Like many of us, Chef Jamie Yoo began questioning his entire career during the pandemic. Bellecour, his primary employer for the past three years, became yet another casualty of the Minnesota restaurant scene in July 2020. But Yoo didn’t hang up his chef’s coat — partly because pastry boss and close friend Diane Moua pointed out a potential plan B: a booth in Minneapolis’ long-awaited Malcolm Yards Market.
“I thought it would be a good step toward the next journey for me,” Yoo tells Minnevangelist’s Andrew Parks in the new issue of Minnesota Monthly. “So I started brainstorming with my business partner and we decided to open Abang Yoli.”
Yoo tested and tweaked Abang’s menu at Meteor and Nighthawks pop-ups before opening at Malcolm Yards in August. The passion project was largely inspired by Yoo’s childhood memories and the ways food brought his family together when he was growing up in Seattle and Seoul.
Abang Yoli’s pièce de résistance is its Korean fried chicken served with house-made pickles, kimchi slaw, and a spicy gochujang or sesame ginger garlic sauce. While the kimchi reminds Yoo of the 500-pound batches his family would ferment for the entire neighborhood twice a year, the fried chicken is a nod to the crispy snacks his grandmother made him for being such a helpful prep cook.
The fried chicken sandwich is astoundingly tasty, but we’re also head over heels for Abang Yoli’s char siu — house-marinated Cantonese barbecue pork with jasmine rice and pickled jalapeños. Total sleeper hit.
To read Andrew’ full interview with Yoo, head over here. And be sure to check out Malcom Yards pronto if you haven’t already! Abang Yoli is one of eight fabulous vendors in there; other highlights include Advellum Vegetable Eatery for savory mung bean pancakes and other veg-friendly options, DelSur for Argentinian empanadas, Wrecktangle for Detroit-style pies, Momo Dosa for Nepali and Indian street food, and Bebe Zito for burgers and ice cream. 🥦🍕🍔🥟🍦♥️
The Market at Malcolm Yards
501 30th Ave. SE., Minneapolis, MN; 612-886-1022