Homegrown Business: Hara Kim of LK Food

LK Food is a newer business venture where Korean comfort food takes centre stage. Their loyal customer base primarily orders speciality Korean food products, including gourmet sauces, pickles, side dishes, and other diverse and delicious Korean culinary treats through their online ordering system. We sat down with Hara Kim, the founder of LK Food, to learn about how her business works to bring people together to enjoy a Korean culinary experience.

LK Food

What is your business called and what does it do?

We sell Korean traditional food adjusted to suit the local tastes in Canada. Initially, our focus was on creating nostalgic homeland dishes for Korean immigrants, but now we have expanded to include locals who appreciate Korean cuisine. We started with pre-orders and now offer deliveries and website sales for a more convenient shopping experience.

What made you want to do this work?

My mother is a renowned expert in Korean cuisine, especially in dishes like “Tteok galbi” and kimchi. I grew up watching, learning, and being raised around her culinary skills. As she is getting older, I worry that her unique touch might be lost. Searching for her nostalgic flavours abroad, I realized many others like me were looking for the same taste, which led me to start my own business.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

The main problem I wanted to address through my business was to provide the taste of homeland to those who couldn’t visit their countries during the challenging times of the pandemic. It brought me great pride when people appreciated my food, saying it reminded them of their mother’s cooking. As my business grew, it expanded to include local customers who have developed a fondness for K-food.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our customer base is mainly from Vancouver (90%), with the remaining 10% coming from surrounding areas like Seattle, Victoria, Nanaimo, Alberta, and Calgary. The age group of our customers ranges from 20s to 60s, including homesick students, guardians of students who miss Korean flavours, long-time immigrants, and local customers who love K-food.

LK Food

How does your business make money? How does it work?

My business primarily generates revenue through personalized website orders, and though we are gradually expanding into wholesale (mart placement), individual orders still account for a significant portion of our sales.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

Our factory, “YVR Kitchen,” is located in Burnaby.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?

Question: “What sets your ‘lk food’ business apart from other food providers in the industry?”

Answer: “At ‘lk food,’ we take pride in offering authentic Korean cuisine adjusted to suit the local tastes in Canada. Our key differentiator is our commitment to preserving the unique touch of my mother, a renowned expert in Korean cuisine, especially in dishes like ‘Tteok galbi’ and kimchi. We understand the importance of nostalgia and aim to bring the taste of homeland to those who can’t visit their countries, especially during challenging times like the pandemic. Our expanding customer base, consisting of homesick students, guardians of students who miss Korean flavours, long-time immigrants, and local customers who love K-food, reflects our success in providing a delightful and convenient culinary experience. Whether it’s personalized website orders or wholesale distribution, our dedication to exceptional service and authentic flavours sets us apart in the industry.”

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

I find great joy in working with food! The most rewarding aspect is receiving thanks and appreciation from satisfied customers, which gives me strength and happiness. However, the most challenging part is cooking in front of a hot grill during the summer when there is no air conditioning.

Where can we follow you?

Website | Instagram

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

I love Fume-eh , east van jam company. Those companies use the same commissary kitchen. Although it is a small local company, it started alone and is now growing to the point of delivering products throughout Canada. Of course, I think it’s delicious, not to mention the value of the product, and there’s a lot to learn from them in business.

 

About Emilea Semancik 129 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: