South Korea: Kochu Karu restaurant

Planet Berlin: Fusion of the senses

Dream team

Bin Lee-Zauder came from South Korea to Berlin to study singing and won several awards before performing as a soprano in the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. Having wanted to explore her yearning to cook professionally, her dream was realized when she met the Spanish chef José Miranda Morillo. The duo collaborated to open Kochu Karu in 2012.

Planet Berlin: Fusion of the senses

East and West

The kitchens of South Korea and Spain have more in common than one might think, with both nations enjoying small appetizer plates called Tapas in Spanish, and Banchan in South Korean. In this spirit, Spanish chef and co-owner José Miranda Morillo conjures an East-West dish inspired by Buddhist temple food.

Planet Berlin: Fusion of the senses

Musical interlude

This fusion isn't only happening in the kitchen: once a month, Bin-Lee Zauder reconnects her dual passion for food and music. The "SingMahl" night at Kochu Karu sees the soprano serves a four-course menu and a music program tailored to the food. The price per person is €74.

Planet Berlin: Fusion of the senses

Quality and value

The Michelin Guide has twice honored Kochu Karu with a Bib Gourmand, an international award for "good quality, good value restaurants." Central to this praise is a menu that features an exciting fusion of Spanish, Korean and beyond, from homemade kimchi or stewed ox cheek to duck with mussels served with pickled green plums.

The special fusion of Korean and Spanish cuisine created by Bin Lee-Zauner and José Miranda Morillo in their Kochu Karu restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg has earned high praise, including from the Michelin restaurant guide.

Bin Lee-Zauner originally moved to Berlin from her home in South Korea to study singing at the Hanns Eisler music academy. And, of course, to master the German language so she could understand the lyrics of pieces such as Robert Schumann's 'Im wunderschönen Monat Mai.' But she was also insistent on learning to cook professionally, and, after moving to Berlin, she crossed paths with an experienced Spanish chef who helped her turn that dream into a reality. The result was the Korean-Spanish restaurant Kochu Karu in Prenzlauer Berg, opened by Bin Lee-Zauner and José Miranda Morillo in 2012.

Spanish and Korean cuisine have more in common than might be apparent at first glance. Take, for example, the small plates, known as 'tapas' in Spanish and 'banchan' in South Korea, and the wide array of appetizers. On top of that, the two traditions rely heavily on many of the same ingredients; rice, mackerel, eel and mussels are common in both countries. Bin Lee-Zauner and José Miranda Morillo use traditional ingredients from Spain and Asia as well as regional vegetables and game from Brandenburg and fish from lake Müritz in Northern Germany.

Korea: Kochu Karu - Move your cursor or finger for the 360° view

Michelin awarded 

Their dishes include creations that meld both Eastern and Western flavors, such as duck with mussels served with pickled green plums and artichokes with a barberry jus or chicory in a fried buckwheat dough with citrus chutney. But for Bin Lee-Zauner and José Miranda Morillo, those colorful combinations don't extend to the dishware. Simple white plates make the meals really stand out. The Michelin Guide has twice awarded their Korean-Spanish fusion cuisine the 'Bib Gourmand,' an accolade reserved for 'good quality, good value restaurants.'

Music continues to play an important role in Bin Lee-Zauner's work, and every first Thursday of the month, Kochu Karu hosts a musical evening accompanied by a four-course menu. José Miranda Morillo and Bin Lee-Zauner specially attune the evening's repast to the musical selections. Soprano Bin Lee-Zauner still has a penchant for the German Romantic, and on these special evenings, all three cultures have a seat at the table.

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Author: Claudia Wahjudi

Eberswalder Str. 35
10437 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg

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