10 April 2023

Five minutes with Daniel Chen, Hanok Korean BBQ

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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two men in restaurant

Hanok Korean BBQ Wagga business partners Jamie Lv and Daniel Chen are eager to serve the region’s diners something deliciously different. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Who is Daniel Chen? Owner of Hanok Korean BBQ Wagga. I’m an international student from China and I started my business and have four years of experience in hospitality.

Best recent dining experience: To be honest, over the past year, I have been quite busy and I really didn’t have time to eat out. But I really enjoy eating at my own restaurant, so my best experience might be that. The staff know me, and they give me the best service and I feel at home.

Favourite cuisine: I love Korean food. It is my favourite.

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The ingredient I cannot live without: Wagyu. Before trying Wagyu, I always only had beef. Beef isn’t bad, it’s just like normal food, but the first time I tried Wagyu it felt so different. It was like ice melting in your mouth. From then on, I only had Wagyu.

Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: I think for me, the next big thing in Wagga is Hanok opening in Wagga.

Favourite place to lunch in Wagga: Actually, my favourite place to lunch will be a sad story because it’s KFC. It’s easy and quick.

Korean barbecue ingredients

Hanok Korean BBQ uses Wagyu meat. Photo: Hanok Korean BBQ.

A must-try on our menu: The Wagyu tester. It includes all of our Wagyu products, and people can try each of them so the customers can get an idea of how Hanok works.

Most used ingredient at Hanok Korean BBQ: Galbi sauce (traditional Korean barbecue sauce).

My biggest culinary influence: I think it will have to be my friend Marvin, who is also the founder of Hanok Korean BBQ.

Korean barbecue restaurant

The new Korean eatery prides itself on giving customers a unique experience whereby they control their cooking. Photo: Hanok Korean BBQ.

Favourite cookbook: I don’t really cook, so I don’t read cookbooks.

Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene: I haven’t met anyone yet. I’ve just been busy with opening the restaurant and haven’t had time to socialise around the neighbourhood.

What are this week’s specials at Hanok Korean BBQ: So far we don’t have weekly specials but later we will.

Korean barbecue restaurant

Hanok Korean BBQ owner Daniel Chen says the next big thing for Wagga is his restaurant. Photo: Hanok Korean BBQ.

Death-row meal: Our staff meal. It’s excellent!

Dream destination: I want to go back to China. In the last three years we haven’t been able to go overseas or go back home because of COVID. And afterwards I would like to go to Thailand or Korea and just relax.

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My biggest fear: I’m not afraid of most things but I am a little afraid of getting old. When I was around 24 or 25, no problem with money, time or energy. I could stay up all night to get work done but now I can see my energy has decreased getting older. There are still a lot of things I want to do.

My least favourite food: There is no dish that I don’t like. I am a meat lover. As long as there is meat inside my food, there’s no problem. I don’t like coriander.

My top-three cooking tips: Normally my wife cooks at home and I’m just her assistant. I wash vegetables, I cut vegetables and do the final cleaning.

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