|▲ Bae Sang-jun, CEO of Samhwa Nongwon|
What decides the taste of the pork?
“How you mature the pork often decides its taste” says Bae Sang-jun, CEO of Samhwa Nongwon established in September 2017. As the third generation of a pig farm family, he explains about the three common maturing methods: 1) wet maturing done on low temperature in vacuum packing 2) soaking maturing done based on wet maturing but holding the gravy 3) drying maturing done on applying the wind on the surface of the meat. Drying maturing, however, is the one many pork restaurant owners avoid to use due to the loss of 30 to 40% of gravy and high saturated fatty acid. But Bae, who studied epidemiology of pork at a graduate school, focused on this method. The meat easily gets decomposed if things go wrong and it has high unit price; but once on the right track, the meat gives far desired taste. Thus launching was Samhwa Nongwon: his grandfather gave the name ‘samhwa’ to mean a happy family of the father, son and grandson. Having carried on a research on drying maturing for years, Bae now has reached to a point to apply for a patent. The taste of dried matured pork, however, still is affected by storage temperature and period and the way it is grilled. While making sure of the former, Bae gives additional effort in the latter by using bamboo charcoal that creates a chewy yet juicy munching feel. Some of the popular menus at Samhwa Nongwon are pork belly, pork neck, beef rib eye and chuck flap tail whose taste must be enhanced by appropriate sides such as fresh kimchi, pickled vegetables, rice, bean paste stew and horseradish as well as Himalayan rock salt. The juice of drying matured pork is soaked down in the meat and naturally the taste and the smell are deepened according to Bae. The restaurant is neatly laid out with a good number of rooms for private and group dinners and the 10 professionally minded staff are effectively managing the 826 square meter big restaurant. With this excellent infrastructure he has built for years, Bae is ambitiously pushing forward his plan to launch a franchise in earnest. He is determined to provide ultimate taste of the drying matured pork to as many people as possible. It is noteworthy that Samhwa Nongwon currently is making KRW 100 million won sales a month more or less.
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