TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT LIA PPANG AND HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Many Koreans living in Berlin miss that authentic Korean taste. I noticed that there was a real lack of Korean-style breads and cakes in Berlin and so I decided to make my own.
At first, I was just baking and sharing it with my friends and then once they gave me positive feedback I realised I had to keep baking and create that taste that many Koreans miss.
That’s how the ‘Walnut Cookie Girl’ business started. Before that I was selling Korean street snacks at food markets (sometimes in the wind and the rain). Finally, a friend of mind gave me the cafe spot and I feel very lucky to have it.
HAVING BEEN TO SEOUL, I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT COFFEE AND CAKE CULTURE IS TO KOREANS, WHAT MAKES COFFEE AND DESSERT SO SPECIAL TO SOUTH KOREANS?
I think coffee culture has developed a lot in South Korea.
Korea is a very complex, fast-moving country and in the midst of that, people had to work hard, long hours and I think they got their energy from a quick coffee break. As time went on, more and more franchises were created, coffee trends appeared and now it is integral to the culture. Instead of getting energy via a quick coffee break, many Koreans take a moment for relaxation and relief and can spend hours sipping lattes and eating cake.
Satisfaction, for many Koreans, comes in the form of sweet, pretty desserts and strong coffee.
WHERE DID YOUR PERSONAL PASSION FOR DESSERT COME FROM? AND HOW DID YOU LEARN TO MAKE SUCH INTRICATE BAKED GOODS?
I’m not an eloquent or particularly extroverted person, nor am I a leader. I find solace in baking since it can be performed silently. Baking brings me gratification as the results are instantaneous. My passion grows each time someone enjoys one of my creations.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD OR BAKED TREATS BRINGS YOU BACK TO YOUR CHILDHOOD IN KOREA? IS THERE ANYTHING HERE IN GERMANY THAT COMPARES?
Oh, so many! Jajangmyeon, sweet potato cake, fruit cream cake, seasoned chicken…Many customers have told me that they find German desserts and bread too hard, but I keep my desserts super soft in texture.
HOW DO YOU FIND GERMAN COFFEE AND CAKE CULTURE COMPARED TO IN SOUTH KOREA?
I think Germans and Europeans in general spend their time relaxing and having fun with dessert and coffee or tea for a break. Koreans replenish their energy with coffee and sweets to feel rested and recharged.
THE CONCEPT OF ‘BALANCE’ IS SOMETHING WE DISCUSS REGULARLY ON THE JOURNAL. HOW DO YOU STAY BALANCED WHILE RUNNING A BUSINESS?
There are still many things to get used to with running a business in Germany and it can be stressful as it’s not something I’ve done before.
I don’t over do anything and basically try and stay calm and rest during my days off.
Baking seems to balance me and I always strive to balance my recipes carefully too- with taste, shape and scales.