Tag Archives: K-Town

Quoted–Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Koreatown Los Angeles

I am shy about exploration.  I’m perfectly comfortable asking a million questions at a Taco Stand, Ethiopian restaurant, or Russian Deli.  But when I’m sitting down to a bowl of Ramen, Pho, or Naengmyeon, I point and slurp quietly.

Maybe this has to do with the fact that I can “pass” and don’t want to make a spectacle of myself by asking too many questions.

This area is the subject of Anthony Bourdain’s latest episode of his new CNN show, Parts Unknown.  I was pleased to see my favorite chef, Roy Choi, as one of his Ambassadors.

Artist David Choe also played tour guide – when they stopped at Sizzler, I felt an immediate connection.  I, too, grew up going to these and related to his memories of feeling a “need” to get your money’s worth from the buffet.

“Parts Unknown,” by Lynn Chen of ThickDumplingSkin.com

 

I’ve already heard some people criticizing the episode for being inauthentic, ignorant, and even culinarily offensive (‘Jollybee in an episode about Koreatown?!’ said one friend of a friend), but I thought it was pretty interesting for how it was so adamantly Korean American, regardless of whatever essentializing of Korean culture and history the two native informants accomplish. Their Ktown is, for this current boom in K-cuisine (yes, I think the aggressive marketing, experimentation, and exoticized domestication of Korean cuisine warrants it becoming a K-product), such a defining site for the history of Koreans in America. But they do identify in different moments as Korean (un-hyphenated), like when Choe’s father connects the conversation about the impact of the L.A. riots and the rise of Ktown to Korea’s current global cultural presence: ”now Korean culture, K-pop, Psy, it’s all over the world, [the] influence.” The somewhat random assemblage of cultural practices and food as what defines Ktown and Koreanness is what’s interesting about the story, because it says more about how cultures are personally codified (through food, location, interactions with different communities, parents, punishment…) and created emotionally and physically through consumption (mostly food, in this case).

“LA Kalbi is as Korean as Ktown,” by Jenny Wang Medina of subject object verb

For Better Or Worse, K-Town, The Reality Show, Is Finally Here

by Guest Contributor Jen, originally published at Disgrasian

After two years of hype surrounding every aspect of the so-called “Asian Jersey Shore,” K-Town premiered today on YouTube. The reality show was so thoroughly dissected before it ever saw the light of day–Is this good or bad for Asians? Does it promote or break down stereotypes? Is this something to be ashamed of or to celebrate?–the 12-minute pilot is, inevitably, something of a letdown. It’s not quite the trainwreck it was originally touted to be, and without something to really rubberneck in the pilot, the whole thing feels a little bland, actually. The guys and girls kind of blend one into another, a cheesy, homogeneous mix of muscles and eyelash extensions. The teaser for the rest of the season doesn’t give you much to hang onto either: They drink, party, have a few fakish conflicts, rinse and repeat.

Let’s hope the next ep has more to gawk at, or, at least, offers clearer stakes–how very fuddy-duddy of me to want them, I know–because a show like this that once promised to be new and “groundbreaking” could get really old, fast.

[YouTube: K-Town Episode 1]
[The Leaked K-Town Sizzle Reel: Mystery Revealed]

Web Watch: ABG Returns, YOMYOMF & MiTu Step Up And K-Town Finds A Home

With most of broadcast television going into repeats for the summer, it’s a good time for you to catch up on more online offerings.

At this point, you have to consider Issa Rae’s The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl among the most anticipated webseries out there, and the show will start airing new content on June 14, as part of Pharrell Williams’ i am OTHER brand. If you missed Season One, don’t worry, this preview also recaps the story so far. This being ABG, be advised the vid is slightly NSFW for language, but keep an eye out for Williams himself, as things get…well, you know.

The trailer for the YOMYOMF Network, presented by the team behind You Offend Me, You Offend My Family, is also slightly NSFW, but there’s no skimping on star power. There’s a few curse words, and Kev Jumba’s tour of the YOMYOMF studio–”where poorly buffered videos come to life,” he says –quickly escalates into a CGI-powered misunderstanding. On the other hand, if you’ve always wanted to see Tyrese get hit with a bar stool or ring announcer Bruce Buffer go out Ned Stark-style, it’s worth a look.

For its part, the Latin@-oriented MiTu Network (it’s pronounced “me too”) is focusing on more practical tips in a variety of areas: Mitu’s YouTube page takes viewers to channels offering tips on everything from stopping your kids from getting hooked on video games to money matters to homemade recipes:

Finally, an update on K-Town, the Jersey Shore-esque show featuring Asian-Americans we talked about in 2010. Amoeblog’s Eric Brightwell reports that after being offered around to traditional networks, the show will instead debut as a YouTube series on July 2nd. And as the trailer shows us, the show has indeed embraced its Jersey roots, from the creative team on down.