Entrepreneurs make Korean ikemen the dish du jour

October 28th, 2011 by Felicity Hughes

Handsome young Korean men seem to the dish du jour for many Japanese women, and eateries offering just that appear to be popping up all over the place, according to Nikkei Women Online. As the hanryu (Korean pop culture boom) continues apace, many ladies want to get an actual taste of spicy Korean delights  . . . and they’d also like to sample the food too!

The latest such establishment is Ginza K-Place, a restaurant that opened in September and doubles as a live venue on weekends. The lunch course costs a rather pricey ¥8,000, but diners also get extra eye candy thrown in, in the form of handsome Korean artists. A journalist from Nikkei Women Online who caught a performance by Korean star Pianoman LEN was extremely moved by the floor show. “He’s very manly, and before I knew it, I had become entranced,” the journalist gushed. After the show, she writes, it’s even possible to shake hands with the artist and have your photo taken with him! “There were stars in all of the customers’ eyes. Regardless of their age they were transformed into a bunch of young girls in love.”

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the upscale prices of Ginza K-Place, Ju Maumau in Ebisu offers the chance to get up close to cute Korean guys without breaking the bank. Just like butler cafes, Ju Maumau’s website features profiles of staff members who all hail from either Korea or China. The ice is broken with games. To win a discount for the dish of the day, for example, you can play roulette with a handsome waiter. Recently opened in Ebisu in June this year, the establishment is already popular with fans of Korean dramas.

If you really want to get a genuine taste of Korea though, Okubo, Tokyo’s Korea town, is the place to go. At Festina Lente, for instance, intoxicating drinks are served by a coterie of cool handsome guys. Some cocktails on the menu are named after popular Korean TV hunks, and the bar is frequented by women who adore these kind of shows. Nikkei Women Online’s journalist was treated to an impromtieu performance by her bartender, who sang passionately to her while looking her deep into the eyes. “I fell madly in love!” she confessed.

Also in Okubo is Coffee Prince (see video above), a cafe named after the popular Korean Drama “The First Shop of Coffee Prince.” The drama is set in a coffee shop where the owner employs only young handsome guys as customer bait. Of course life imitates art at the actual Coffee Prince as the reviews on Tabelog attest: “The food is not only delicious, I think it’s great to eat in a place that employs cool handsome guys.” The place is usually packed with female fans of the drama who daintily nibble strawberry parfaits while greedily devouring the gorgeous waiting staff with their eyes.

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