Ockhee Porter James Sports

(PJS)
Hey bro, thanks for joining us. You know how much the Porter James crew loves Ockhee! I’m so excited to eat some Korean goodness, washed down with a cold Cass when this lockdown is over!

For those who don’t know you or what you do, tell us who you are and give us a sound bite about Ockhee

(OCKHEE)
Kia Ora everyone! My name is Minkyu Lee aka Paul Lee and it’s an absolute honour to be part of the journal! Thanks for having me!

Ockhee is a sexy Korean joint located along Ponsonby road that opened just over a year ago! Me and my partner Lisa looked around for a space in every suburb of Auckland for over 2 years and it’s been a long time coming after a decade of hustling in the hospitality & retail scene. We serve straight up delicious Korean food with Natural wines and tasty beats.

(PJS)
Please share with us some of the inspiration behind the dishes you serve and the meaning behind Soul Food

(OCKHEE)
Well, ever since we came to New Zealand in 2012 it was really hard to find a Korean restaurant serving authentic Korean food to Kiwis and our vision was to serve Korean food the way it should be, not westernised at all. We were the only Korean restaurant in Ponsonby so we really wanted to do it the right way you know.. All our dishes' inspirations were mainly from Lisa’s mother. We hear a lot of our customers saying our food is Soul Food and In my opinion that’s because our chefs hustle to do everything in a traditional way, not compromised. Prepping Korean food is no joke but we make all the sauces from scratch and the soup bases simmer for hours and there’s a lot of pickling and fermenting involved which I reckon is what makes our food so soulful. It’s such a joy for us and makes it worthwhile to see people enjoying our food after all of this hard work you know! Shout out to our chefs Lisa and Seokhyeong for working with craftsmanship.

Ockhee Porter James Sports 

(PJS)
The design language through Ockhee is awesome. Interiors, illustrations and even apparel. Tell us a little bit about this?

(OCKHEE)
Oh wow, thank you brother! I’ve always wanted to create a unique space with my homies where like minded people, like us, can hang out, enjoy eating delicious kai, listening to damn tasty beats and with my talented friends' kindness and help we could create what Ockhee is now. Huge shout out to Ernie for designing the space, Kev Choi for on-going branding, Sure Shot for all the fruity art works and Dan Bali & Damo for e-commerce, shooting & modelling our merchandise. I’m just really happy & grateful to be able to do fun things with my homies huh.

Ockhee is an actual person from Korea and she is a 70s soul diva and because her name was short, witty and doesn’t have an English meaning (and because I like music) that I thought it would be fun to brand it after her name. It’s been really fun coming up with ideas, branding it and making merchandise for Ockhee. Oh by the way, we have got some really cool merchandise lined up for this spring and summer haha. I reckon you guys will vibe it! Stay tuned :) x


Ockhee Porter James Sports Ockhee Porter James Sports

(PJS)
Favourite place(s) to eat outside of Ockhee?

(OCKHEE)
Monday is the only day that I can eat outside and all the amazing eateries shut on Mondays huh. So sad bro haha. But I've been digging tasty tacos from LA MEXICANA in Grey Lynn lately.

Carnitas, chorizo mexicano and tinga with fully loaded with cheese & avocado are a hidden gem!

(PJS)
Now I have no doubt you spend a lot of time at the restaurant. But tell us what you get up to when you’re away from work?

(OCKHEE)
Haha yeah I hardly get any time away from work at the moment but I do really enjoy riding bikes whenever I get a chance. Nothing like riding in the wind. I’m the happiest when I’m riding huh.. Hopefully I can ride more this coming summer!

(PJS)
What does Min Lee’s everyday uniform look like? What are we most likely to catch you wearing?

(OCKHEE)
Bro I love wearing cool & unique clothes but I literally have to run around the floor all day every day and it has to be comfy and practical for me. Birkenstocks rules!!

(PJS)
You can only wear 3 pairs of shoes for the rest of your life. What are they?

(OCKHEE)
Birkenstocks, New Balance and 70s Chuck Taylor.

(PJS)
Tell us a piece of advice, a quote or something that’s inspired you recently?

(OCKHEE)
Self-awareness is the key to our happiness and I wish someone told me this in my early 20s.

If you are unhappy doing what you are doing right now, please spend some time finding out & knowing who you really are, what you really like and what you are really passionate about and stop living someone else’s life by listening to their opinions about what you should or should not do! Figure out what puts you on fire and don’t let anyone hold you back from doing what you love. The key is to give zero f**ks about what other people think of you! x

(PJS)
What does a life well-designed look like to you?

(OCKHEE)
I believe in what goes around comes around.. Sharing my joy to people around me, caring about each other and looking after each other is a life well-designed to me. I love my friends as I would be nothing without them. And also being patient and enjoying the process of achieving the goals that I want to achieve in my life is my kind of a life well-designed too. I often think about what it means to live our lives and I believe that there must be a purpose or reason for each one of us to be born in this world and given the time we have in this world huh. I've probably lived ⅓ of my life by now and would love to look back and think about your question again before I’m gone.

 

Ockhee Porter James Sports   

In Conversation with Min Lee of Ockhee