that human trafficking -- not unlike the bringing in of Mexicans who currently work in Florida tomato fields under murky circumstances. It's a complicated story, at once very sad and beautiful to learn how the Koreans persevered and formed their community. There are a number of Koreans and their progeny in Merida today, but most of them eat at home, according to Chang.
Anyone else hankering for some spicy "Soon Bu Jjikye" stew -- with a raw egg dropped into the bubbling mixture -- can go to Younghee's Kitchen on any Saturday. She will definitely make it worth your while. OPA!
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