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Meet the millennial who owns numerous food ventures around the Metro

In an article about millennials, revealed the results of a survey conducted among members of Generation Y and their idea of work. According to the article, Generation Y workers (people in their 20s and early 30s) not only want their workplace to be fun, but they also want to make their own hours and eventually be their own boss. Above all, millennials want to be happy at work. 

Jayson Sio is doing exactly that. At 33, this architect is an entrepreneur with thriving ventures in the food business. A franchisee of the chicken joint Birdhouse and shareholder of the Malaysian resto PappaRam, he’s also the owner of Mokja! 

Korean for “Let’s eat!” or “Kain tayo!” the restaurant with two branches is absolutely bustling with foodies craving for unlimited servings of samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), bulgogi (marinated grilled beef), galbisal (beef ribs), kkanpunggi (garlic fried chicken), and other authentic Korean favorites. 

And he’s just warming up. “I’m always game for new things!” says Jayson, who isn’t afraid to explore a wide range of activities and endeavors. More importantly, this millennial isn’t just in it for himself, as proven by his unexpected answer to our question on his biggest dream. 

My Pope chats with this millennial who could teach us all a thing or two about the way we look at work and life. 

Also Read: Doing Their Part: Millennials tell us how volunteer work changed their lives

Jayson Sio (right) with the co-owners of Mokja! Banawe Branch.

How long has Mokja! been around? 

Mokja! Korean Restaurant first opened in Maginhawa Street in August 2016. We opened our Banawe Street branch on May 13, 2018.  

Your restaurant is packed! What do you think is the attraction? 

People will always be drawn to good food—however, in the food industry, especially with the rising competition, serving delicious food is not enough. Nowadays, crowds have learned to appreciate aesthetics, good service, and convenience. In addition, we have surveyed that our customers are also fans of K-dramas, which makes them want to try our authentic Korean dishes, as seen in the dramas.

Have Koreans eaten here? What is the feedback?

Yes! Koreans have visited us and gave us positive feedback. I can still remember back in 2017 where a Korean guest got teary-eyed when she tasted our kimchi and claimed that she remembers her mom’s home-cooked meals.

Do you think Korean cuisine is a phase? 

Not at all. Especially when we talk about UNLIMITED REAL/AUTHENTIC KOREAN BUFFET, I believe that the demand will stay strong in the Philippines. 

You are an architect. Do you still practice? You also have other food ventures. Why did you shift to food? 

Yes. Actually my architecture firm is still my main business line. We design a number of well-known companies and brands such as PNB, Kumori, Birdhouse (which I had the opportunity to franchise one branch in Glorietta 4, Makati), and many more. Food business is just my way of breaking the ice. Also, since I’m not very good at handling my own savings, I’d rather invest it somewhere where it can grow.

What do you like about your job and running a restaurant? 

I love design. I love art. I love meeting people and somehow, although architecture and the restaurant business are not related, I get to use my skills in both ventures, which I enjoy a lot. 

What else would you like to do? 

I am always game for new things! I have tried shotgun shooting, archery, bowling, and whatever. Recently, I received invites from friends to do wall climbing too and I might just give it a try. I am currently exploring other businesses such as build and sell and real estate. I dream to have my own construction company and build whatever my hand draws. 

What is your biggest dream? 

To make my mom happy and proud. We’re very close. She’s my inspiration. She fought the biggest battles in life. I even witnessed one of the biggest, breast cancer. 

We all have one [mother], just one. So when I can, I bring her with me when I travel and when I visit my restos. 


Text by Joy Rojas. Photos courtesy of Jayson Sio.

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