Home Travelogue The Man who brought Everest to Korea

The Man who brought Everest to Korea

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The Man who brought Everest to Korea
Author (Right) having Chicken Makni (butter chicken) and Naan bread with friends

Since 2002 Everest is a Nepalese/Indian specialty restaurant with over 20 years of history in South Korea

Ashraf Aboul-Yazid

Editor-in-Chief, the Silk Road Literature Series

Four years ago I visited Nepal. It is a small country, its right hand holds the palm of China, and its left hand rests on the shoulder of India, so that between them appears a nut in the jaws of a giant crusher… It has Mount Everest; the tallest peak in the world, continuously visited by travelers and adventurers, and Buddha, the boy who is deified by millions around the world.

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The Man who brought Everest to Korea, H. M. Gurung

Awaiting me was Bishnu Nisthuri, a brilliant journalist, friend and fellow of Asia Journalist Association (AJA). Common name Bishnu has a secret. Naming a Nepalese child with one of the Hindu gods is common because of the religious nature of the daily life in the Nepalese society. Thus, the name of the Hindu god Bishnu or Vishnu, and 150 of its vocabulary index, some of which are also known as Hafiz, is given to boys, and Bishnu is a god with four arms that indicate his strength and power.

As a gift for a first-time visitor to Nepal, Bishnu was in store for a pleasant surprise. He booked me a flight for the early morning of the next day, in which the plane would circle its passengers over the Himalayas, and circle the most famous of them; Everest. The plane bears an emblem of a giant foot, representing the foot of the Ice Man (Yeti).

In the farewell evening, and after buying the return ticket, Bishnu Nisthuri was invited to a company in a musical atmosphere, in which we had dinner, in which vegetarian dishes were mixed with chicken dishes buried in the fire, cooked with hot sauce, with folk dances and singing, and the Nepalese woman appeared again, But this evening she was singing with her colleague dressed as a peacock. We bid farewell to friends, and promise them another visit, to continue listening to the rest of Nepal’s songs.

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Writer interviews Everest Group President Mr. H. M. Gurung

This week, I recalled all those memories when three friends invited me three times to Everest Restaurant. In two of the three times I was happy to meet the man who brought Everest.

Located in Dongdaemun, it was a Metro station away from residence and office in Seoul. I was told that this dynamic area has multi-cultural residents who enjoy their local foods in these international restaurants.

I ordered Chicken Makni, or butter chicken, which I had for the first time in Rajasthan and learned to cook at home. But the difference remains, which is naan bread, with butter or garlic

On the story of his restaurant, Everest Group President Mr. H. M. Gurung, told me that “Since 2002 Everest is a Nepalese/Indian specialty restaurant with over 20 years of history. We aim to introduce the colorful culture and traditional tastes of Nepal/India and provide a special dining experience to our customers. Since opening our first store, we have been providing delicious and healthy food based on high-quality ingredients and traditional recipes. Everest branch operates a total of 8 stores in Seoul (Dongdaemun branch, Good Morning City branch, Yeongdeungpo branch, Yangjae branch) and Gyeonggi (Tongtan Lotte branch, Suwon Yeongtong branch, Goyang and Hanam Starfield branches). Our goal is to experience various cuisines of Nepal and India and provide better meals and enjoyment. We will make a lot of effort to manage the store and improve service while preserving the traditional taste. We hope you enjoy the beautiful culture and cuisine of Nepal/India.”

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Writer presenting his book ‘The Memory of Silence’

Of course, I ordered Chicken Makni, or butter chicken, which I had for the first time in Rajasthan and learned to cook at home. But the difference remains, which is naan bread, with butter or garlic, as I do not have a home oven to make it!

This year, 2024 which marks as a special year for Nepal & Republic of Korea as two culturally rich nations are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic bilateral ties.

As my friend Bishnu Nisthuri, the iconic Nepalese journalist told me that many Koreans visit Nepal each year, drawn by the opportunity to hike in the Himalayas or visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. Annually, over 30,000 Koreans visit Nepal, Similarly, over 100,000 Nepalese have worked in Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS).

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The restaurant is keen to hold educational courses for its hostesses and chefs, in order to be the best ambassadors of Nepali culture in the art of food.

When I attended the conference organized by Nepal Embassy in Seoul, on Buddhism in Nepal, I thought of another mutual relationship, India and Nepal, as researcher were talking about Buddha, considering him a Nepalese or Indian. The man who brought Everest to Korea solved it, his dishes represent the two countries, and it is a great solutions that the two countries represent Buddhism.

The restaurant is keen to hold educational courses for its hostesses and chefs, in order to be the best ambassadors of Nepali culture in the art of food. When I talked to Everest Group President Mr. H. M. Gurung, on the musical experience I had when I was in Kathmandu, he should me some performance videos in other branches of Everest Restaurant. I told him that as chicken is Halal, he may also introduce Halal songs, where no other drinks offered for customers than juices!

When I gave him my book, I read one of the poems, dedicated to his lovely country. I thanked him for bringing Everest to Seoul, outside the restaurant it was raining, but atop of the mount the ice was melted by the warmth of lovely hearts when they meet.

Read: Reflections on a Korean Language School

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Ashraf Aboul-Yazid is a senior journalist, poet and writer from Egypt. He is author of some three dozen books on poetry, and other subjects including novels, travelogue etc. 

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