What does it mean to be Korean-American? Does one create one’s own world?
Koreatown spans three square miles of Los Angeles. It encompasses a 10-block cluster of businesses and homes including four blocks known as Little Bangladesh, and is also one of the city’s several Central American communities.
What do you do if you’re a locavore in L.A.? You look around. What’s local and delicious?
727 North Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
What Bourdain ate: Kimchi Spam Bowl.
3455 West 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90005
What Bourdain ate: Banchan (Korean cold appetizers); bulgogi (thinly sliced, fat-marbled beef, grilled tableside), sliced ribeye; kimchi bokumbap (kimchi-fried rice).
3821 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
What Bourdain ate: Aloha (pineapple) burger, Spam Little Big Bite sandwich, Halo-Halo (an “oddly beautiful” cup of sweet red beans, white beans, and chickpeas, cubes of red and green jello, young white coconut, shaved ice).
400 S Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90005
What Bourdain ate: Salad bar meatball taco, a David Choe concoction, world-famous Sizzler cheese toast.
Check Twitter for location: @kogibbq
What Bourdain ate: Kogi short rib taco (double-caramelized Korean barbecue short rib on fresh corn tortilla, with salsa roja, cilantro and onion-lime relish, napa cabbage romaine slaw, and a chili soy vinaigrette).
3109 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
What Bourdain ate: Wang mandu king dumpling (steamed, thick dough, stuffed to the gills with pork, kimchi, and vegetables), sweet dessert manda dumpling.
4153 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
What Bourdain ate: Fish curry with chilis, curried goat, samosas, tandoori chicken.
Koreans can well remember when nobody was interested in their food. Now, it’s confusingly au courant.
David Choe: Self-described “bad Korean”, despite being an internationally acclaimed graffiti artist and muralist who became very rich spray painting Facebook HQ.
Roy Choi: Korean-American chef who revolutionized American street food over the past decade slinging bulgogi sliders and kimchi-laced quesadillas from his fleet of Kogi trucks.
Estevan Oriol: Mexican-American photographer and filmmaker renowned for capturing LA’s gritty street culture.
K-Town: Angeleno shorthand for Koreatown.
“Bad Korean”: A Korean-American who does not conform to stereotypes of their community’s professional aspirations. For example, Roy Choi is a self-professed “bad Korean,” who dropped out of law school to pursue a career as a star chef and restaurateur.
Lowrider: The driver of a customized car with the frame lowered closer to the road. The lowrider is a purveyor of moving street art in parts of Los Angeles—and also a target for cops.
For Korean Americans, it used to be that you grew up to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer. There were a specific set of rules and expectations. Thanks to some remarkably bad Koreans, though, things are beginning to change.