Koreatown, L. A. Four miles SSW from the iconic Hollywood sign and just about the physical center of the City of Angels is Koreatown. Koreatown has the largest South Korean population outside of the country itself. With such a high concentration of these richly cultured peoples came many korean style restaurants and other eateries. Though in recent years Koreatown’s Korean population has declined to about 30% of the total population, it is still considered the prime place to enjoy a good dim sum or kimchi.
There is a little more than a thousand Korean owned businesses in K-Town and a very good majority of those are eateries. Being known for its nightlife, most of K-Town’s eateries are bars and norebangs (karaoki rooms). “A night out in what insiders call K-Town might begin with dinner or warm-up drinks and nibbling at a stylish cafe with giant video screens, then proceed to dancing at an exclusive nightclub or singing at a karaoke ”music studio” until dawn” (Navarro).
Singing in norebangs is a widely appreciated pass-time in the Korean community and is usually accompanied with alcohol and appetizers. This pass-time is never done alone and it is usually done in large groups for any occasion. The alcohol of choice being makgeolli, a fermented rice wine, is usually associated with the cooking and munching of small strips of sweet and crispy pork belly. Small groups of people can be seen around a table drinking, cooking the snack and conversing.
Another widely appreciated restaurant type brought over from the Koreas, is the Korean BBQ. Essentially, it is a cook-it-yourself restaurant; the cooks prepare the dishes to be cooked and then hand them out to the customer to be cooked right at their own grill in the middle of the table. This allows the customer to cook the meat to their desired taste and gives more time to converse. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be eaten with a utensil; usually there would be a plate of large lettuce leaves.
It is very common to tear off a piece of the leaf and cup it in one hand while the other picks up a piece of meat with chopsticks and puts it on the leaf. If there is anything else to put on it, like a slice of mushroom, it is put on top, the leaf is rolled up and popped in the mouth. The most popular food in Korean culture is kimchi. It is made primarily from fermented napa cabbage, spicy red pepper powder, and various other vegetables and spices. In most asian cultures, there are many parts to a meal; kimchi is usually a side-dish.
The ingredients are quite cheap and the recipe is easy to follow. In low-income families, kimchi is a larger part of the meal. It is the perfect food for these families because it can easily be made in bulk and it can be kept for up to a month in the refrigerator. Kimchi is a staple of Korean society. Korea brought over a very cultured people that are very family and food involved. Food is a very important part of the Korean culture and community as a whole. Work Cited Navarro, Mireya. “It’s Koreatown, Jake. ” The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Aug. 2004. Web. 3 Nov. 2012.