Korea Comes To Tiger Town Yolk Asian Kitchen
You may expect to find a plethora of diverse ethnic cuisine in Greenville’s evolving urban landscape, but did you know that tucked into a nondescript strip mall on the main drag in Clemson is one of the hottest spots for Korean fare in the Upstate?
Yolk Asian Kitchen, the brainchild of owner/cook Troy Song, has become a popular culinary destination for students, townspeople and visitors alike. Technically described as a fusion restaurant with Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese influences, Song prefers to refer to Yolk as his adaptation of Korean food, symbolic of how his “taste buds have changed since living here,” he says.
Combinations like The Palmetto, a hot rice bowl with chicken, cabbage and asparagus, reveal a unique twist on traditional flavors, while classic Korean dishes like Bibimbap (which Song has cleverly renamed Bi Bim Bob) showcase a delectable and nutritious assortment of vegetables and proteins. And as the restaurant’s name implies, all rice bowls are topped with a glistening sunny-side-up fried egg.
In addition to rice bowls, Song offers Korean BBQ, Korean tacos, soup, rice paper eggrolls (unfried, like summer rolls), and signature housemade drinks, including ginger ale, kombucha and iced green tea—all crowd favorites.
Song developed his restaurant chops working for a catering company after college and refined them by learning how to make sushi in California. He came to Clemson several years ago after his mother and stepfather relocated to the area. “I knew I wanted to open a restaurant, so I found this spot, jumped into it, and continue to learn everything as I go,” he says. Yolk is truly a family affair; Song’s mother Hanna Byers works as cashier and makes the kimchi, which can be purchased by the jar.
Yolk is Song’s first—but probably not his last—restaurant. “Being in a college town, I’m aware of offering dishes that appeal to a broader audience now,” Song says. “I have a temptation to do more authentic traditional Korean cuisine down the road, maybe in Greenville or Anderson.”
But for now, Song is happy just where he is. “There’s a surprising number of people here who have either been to Korea or at least have ties to Korea,” says Song. “Many told me opening a Korean restaurant in Clemson would be a bad idea. But I’m happy to be proving them wrong. Clemson is an inclusive community, and I feel I belong here.”
Yolk Asian Kitchen
906-3 Tiger Boulevard