Paris’s most authentic Korean restaurant lies tucked away in the 13th Arrondissement.
Misso is even BTS-approved. Members of the Seoul-based K-pop group said they didn’t have a chance to miss Korean food while on tour this past summer because of places like Misso.
It’s no wonder. Walking into the shop feels like walking into your favorite aunt’s kitchen. Chef Young-Kyung Lee prepares her dishes with the same warmth and love with which she greets her customers.
Bibimbap is the most popular item on the menu, it’s a Korean rice dish filled with marinated and fried vegetables and/or meat of your choice. Chef Lee never fails to ask how spicy you want it—and since we’re talking about authentic Korean food—beware of the gochujang sauce, it’s hot!
Lee neatly plates the colorful, vibrant meal. It’s not an understatement to call it a work of art. After all, Lee left Seoul to study sculpture at a fine arts school in Paris in 2003. She told Fred Chesneau of the television series, Le Globe Cooker, that she missed her mother’s cooking and kimchi so much, it led her to start up Misso in 2006.
Her nostalgia for Korean cuisine and culture plays an important role in shaping the Korean community in Paris. Misso extends far and wide beyond the doors of its small restaurant, catering events such as weddings and parties all around the city. Lee also teaches cooking classes, bringing a piece of Seoul with her everywhere she goes.
Although the restaurant itself is about the size of a Parisian one-bedroom apartment, it’s worth cramming into a stool by the window—if not already taken, that is—to chat with Lee as she prepares the food. Her face beams whenever you express interest in Korean language or culture. And before you chow down, she’ll wish you “bon appétit” in French or Korean.
With a belly full of the best rice in town, you’ll be sure to leave with a big misso (smile) on your face.
Not sure what to do next in the neighborhood? Take a Street Art Tour of the Butte-aux-Cailles!