By RACHAEL FREY
April 9, 2018
When Roy Oh volunteered for a humble job cooking for a fundraiser at his church, a spark was lit. He enjoyed cooking so much that he quickly became the go-to guy for Christmas dinners and other large events.
“I found I was really enjoying myself and had a knack for it,” Oh says.
At the time, he was running a vinyl graphics business, but sold it to start his dream of becoming a restaurateur. He began working in kitchens and just a couple short years later, opened Anju with his wife Anh on December 31, 2008. Their first major challenge arose when Anh gave birth to their first child just nine months later, leaving Oh to handle the restaurant on his own.
While the first three years weren’t exactly a breeze, word began to spread around town and in 2013, Oh took the risk of shutting down the restaurant in order to build a bigger and better Anju.
In partnership with the Concorde Group, he reopened a year later at the busy corner of 4th Street and 17th Avenue SW, and the extra space has been more than needed as Anju has risen to one of the most respected and beloved restaurants in the city.
The clever and contemporary fusion of Korean food with inspirations from around the globe, draws in restaurant industry professionals, foodies and just about everyone else night after night.
Why did you choose to focus on Korean tapas?
A friend of mine that was in the restaurant business told me I should be cooking the food I grew up eating. I know Korean flavours better than any other so that was an easy decision. I also love the relationship between food and drinks. Anju (food eaten with alcohol) embodies that for me. It’s not just about the food but also about the relationship between what would be the best beverage to pair with that food. And the possibilities are endless!
Do you have a food philosophy?
Make food that tastes good and is something that you would enjoy eating yourself.
What is the #AnjuEffect?
That was created by Daniel Ramon, AKA Papi, from Teatro. It’s when you don’t like tofu but you try it here and fall in love with it, and now all you can think about is crispy tofu. It’s eating things at Anju that change the way you think about food and making you crave things you had no idea even existed. I’d say it’s an unexplained addiction to Anju food.