From adoption and Korean cooking to permanent home in the city center: 'Inja's Seoul Kitchen' settles in Willem II Street
12 July 2021

TILBURG - How strange and beautiful life can be at times. Until she found her biological family, Inja Hage-Koelemeijer had nothing to do with Korean cuisine, she will soon open her own permanent place on Willem II Street. A Korean deli where you can also take away meals. And from where they deliver.

She is 'very happy'. Tilburg's Inja Hage-Koelemeijer has come a long way, but in September will open a 'luxury toko' with professional kitchen on Willem II Street, next to Kras2 sandwich shop. Inja's Seoul Kitchen, Korean through and through. Where you can buy Korean ingredients, all kinds of kimchis (fermented cabbage) and kimbap (seaweed rolls).

The story of Inja is not just a catering story. If you want to see the beauty of your own business, you have to take a few steps back in time. In 1974, as a 5-year-old, she and her younger brother moved to the Netherlands after their adoption.

Found family

She hardly stood still for that adoption for years until the telephone rang in 2007. At the other end of the line is the Korean adoption association Arierang. Whether Inja needs contact with her mother? The first meeting follows the next day . Her biological mother has been looking for her for years, not knowing where to look. Finally she finds Inja.

With the recovery of the family, the love for Korean cuisine blossoms. Inja learns the tricks of the trade in Seoul, with her newfound niece. And she is apprenticed to her mother.

Blossoming cooking love

It won't be a restaurant, but it will be a place where you can cook plenty

She is increasingly cooking for others and is getting rave reviews. For years, Tilburg has been doing catering and setting up cooking evenings in all kinds of different catering establishments. In 2019, Inja will open a pop-up shop in the Velerlei building on Nieuwlandstraat. And now she is taking the step to her own building, on Willem II Street.

After almost 100 years, the building of the former frame shop became available there. “It won't be a restaurant, but it will be a place where plenty of cooking can be done,” says Inja. “We are having a professional kitchen built in it.” In Velerlei she already did pick-up and delivery, but at the new location it can be much more extensive. And she is given the space to display delicacies. "In addition, the pop ups and workshops will return, when everything is set up a bit." The new business will open in September.

One more time this…

We are here for everyone who feels involved in our region. Would you also like to know what is going on with us and what that means for you? Our reporters are the ears and eyes of the region and stand among the people. This enables us to bring you the very best regional news without fuss, but always with decency. But you can also contact us for reliable (inter)national news, sports and entertainment. What you read, see or hear with us may touch you.