Jinri unleashes her inner foodie
Tinnie P. Esguerra (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Not many people know that Jinri Park — the Korean DJ, model and actress — is also a certified foodie.

In-between her tapings for GMA 7’s Little Nanay and her TV5 online show, Tanods, Jinri works as a maitre d’ of a restaurant three times a week.

“I love food!” she exclaims.

“I took up medicine in Korea but realized after two years that it wasn’t for me. I initially wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps as a doctor, but my uncle suggested that I take HRM, which I did. In hindsight, I’m thankful that I did, because I want to be a restaurateur in the future.”

Jinri graduated with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Enderun College in 2012.

True to her Korean heritage, Jinri can whip up traditional homegrown recipes such as Kimchi Jjigae or Dwenjiang-Jjigae.

Like most Pinoy families, meal times are always good bonding moments for Jinri’s family.

“My mom cooks. We have rice and then Banchan, which are small side dishes and a bowl of soup. Kimchi Jjigae is a hearty dish that my mom and my grandma would always cook for me and it feels like home whenever I eat it. It’s like my comfort food. It reminds me of my grandma because she makes the best version I know,” she says proudly.

Although her family relocated to Cebu when she was six and spent most of her growing up years in the Philippines, Jinri confesses that she still hasn’t tried her hand at cooking Filipino cuisine.

“Although my favorite Filipino food is sinigang,” she swears.

Just recently, Jinri hosted the program for the grand opening of Kiwa Korean Grill, the newest restaurant at Solaire Resort and Casino and the only high-end Korean resto in the country.

True to form, the sexy Korean bombshell was at her best element as she described the dishes served to the guests, including Chadolbaegi Salad, Japchae, Yang Nyeom Gal Bi, Samgyeopsal and traditional Korean rice cakes for dessert.

Feeling very much at home in Kiwa’s homey ambiance, Jinri points out the restaurant’s tasteful fusion of Korean tradition and chic, modern sophistication.

“It’s very Korean but modern. The lamps they have use Korean paper. The table setting is very Korean. It looks very high end,” she stresses.

Given the opportunity to open her own resto, Jinri prefers a coffee or wine shop.

As for her showbiz career, Jinri hopes to explore more hosting opportunities and dreams of having her own travel show.

She narrates, “Last year, I quit my job and just traveled. I spent all my money. I went to China, New York, Japan, Bangkok, Turkey, Greece, Albania... like, 16 countries!”

“I traveled alone — backpacking, couch surfing. It was a very good experience, because I realized that I could adapt to any environment, and that I’ve become more understanding of people from various cultures. It has made me more open-minded.”

Jinri’s eyes widen with excitement as she recounts the most memorable part of her year-long journey.

“I went to Macedonia. It’s a small country. There’s this place called Ohrid, a certified Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. I was surprised at how beautiful and peaceful the place is. It looked like a place where fairies would live. It is one of the cheapest countries in Europe. Everything is so fresh. You can literally taste where it came from. They have fresh trout, they have locally-made wine. I was amazed that they don’t export it.”

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