They are called Munguntuul and Batsaikhan Damdindorj. A melody of phonemes unusual for Brittany, and which refers to the song of the steppes more than that of the dunes. And for good reason. This couple of restaurateurs who opened their first restaurant in Saint-Brieuc was born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They met 9,300 kilometers from Saint-Brieuc. She, Munguntuul, is studying to become a beautician. Her mother is a prosecutor. And his father works in the cultural field. “He even launched a hook radio before The Voice was in fashion,” she says.
First encounter with the sea
Batsaikhan’s father is an electrician. And her mother makes traditional costumes. He becomes a bailiff. His job brought him some difficulties, which led the couple to go into exile and find refuge in France. Paris first, in 2004, then very quickly Saint-Brieuc. “We arrived there by chance,” admits Batsaikhan, who still remembers his first encounter with the sea. She will offer him her first side job “in mussel farming”.
Healthy recipes, with lots of vegetables
But the couple have other ideas in mind. In 2011, Munguntuul began culinary training. In Rennes and Paris. No question of considering opening a restaurant serving Mongolian cuisine. “There, the food is adapted to life, to the climate. Here, it would be considered too fat! “
Kimchi, japchae and bulgogi
Munguntuul is “passionate about cooking”, but she also has “Korean origins” through her great-grandfather. And then his children are passionate about Japanese and Korean culture. K pop and health tip the scales: it will be a Korean restaurant. “These are healthy recipes, with lots of vegetables”.
Everything is homemade
The establishment opened in February 2020, just before the first confinement. Moko Food offers classics from the South Korean menu. Obviously kimchi, which the French know little about. It is a cabbage fermented with chilli and ginger, and which has the property of developing a specific probiotic. “It’s very good for your health,” insists Batsaikhan. Contrary to what one might assume, the taste is smooth and balanced.
The couple also cooks bulgogi, bibimbap. Japchae, sweet potato noodles, and Korean sushi, kimbap. “Everything is homemade, I learned from a Korean chef,” explains Munguntuul. “But we adapt the recipes to European taste, not too spicy for example”.