With Lunar New Year 2024 just around the corner, preparations are in full swing for the upcoming festivities taking place at the Central Market on Sunday 11th February.
After the success of last year’s celebrations at the Central Market, many businesses that took part are excited to see the festivities return. Speaking on the first event of its kind in Jersey, James and Kaylee, co-owners of JEJU said, “In past years, January and February had been a low season for us. It made us sad emotionally and financially not to have customers. But in 2023, we sold out all the time by participating in the festival. We have certainly seen more new customers after the festival.”
Supporting local is an important part of JEJU’s philosophy, alongside introducing islanders to authentic Japanese and Korean cuisine. Co-owners, James and Kaylee Mason, opened JEJU back in 2022, after the pair came back to live in James’s hometown of Jersey in 2020.
Utilising their unique location in the Fish Market means that JEJU can take advantage of the freshest local ingredients, many of which are sourced directly from their fishmonger neighbours.
JEJU is named after a small island off the coast of South Korea and Japan. When Kaylee would explain to her friends back home in Korea where she lived now, they didn’t know about Jersey, so she compared it to Jeju – in the way that Jersey has aspects of French and British, Jeju has aspects of Japanese and Korean history and culture.
To welcome in the Year of the Dragon, JEJU will be serving traditional Tteok Mandu Guk, a soup of dumplings, rice cakes, beef brisket, spring onion and garlic submerged in a rich beef bone broth. A warming hearty soup with a rich nutritious taste.
Korea uses the Lunar Calendar much like other parts of Asia. Lunar New Year is perhaps the most significant date in the Korean calendar and in Korea is the equivalent to Christmas. Many Koreans celebrate Lunar New Year by travelling from all over the country to join up and celebrate together, meeting with family members to eat tons of special foods and spend quality time together.