For the Love of Churros
Fads are always coming and going in Korea: fashion fads, hair fads and even food fads! The newest snacking craze, churros, have caught the attention of the masses as of late. One might think that if you’ve tried one churro then you’ve tried them all, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of churro stands that appear to have popped up over night and I’ve tried quite a few of them. Hailing from California, however, every churro I eat is automatically compared to the ones at Disneyland (the Holy Grail of churros). So after a year of tireless eating, I found one that stood above the rest.
About a year ago, I happened to come across a tiny little churro booth in 홍대 (Hongdae) called “Mr. Churro.” It had just opened that day and a young enthusiastic, first time business owner, David Hong, was there to greet us. He talked to my boyfriend and I in English and Korean as he made our churro. When it was finished, the result was surprising. The outside was perfectly crispy, but the inside was soft and fluffy! He has the ratio of churro to cinnamon and sugar down to an art. To top it off, it cost us a mere ₩2,000!
You would think there aren’t many ways to screw up a churro, but I’ve tasted enough to know that it can be done. I won’t bad mouth other places I’ve been to, but you can save yourself a lot of disappointment if you just go here. David told me that it took a long time to create the unique recipe he uses for the dough. He actually spent a lot of time researching it on Youtube and making dozens of test batches in his kitchen at home. He even sought out advise from various bakeries to find out different ways to make larger and more consistent batches. His biggest challenge was getting the level of sweetness just right.
My boyfriend and I have made several satisfying trips to Mr. Churro since then, during which we got to know David a little better. From the get-go, his goal had always been to make enough money to marry his girlfriend. Using a bit of seed money and information he gleaned during his work in the import/export business, he saw an opportunity to earn some money making and selling churros. So I suppose you could say he made churros in the name of love.
In the beginning, David wasn’t sure if this would work out. Little by little, however, I noticed small changes every time I dropped by. First, he added chocolate and cream cheese dipping sauces. Then, he created a new color scheme and logo using a cute chibi version of himself. Before long, he was hiring extra help, having custom t-shirts made and even added an ice cream machine for his new menu item “Ice Churros,” which by the way, is absolutely delicious especially on those hot summer days.
In less than a year his business blew up into a huge success. In fact, he earned all the money for his wedding in only 3 months! What’s more impressive is that he was incredibly humble about everything and so thankful to all the customers who have enjoyed his food. Additionally, he and his girlfriend have not only tied the not, but have just welcomed a new born son to their family! Together, he hopes that he and Mrs. Churro will spread churro love all over Asia. I think I speak for us all when I say we could all use a little more churro in our lives.