“A show for the whole family.”
By Luke Mc Donnell
Have you watched Kim’s Convenience?
Now is a good time to start!
For the uninitiated, Kim’s Convenience is a multi-award-winning comedy sitcom following the lives of the Korean Canadian Kim family and their convenience store.
The story has been adapted for T.V. from Ins Choi’s 2011 play, which bares the same name.
Subsequently, Ins Choi is also an executive producer on this award-winning show.
The TV-sitcom, which is filmed in Toronto initially gained a Canadian following before going international when it arrived on Netflix.
Toronto is home to a large Korean population and even has its own Korea town. Although filmed in a studio, the exterior shots are from an actual store in the Moss Park area of Toronto, but more on that later.
The cast of Kim’s Convenience Store
Mr. Kim: (Paul Sun Hyung-Lee)
Also known as “Appa” in the show is played by actor Paul Sun Hyung-Lee.
He is the father of the family and takes great pride in his store. His interactions with his family and customers are often hilarious. As a character, he can be stubborn, but his heart is always in the right place.
Appa utters the quotable catchphrase “Ok see you!” to every customer leaving the store.
Mrs. Kim: (Jean Yoon)
Known to viewers as “Umma”, she is played by Jean Yoon.
As the name Umma suggests, she is the mother of the family and wife to Mr. Kim. She is a strong character and cares about her family deeply.
One continuous theme in the show is her rivalry with fellow churchgoer Mrs. Park. The two women are always trying to outdo each other, leading to many memorable exchanges at the church.
Janet Kim: (Andrea Bang)
The daughter of the household, Janet works at the store while attending University to study photography. Janet struggles with being a young modern woman in Toronto and living up to her parents’ traditional Korean values. Her Umma wants her to find a cool, Christian Korean boyfriend. Janet maintains such a boy does not exist! The scenes of cultural difference are both funny and relatable for many viewers in similar circumstances.
Jung Kim: (Simu Liu)
Jung is the families’ estranged son. When he was younger, Jung served time in juvenile detention and he was kicked out of Kim’s house. In the show, we learn that he has got his life back on track. He works at Handy Car Rental alongside his fellow Canadian Korean friend, Kimchee (Andrew Phung).
As the series progresses, Jung has a lot more contact with Umma and Janet. His relationship with his father still remains hostile, despite a heartwarming scene when Appa is admitted to the hospital.
Visiting The Actual Store
So now that you know all about Kim’s, what’s next you ask?
As the title suggests, it is time to visit the real store! It is located in Toronto, on 252 Queen St. East.
The area is a little bit run down. It is safe to visit, but also important to be aware of your surroundings when in the area.
Visitors, especially those coming from South Korea may not be used to a rougher neighborhood like this.
Despite this, it is definitely worth a visit!
The storefront is used for all of the exterior shots on the T.V program.
It was originally called Mimi variety, but the signs have now been changed to Kim’s Convenience.
The store has become a popular tourist attraction for fans of the show. It is run by a Korean family.
The owner encourages fans to sign the guestbook and he is very friendly, even offering to take photos.
The interior looks almost identical to the one on the show, even though they film it in a replica studio.
Pop in and buy some Canadian or Korean snacks like these Korean Honey Butter chips!
Enjoy this award-winning comedy, and keep an eye out for funny moments in the show, when the two cultures clash.
Also, let me know in the comment section about your favourite moments and lines from the show.