Chef Chat, Part 2: Jin Ham

Yesterday Jin Ham of Shrimp Galley told us how running a seafood restaurant is better than being an engineer (bo-ring). Today he talks about what to get at Shrimp Galley and why today he faces more competition.

Eating Our Words: Have you improved on the flavor or technique after you took over Shrimp Galley?

Jin Ham: I learned everything they could show me 13 years ago. Now I have altered the recipes slightly over the years to make my customers happy. I really cleaned each restaurant up considerably, though. My engineering background has made me very meticulous on how clean my establishment is.

EOW: If someone comes in for the first time to Shrimp Galley, what should they order?

JH: Everything is very fresh and good. I would suggest the whole catfish, and make sure to try my shrimp too.

EOW: What brought you and your family to Houston?

JH: I was blessed with the opportunity of an "Invitation Immigration" status from South Korea. I created a relationship with a US business while in Korea, and they sent me here to train. While I was here, I visited my brother in Houston and really liked the city. I decided this is where I wanted to raise a family. I came here with nothing but uncertainty, and left the rest in God's hands.

EOW: Has your business been affected by the downturn in the economy?

JH: I feel a few things have become a battle for my livelihood. Before, there were very few restaurants to compete with on Telephone Rd. Now there seems to be food-service trucks on every corner, trying to fight for a limited number of customers. I continue to offer a quality product at an affordable price and put my foot down and say that I will not lose quality in order to compete with the food trucks' prices. I am proud to offer my seafood during Lenten as well, when my customers need it the most.

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