The scent of ginger wafts through the air. Dim lights hover above tables and glow in the dark wooden floor. The décor, as well as the cuisine, is a masterful blend of modern and traditional aesthetics.
Sora Asian Dining, owned and operated by David and June Kang, opened its doors for the first time on Jan. 28, making it the newest Asian restaurant in downtown Provo. Sora is currently offering Japanese dishes, but will soon branch out to include Korean and Chinese foods to add a wide variety.
“We wanted to open a more upscale Japanese restaurant,” June said. “I have a Chinese chef, a Japanese chef and I’m Korean. Right now we will focus on Japanese, but want to add more Asian flavors.”
June distinguished the differences between Chinese and Japanese foods. Chinese is defined by the tenderness and juiciness of the meats and vegetables, and a large amount of oil is used in the cooking.
“Japanese is more fresh and not as much grease,” June said. “There is less seasoning and when you taste it, it is clean in your mouth.” The Kangs make their Japanese dishes healthier and try to use local produce.
The couple also owns the Vietnamese Pho and Noodle House on State Street in Orem. They have a deep love for all Asian food and opened Sora Asian Dining in an attempt to spread their love even further.
The Kangs moved to Utah from Korea in order to attend BYU. June and David met while going to school and dove into the restaurant business together. June had previous experience with the food industry while working at her aunt’s Chinese restaurant during her early years at BYU.
The restaurant life has always been a big part of the Kang family and their four children typically help in the restaurant. However right now the Kangs have two children serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: a son in New York City and a daughter in Taiwan.
June talked about her passion for the hustle and bustle of restaurant life. “My favorite part is learning to cook everything from Chinese to Korean,” she said. “I love creating new dishes. We experiment and if we [the three cooks] all agree on a dish, we add it to the menu.”
June also enjoys the opportunities that she has had to meet new people with her recipes and Asian dishes. “I like talking to customers and getting feedback. Food is my passion, and making people happy is what counts.”
By Faith Heaton