February Issue: The Sul Jib Gets A Modern Makeover
Kimchi salsa-topped nachos and bulgogi sliders are just a few of the yummy pub grub offerings at Ahn-Joo, a snack bar and restaurant opened by TV food star Debbie Lee.
by Rebecca U. Cho
Los Angeles’ Koreatown is a mouth-watering hodgepodge of Korean eateries, from upscale BBQ houses to hole-in-the-wall noodle shops. But for one L.A. patron looking for late-night drinks and snacks out on the town, perhaps the ideal venue, still little known to mainstream America, is the sul jib, the Korean pub.
To change all that, in steps chef Debbie Lee, the former top-three contestant on season 5 of the hit show, The Next Food Network Star. Inspired by the dishes at the sul jibs she used to frequent with friends as a college student, Lee is set on courting the intrigue but removing the intimidation she believes surrounds Korean food through Ahn-Joo, a Korean snack bar and restaurant that opened late last year in Glendale, Calif.
“My friends thought [sul jibs are] amazing, ‘is this a normal thing?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s where we go for a late-night snack. It’s our Cheers bar,’” Lee said in a recent phone interview. “People don’t know we eat like this.”