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Koreatown
New Malden
Kingston upon Thames, KT3

Closest station: New Malden Rail
Oyster card can be used

Opening times vary

All locations mentioned are on High Street

New Malden: Koreatown in London

Nearly a third of the signs in New Malden are in Korean language, which makes my Chinese heart happy.

Just like China Town is to the Chinese, this town in southwest London is home to a majority of Korean immigrants and students alike.

Looking around on High Road, I see a wide variety of shops on either side: traditional Korean restaurants and cafés, Korean supermarket and hair salons as well as a Korean club.

Most of the street is dabbed in red, giving it a royal look. Even though the country is not ruled by any royal family anymore, majestic architecture and designs are still popular.

Modern palace

After much deliberation, I am inspired to go inside 'Palace'. And true to its name the restaurant transports me to yesteryears of traditional dining. Starting with steaming hot Korean fried rice, moving on to kimchi (seasoned side dish) and seafood pancake, and culminating with Korean fruit dessert, this is a highly enriching culinary experience.

Since restrictions on immigration were relaxed in 1989, the British Korean population has grown rapidly to around 30,000, and most of them - some say as many as 20,000 - live in New Malden. And to their comfort, everything from supermarkets to bakeries can be found here.

Feels like home

Korea Food in New Malden is the biggest supermarket of its kind in London. It houses a wide range of essential Korean goods, from hand-made Korean cakes, kimchi, and jinbang (buns with beef stuffing). All of them are freshly made.

Food is also on offer at 'Han', a local Korean Bar. However, people usually visit this place to get a feel of the latest Korean music, sip a glass of Makgeolli (rice wine) and enjoy a night of Korean style's karaoke fun.

New Malden is home to 'Hanatour', a Korean language school, set up to help Korean students get well versed in English, eliminating any language barriers. But you needn't enroll in a school to learn Korean. Just pop into Ham Je Pak, the Korean café at the end of the street, and embark on a learning experience of a different kind.

New Malden is an easy way to experience everything Korean, only with no flight expenses.

Di Zou