A Taste of Korea


Nyah Peace (with courtesy of Yelp)

Due to its promising suburbia, Georgia’s immigrant population continues to increase. The settling of immigrants contributes to new flavors and authentic treats emerging to cafes north of the city. The cafes sit 30-minutes away from the NC campus and promise big bites and “Instagram-able” backdrops.

J'nyah Peace, Reporter

From warm weather to smiling southern faces, the canvas of Georgia embraces immigrants. These attractive characteristics inspired immigrants to flock to Georgia and open new businesses inspired by recipes from their homes. The diversity in Gwinnett County’s Duluth, GA, which boasts a 25.40% Asian population, developed a variety of restaurants and provides an authentic taste of Asia. 

The strip of restaurants on the Diverging Diamond Interchange contains a handful of the popular Asian cafes in North Georgia including Snowflake Tea House, Tiger Sugar and Choong Man Chicken, and Coffee By Hand. These hidden spots bring exciting tastes to the city.

Coffee By Hand, arguably one of the more popular cafes out of the bunch, resides on Pleasant Hill Road. The Instagram-worthy interior gives Coffee By Hand unique appeal. Inside, you can find tangled strings of fairy lights sweeping the ceilings across the rusted metal design. Differently colored stains of wood cover the restaurant bringing contrast to the scene. The service counter, illuminated with warm pendants from above, provides a rustic and homey feel. Just behind the counters, the cooks craft aesthetically pleasing Korean-American treats.

Usually, servers hand out buzzers once customers order to alert them when their treats will arrive. Vintage license plates juxtaposed against intimate bays add to the uniqueness of the hidden gem. Often shortened to “CBH” by locals, the cafe serves hot foods such as waffle sandwiches and tteokbokki. Coffee By Hand, characterized by its tendency to stay open late, keeps doors open until 11 pm. While fairly uninviting by the eye from the road, the cafe stays popular from open to closing. 

The Chant’s Grade: B+ 

Snowflake Tea House provides a cozy environment and a powder pink wonderland. Just a few feet from Coffee By Hand, Snowflake Tea House uses its space to paint a pastel background for their authentic Korean desserts. The tea house offers Jenga and card games for customers while they dine. The defining specialties include floral china used for Asia imported tea and the unique Jenga-remnant sundae. The cafe offers moist breading cut into squares and stacked beautifully, topped with fresh ice cream and various toppings to complete the dish. 

The restaurant’s desired dish, “bingsu”, earns praise for its cheap price and surprisingly accurate Korean recipe. On Yelp’s Top 10 Best Bingsu in Georgia, Snowflake Tea House ranks 3rd, and the 345 reviews all rave over the shaved ice dessert. The authenticity and unique decor make this a popular choice for NC students despite the drive. 

“I love the bingsu shaved ice and I love the concept, it’s different from traditional ice cream. The desserts are unique from others in the NC area. The bingsu is especially refreshing and sweet,” magnet senior Angelina Sisouphanh said.

The Chant’s Grade: A+

Just a few miles away from the light-colored tea shop sits Tiger Sugar Duluth, a popular spot to visit in the area. Tiger Sugar offers a manicured boba tea experience with over 16 flavors available and endless combinations. From Japanese Mochi Boba, Engraved black tea to Taiwanese milk teas, the versatility differentiates Tiger Sugar from other boba places. The interior features notable modern sleek designs that decorate the area. Tiger Sugar regularly advertises its famous tiger pattern dripping brown sugar boba tea. 

Despite the drive, NC students enjoy the flavors of North Gwinnett Korean cafes. The dripping brown sugar “Tigerstripe” boba of Tiger Sugar remains a fan favorite to regular attendees. Tiger Sugar’s sleek interior makes it a perfect setting to dine and relax. “The handmade boba pearls on the bottom taste like brown sugar and then more sugar is drizzled around, the flavor is smooth in your mouth.” junior Chloe Ha said.
(Courtesy of Chloe Ha)

“Tiger Sugar has amazing space and the hype is worth it. It stays open late so you can bring your friends here after a long night, and it’s still busy until 10 pm. The servers are nice, too,” junior Chloe Ha said. 

The Chant’s Grade: A

Choong Man Chicken combines American fast food with Korean traditional sauces and sides. Their delicious fried chicken characterizes the restaurant. The snow onion and Korean vegetables complement the dish. Other traditional Korean twists on chicken include the popular tikkudak, which comes fried in various shapes of chicken roasted to perfection to create the perfect bite. The sauces warn away weak tongues, as the K-BBQ cafe specializes in hot, mouth-watering sauces. Choong Man Chicken serves as an introduction to American tastes by mixing styles of dishes to create culinary perfection. 

The Chant’s Grade: A

These restaurants, perched in a small corner, pack a variety of foreign flavors that originated from Korea with other Asian influences. As North Georgia opened its arms to incoming immigrants, new flavors emerged for everyone to enjoy. NC students may need to travel 35-45 minutes to reach the restaurants, however, the worldly taste makes the drive melt away. 

The Chant’s Overall Review: A