Secret Scoop, a new Thai gelateria, and Bonchon, known for its Korean-style fried chicken, are bringing unique versions of Asian fusion food to Berkeley.
Secret Scoop, which opened in Berkeley on Thursday, is currently located at 1922 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Suite B. The establishment offers gelato flavors that reflect the rich aromas and tastes of Thailand, with a selection including thai iced tea gelato and raspberry basil sorbet, according to Funn Fisher, the owner and head chef of Secret Scoop.
Having lived in Berkeley, Fisher said she knew the area well and feels that her product matches the demands of the Berkeley community. She said the establishment caters to the health conscious by introducing a healthier alternative than Italian-style gelato.
“People in this area try to stay healthy and they are open to diversity and different cultures, and those are my target customers,” Fisher said.
Fisher said she believes its unique ingredients and flavors sets her establishment apart. The store, however, has significant competition in Italian gelato parlors in Berkeley.
“There’s already two other gelato places around here, so another one would increase competition,” said Rita Phang, an employee at Caravaggio Gelateria. “But there are a lot of loyal customers.”
Bonchon, which will be opening soon, brings Korean culture into an already robust market for fried chicken. The franchise first began in Busan, South Korea, and has since expanded across the globe, with a particularly strong following in New York.
The future Berkeley franchise will be located at 2050 Berkeley Way. The restaurant features a wide menu, including its signature fried chicken dishes as well as many other Korean delicacies, such as Japchae and Bulgogi.
The main selling point of Bonchon is the freshness of both the ingredients and its final product, which set it apart from other fried chicken restaurants, according to the restaurant’s website.
“Bonchon prides itself in the fact that all chicken is made to order, using the highest quality ingredients,” said Jinduk Seo, chief executive officer, and Hong Tae Kim, chief operating officer, in a press release.
Alexander Orejana, manager of Bopshop, a local Korean restaurant, said he believes that the opening of Bonchon will not drastically affect his business, because his restaurant is planning to cater to a more specific clientele through its rebranding. He added that they plan to cater to an early morning crowd by adding items such as acai bowls to their menu.
“Korean food is notorious for low quality vegetables and meat, and we are switching to a completely organic menu,” Orejana said. “Our prices will go up a bit, but with the quality we are confident that we will not be affected.”