After two canceled weddings during the height of the pandemic, Korean American chef Chris Cho and his wife decided they wanted their wedding to be fun and filled with everyone and everything they love — including Korean ramyun.
So, they designed a ramen bar for their wedding and shared their idea on Chris's TikTok (@chefchrischo), where it immediately went viral. The video has been viewed nearly 1.5M times, received 197.9K likes, saved 10.7K times, and garnered more than 1K comments.
"We both share a love for Korean ramyun, and we thought it would only be fitting to have our guests enjoy late night eats after drinking and partying," Chris and his wife — who requested not to be named — told BuzzFeed.
"We had a simple setup with an assorted variety of our favorite Korean ramyun," they said. "Guests poured in the water themselves, and there was a QR code to upload any videos or pictures of themselves enjoying their late night eats."
Now, you might be wondering about the logistics of a ramyun bar, and luckily, it's pretty straightforward. After letting their vendor know they wanted to add a ramyun bar next to their dessert station, Chris and his wife provided the assorted Korean ramyun themselves, as well as their own hot water dispenser and disposable chopsticks.
As for how they came up with a ramyun bar in the first place, Chris shared, "Honestly, this was my wifey's idea. We all know that wedding food is AIIIITE, and we're always looking for an extra munchie after the liquor hits." They figured a few guests would probably have ramyun at home after the wedding anyway — whether because the wedding food didn't fill them up or in hopes of preventing a hangover — so, Chris and his wife decided to offer ramyun at their wedding instead.
Needless to say, it was a hit with guests, who told the newlyweds that it was very "them" to create a ramyun bar. "It was definitely an unexpected and great surprise for them," Chris and his wife added. "Our guests, including our parents, enjoyed slurping hot noodles after a night of dancing."
They were also happy to see how strongly people connected with their video and enjoyed the ramyun bar online, too. "After posting this, we had comments from other couples who have had pho and taco stations — a fun way to make your wedding truly you," they said.
"And that's the whole thing about my brand," Chris, who has been a professional chef for more than 10 years and owns two Korean restaurants in Philadelphia, explained. "We didn't do any of this to go viral. We just share our life as authentically as it is, and that's why people resonate with us. Having instant ramyun before it went viral was probably a bad idea and seen as not classy. Now, everyone thinks it's brilliant. But that's what it's about: being you, being authentic, and telling your story whether people love it or not."
That mission to authentically represent himself, Korean food, and Philadelphia is what motivated Chris to share his recipes and connect with people online when the pandemic hit. Since then, he's amassed 2.1M followers on TikTok and 640K followers on Instagram.
"I want the next generation to know that being your authentic self is what it's all about," he said. "More Asian kids being proud of their culture and cuisine — and not just Asians but any immigrant of any culture in America should be proud to show and share their story, because that's what our country is about."