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A few days ago, I told you about a Po Zhitzata, the First Bulgarian Online School, which offers lessons in Bulgarian grammar, literature, history and geography to the children of expatriates and foreigners wishing to learn the language.

Today, I want to tell you about another entrepreneurial venture that serves as an ambassador of Bulgaria, Zelen restaurant in Seoul, Korea.

Zelen (which means green) was opened by two Bulgarian brothers, Mihal and Filip Ashminov and their Korean partner in 2007.  Mihal, who was previously a chef at the Sheraton Hotel in Sofia came to Korea when he was 21 to work at the Westin Chosun Hotel. There, he noticed that health-consious Korean women love his Bulgarian dishes. When he and his Korean partner came up with the idea to open a Bulgarian restaurant, Mihal called his brother, who was at that time a chef in Ireland, to come and get involved with the brave project.

Mihal and Filip Ashminovi, founders of Zelen Bulgarian Restaurant in Seoul

Since 2010, Zelen has two branches and is wildly popular among food aficionados in Seoul. There are four Bulgarian chefs and six Korean sous chefs. Mihal and Filip say that they do not adapt their recipes to the Korean taste: everything is prepared according to traditional Bulgarian recipes: Shopska salad, eggplant salad, tarator (cold cucumber soup), salami and mezze, sarmi (cabbage roll stuffed with rice and beef), stuffed peppers, vegetable moussaka, St. George’s style roasted leg of lamb, kiufte (meatball), shishche (skewers), yoghurt with honey, Bulgarian red wine, and so much more typical BG goodies.

Zelen is featured in ALL of Seoul’s BEST RESTAURANT GUIDES (,, and most articles recommend that you call in advance to book a table because the place is always full! MOST articles call Zelen “one of Seoul’s favorite restaurants”.

Well done, Bulgarian entrepreneurs! Keep up the good cooking!


More on Bulgarian Cuisine from My Blog: 

Buy Bulgarian Specialties at Trader Joe’s (photo)

Taking my Friends to The Crazy Cock, the Bulgarian Restaurant in London (many photos)

Preparing Bulgarian Christmas Eve Dinner (yum-yum photos)

Apres-ski: feasting on in Bansko (more eye-tearing photos)

The best Bulgarian cookbook IN ENGLISH that you can buy on Amazon


I believe in positive thinking and make-it-happen attitude. When you believe that you can achieve something, the whole universe aligns the right way and helps you achieve it.

Imagine the thickest fog around Sofia airport – you can’t see beyond the end of your suitcase.  All around you, outbound flights are being canceled and inbound flights are being transferred to another airport. But you know that you must take this flight to London and be there on time, and you are positive that you will fly. It so happens that you are scheduled to be on the only plane in the entire Bulgaria Air fleet that is able to fly during fog, so you simply take off like it’s a piece of cake!

During the flight, you sit in seat 6B, nervously chewing on your free paper cup and hastily skimming over your notes for tomorrow. The person in 6A looks over at the paper in your lap and strikes up a conversation. It turns out, he also conducts interviews and is happy to give you a few good tips and even quiz you a bit. The 3-hour flight flies by. Then, he and his colleague offer to give you a ride to your hotel. They go way out of their way and spend an extra 25 minutes to get you exactly to the front door so that you don’t get wet in the rain. They both wish you good luck for tomorrow.

On the next morning, you talk to a very kind taxi driver who wishes you good luck wholeheartedly.  When it’s time for the interview, you enjoy yourself tremendously. “Whatever happens”, you say to yourself, “I’m glad I did that.” But you secretly know that you have just found the place where you belong.

While waiting for a taxi, you have a great conversation with the company’s mailroom man, who wishes you good luck. You get in the taxi, but it turns out that another car is blocking your way out of the parking. By the license plate that spells out your favorite drink’s name, it becomes clear that it’s the car of the big boss that’s not letting you leave the office.

Later that night, you meet good friends of yours at a pub and realize that your favorite drink is made by this same company and is not a summer drink only, but also has a winter edition. Your friends order it for you and wish you good luck. On the way back, you see the gorgeous St. Paul’s cathedral and find a lucky penny on the ground.

As you wait at the airport to go home, you meet an employee of the same company in the duty free shop and have a great conversation. He wishes you good luck.

Your flight is 2 hours late, so you decide to sit down and write a post for your blog. You finish the post with the words “Friends, please wish me good luck because I’m expecting a call.”

You are just about to post it on your blog when you receive a call, which you would not have been able to receive had the plane not been delayed. When you finish the call, you delete the last line and instead write:

Dear friends, I just got my dream job!

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January 2012

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Your Green Eyes