Stories, Taoke (Business)

A New Snack to Look Forward to and Try – Katsu Balls!

Most of us have already tried tonkatsu at this point. Tonkatsu is a popular yet simple deep-fried breaded pork cutlet dish, which is usually served with shredded cabbage and miso soup.  It was originally known as “katsuretsu,” which is Japanese for “cutlet,” and was modeled by a beef-based kind of yoshoku. It was initially offered in a Western restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, in the 1890s. In the 1930s, the word “tonkatsu” (pork katsu) was coined. 

Although the breaded pork cutlet meal is a fantastic dish on its own, celebrity chef Jong Won Paik or also known as the “food god” of South Korea has made his own version of it by rolling the flat cutlet into a ball. Together with Eung-Seo Kim, they have created and established “Ball Katsu.” 

This popular and delicious snack is now something you should look forward to and try as it’s now available in the Philippines! Ball Katsu’s first Philippine branch, which opened last December 10, is currently found on the fifth floor of the SM Megamall Food Hall.

Katsu balls, katsu burgers, rice bowls, and curry rice meals are offered by Ball Katsu Philippines. The most notable ones are their burgers and of course, their katsu balls. They have three burger flavors—Spicy Salsa, Tartar, and Teriyaki. They all use the same seasoned minced pork patty but have different fillings (each costs P169). As for the Katsu Balls, there are two options available— the OG Ball Katsu (P149/piece, P699 for a box of five) and the Cheese Ball Katsu (P169/piece, P799 for a box of five).  

Paul Tiu, one of the owners of Ball Katsu Philippines, and his partners were able to master the franchising of this popular snack here in the Philippines. Before moving into the food industry, Paul started his career in corporate, where he held positions as an engineer and a leasing manager. After that, he started several businesses and worked as a freelance real estate broker.

Before Ball Katsu’s successful launch, Paul and his partners dealt with a lot of challenges to franchise it. One of them is the language barrier, which made it challenging to communicate and coordinate with the people of Ball Katsu Korea because the brand was founded in South Korea.

Paul and his colleagues witnessed the growth and popularity of Ball Katsu in Korea, despite starting at the peak of the pandemic. With almost 70 outlets in Korea, they have recently expanded into other markets including Canada, Japan, and the Philippines.

As such, with the goal of introducing a new product for the masses to try and providing more opportunities to Filipinos, Paul and his partners acquired the master franchise. There is no disputing that Paul and his team were able to go above and beyond the challenges they had in establishing their newest franchise after the successful launch of Ball Katsu Philippines.

Paul also offers advice to young entrepreneurs wanting to go on a similar path as him: “Innovate, enjoy what you do, of course, meet lots of friends, have teamwork, dream big, and go for your dreams.” 

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