Each of us has our own comfort food that reminds us of the warmth of our parents. There is a place where it serves such snacks named “Fruit between Bread,” keeping its place in a narrow alley in front of Ewha for 20 years since 1997. Mrs. Park, the owner of the cozy little snack bar, opened up the stories of two decades.
As its name suggests, Fruit between Bread sells sandwiches along with other snacks like fried rice and tteokbokki, a Korean food made from rice cakes and sweet red chilly sauce. But when Park first started her snack bar, sandwiches were the only menus available. Having various menus seemed to be too much for her to handle as she ran the restaurant by herself.
“It was one very cold winter day when some students came running inside speaking to themselves that they wanted to eat something hot and spicy,” Park said. “When I served them some tteokbokki, they would come again the next day and ask me if they could pay for another dish.”
Since there were other students having their meals at that time, she gave everyone a small cup of tteokbokki and they all suggested Park to put it up on the menu.
“It is no exaggeration to say that it was the students who brought my store to what it is now,” Park said. “Fried rice was also added to the menu after I realized how much students living away from their homes missed a bowl of rice their parents used to cook for them.”
Although Park is now well known for her kindness towards those who visit her shop, she recalled that her circumstances were quite different when she first settled in front of Ewha.
“I used to run a small business with my husband but it did not turn out well,” Park said. “Before I started my own snack bar I refused to meet or talk to anyone.”
However, after she started her own snack bar in front of Ewha, things began to change. Students who finished their meal would always comment about how good her food was. Some would even come to visit her to talk about their personal problems they could not tell their friends or parents.
“I felt as if the students’ energy were changing me into a brighter person,” Park said. “After years of working here, I now find myself focusing more on interacting with students rather than on making profits.”
Fruit between Bread is now one of the oldest places on the alley in front of Ewha. For the past 20 years, many snack bars had left the alley and large franchise cafés and restaurants newly settled. In the past, Park also considered leaving the alley time to time. As most people who visit Fruit between Bread are students or school employees, sales drop during summer and winter vacation. Also, as Park got older, her son would ask her to quit her snack bar and rest at home.
“As my daughter also graduated Ewha, all students are like daughters to me,” Park said. “Some graduates still visit me or ask if they could get a delivery service. How could I leave this beloved alley when students in the old days take a long way around just to have their meal here?”
Though the number of those who visit Fruit between Bread has decreased compared to the past, it is always filled with students having their meals on lunch and dinner times.
“As long as students and graduates find Fruit between Bread, I would keep my place if possible,” Park said. “Being able to work while meeting polite and beautiful girls is a delightful gift for me.”