Joseph Kim, originally from South Korea, has been living in Bangladesh for the last 12 years. He became popular on the internet for his YouTube channel called ‘Koreanbhai’ where he uploads daily vlogs in Bangla.
In one of the recently released videos, Korean vlogger Joseph Kim, better known as "Korean Bhai", mentioned that he loves Bangladeshi street food. But he has not been able to try his favourite street food "phuchka" in the last three months due to the Covid-19 shutdown.
A video titled "Korean's Favorite Bangladesh Street Food | Fuchka VLOG" was published from Joseph Kim's channel on June 23.
Joseph started the video by saying that all the street food shops are now closed. "I waited a long time, but I can't anymore. I must have it today, I will make "puska" (phuchka) today - my favourite and Bangladesh street food king."
In the video Joseph is seen going to the supermarket to buy the few basic ingredients for making "puska" - that is how he pronounces it in his broken Bangla accent.
Towards the end of the video, Joseph shares the plateful of phuchka he made with his uncle's chauffeur and the security guards of his building, sharing a good laugh while making memories together.
Joseph Kim, or Korean Bhai, is a YouTuber who gained popularity for his interesting videos and cooking vlogs in Bangla. Joseph travels across the country and attends various events to capture the beauty and versatility of Bangladeshi culture through his videos. He can sing a few Bangla songs as well.
In an exclusive interview with The Business Standard, the popular vlogger spoke about his journey in Bangladesh, and shared his dreams and aspirations.
"I am 27-year-old now and I came to Bangladesh when I was 15 with a plan to attend middle school, as I wanted to study under the American curriculum and learn English, which my family could not afford in South Korea because the schools that offer international standard curriculum were very expensive."
"I studied at Ebenezer International School from grade nine to 12 as my aunt and uncle are teachers there," Joseph said.
Later, after graduating from high school, Joseph enrolled at the North South University (NSU) to study economics.
"Initially, I planned to go back to South Korea after graduating from high school in Bangladesh. My dream was to become a comedian, but it changed while living in Bangladesh," he added.
Continuing, he said, "Now my dream is to build a school in Bangladesh for the poor children. From grade four, I followed my dream (to be a comedian). I tried making comedy shows with my friends. From Grade 12, I have been following my new dream, which is to help the poor children. I have seen so many poor children here who do not have their own dreams.
"It's because they have to work hard. I was a very naughty child and was not born to a rich family in South Korea. We had lots of loans to pay back. But my parents always supported my dreams."
On how he learned Bangla, Joseph said, "When I first came to Bangladesh, both my English and Bangla skills were poor. My uncle's son helped me learn Bangla in the beginning. Later, I learned more words and tried to carry on conversations in everyday life while interacting with others in Bangla.
"On my first day at NSU, I was the only foreign student in the class and the professor started his lecture in Bangla. I stood up and told him that I did not understand Bangla very well," he said, laughing, adding, "Most professors used to take classes in English. They helped me improve my listening skills in Bangla. My friends helped me a lot to learn Bangla as well."
"I also watched Bangla natok to learn the language," he added.
As a food enthusiast, Joseph owns a restaurant, called "K-CUPBOB" located in Bashundhara Residential Area, although it has been closed due to the Covid-19 shutdown. "I had to communicate with my employees in Bangla, which is why I got a dictionary and learned more Bangla words and the Bangla names of vegetables."
"One of the reasons I opened the restaurant was because I wanted to provide my Bangladeshi customers Korean food at an affordable price," Joseph said.
On speaking about how he likes living in Bangladesh, he said enthusiastically, "I love living here in Bangladesh and I love the people here as well. Ninety percent of the comments on my YouTube channel are from Bangladesh, which shows their support. They love my content in Bangla."
Joseph said that he enjoys K-Pop and his restaurant is inspired by K-Pop elements. His favourite K-Pop group is Grand Monster.
"The Korean community here in Bangladesh is very strong and good. They celebrate various traditional occasions and we celebrate Korean night every year as well," Joseph said.
While talking about his content creation process, Joseph explained that his YouTube channel is his diary and memoire.
"I do not think much about my content, but I always carry my camera with me. And while editing the videos, if I do not like it, I do not publish the content on the channel," Joseph said.
"I used my mobile phone camera before, but I recently bought a new camera which I am now using for making the videos."
Joseph usually uses an iPad for editing his videos as it can be carried around while he is roaming around or heading to work.