King Sejong Restaurant
October is Small Business Month! To celebrate, we are introducing numerous amazing downtown business owners all month long. We talked to each owner to learn more about their business and individual experiences making downtown a vibrant community.
Meet the owners of King Sejong Restaurant!
Martin and his wife, who is also the restaurant’s main cook, moved from Korea to Canada in 2001. When they first arrived, the couple learned to adapt to Canada by working in various restaurants and factories. After a while, they wanted to have their own business. Being passionate about food, they decided to make their dreams a reality by opening a restaurant – King Sejong.
All About Home
King Sejong’s flavour can be condensed to a few words: authentic and home cooked. The key to the distinctive flavours lies in Martin’s wife’s insistence on the right ingredients and her special recipes. She is selective about every ingredient; she even makes their own Kimchi. The recipes are from her mother, who is from Jeonra-do province which is famous for having the best food in Korea.
Martin shared that they try to keep to traditional Korean flavours rather than creating fusion dishes, they don’t adjust the level of spice or strong flavours. The food is old fashioned, it’s difficult to find similar Korean restaurants as some people might not like this kind of home-style cuisine. He is proud to see that there are more and more locals trying Kimchi and traditional Korean sauces and trying to pronounce the names of dishes in Korean.
Sense of Downtown Community
When asked about what part of the downtown community he likes, Martin said the transportation and foot traffic! Since downtown is the centre of the public transportation system, it is easier for students and tourists to find businesses like King Sejong. It’s always great for him to see many people coming downtown and walking around the streets. Downtown events also encourage people to gather.
COVID and Beyond
Due to the pandemic, the restaurant experiences significant challenges. One of the impacts of COVID is the shortage of employees. Only Martin and his wife work in the kitchen now, so they have to do the last call earlier and close during the holidays to avoid being overwhelmed.
Since the pandemic, Martin feels as though tomorrow is not guaranteed. He and his wife are working day by day to serve customers and to create a homey vibe. They want customers to visit when they are young, and keep visiting as they grow, until eventually, they can bring their kids back to the restaurant.
Make sure to visit King Sejong Restaurant at 650 Yates St!
Thank you to the owners for participating in Small Business Month and sharing your voice as a beloved downtown Victoria business owner! View our other blog posts for more incredible local business interviews.