tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN April 9, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> anthony: for korean-americans, according to the stereotype anyway, 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. >> david: are you asking me to be in a porno? is that what you're asking me? >> anthony: thanks to some remarkably bad koreans, though, things are beginning to change. >> roy choi: i went to one year of law school and i walked out. >> anthony: so you're a bad korean. >> roy choi: yeah, i'm a bad korean. >> david: any final advice for someone who's actually about to marry a korean woman? the answer -- don't do it. ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪
♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, ♪ >> roy choi: all i knew was that this town was going down, and no one was showing up. and so we, as koreans, figured that out really quickly. there's a point where you and i look at each other and say -- >> anthony: they're not coming. >> roy choi: they're not coming, anthony. you know? like, it's you and me. >> anthony: right, the choppers will not be here anytime soon. [ laughter ] >> roy choi: yeah, i mean, so that's when all the stuff started to go down. >> anthony: roy choi is a second-generation korean american. he lives in los angeles.
he's the owner/operator of four groundbreaking and much loved food trucks, among the first to harness the strange and terrible powers of social media to alert customers to where to find delicious food. >> roy choi: this was the command post. from here, you know, you could look, and you could see if fires were going on. >> anthony: when the los angeles riots happened in 1992, roy was 22 years old. and this plaza's rooftop played a central role for koreans defending their town. but let's back up a bit. after the immigration act of 1965, thousands of koreans began arriving in l.a. the first to arrive were mostly middle-class, college-educated, hoping to make a lateral move into american society. but unless you had a medical or engineering degree, that turned out to be tough. they found work as merchants, store owners, opened liquor stores, groceries, massage studios, dry cleaners. they did that in an area that was, as it's called,
underserved. where major chains feared to tread, where others preferred to abandon, koreans moved in. so, 1992. [ shouting ] four l.a. police officers are on trial for what sure as hell looked to me like a wildly excessive and prolonged beating of an unarmed rodney king. in april of that year, they were acquitted. for me, it was a, "holy shit, i never saw that coming," moment. for african-americans, it was a somewhat ruder surprise. to say people were angry would be an understatement. >> protestor: they don't represent the people no more. >> roy choi: south central is that way. so, you could almost -- >> anthony: right. >> roy choi: -- feel it like a tidal wave coming. >> anthony: the l.a.p.d. were completely unprepared for what happened next. >> roy choi: everything you see right here, all this, was being looted. chairs and rocks and everything being thrown through walls. if you go straight down western, on venice, the whole plaza burned on fire. we were calling 911 and there
was no response. >> anthony: did the cops come at all? >> roy choi: i was here all three days. i didn't see any cops. >> anthony: well, where did they set up their front line? >> roy choi: rodeo drive. >> anthony: where did the forces of law and order set up their perimeter? not here. koreatown was left to its own devices. the official borders are third street on the north end, olympic boulevard to the south, vermont avenue on the east, and western avenue to the west. that's three square miles left pretty much to burn or fend for itself. this rooftop quickly became the command post for rapidly improvised korean defense forces. they armed themselves, set up crude but effective command and control communication, and patrols. >> roy choi: we weren't going around just slugging and, and capping people. all that was happening was, "just don't break down my store."
making sure our parents, our uncles, our families, these stores, this town, stays alive. >> anthony: 58 people were killed. only a quarter of korean-owned businesses survived, either destroyed outright during the riots or abandoned afterwards by owners who felt the entire underpinning of their contract with america had shifted. yet today, koreatown is bigger and better and forever changed by what happened in 1992. dong il jang, however, is as unwaveringly old school as you get. roy and i sit down with roy kim, whose grandfather opened the place in 1978. like most korean restaurants at the time, you didn't mess with the original, ever. and like most korean father/son relationships, you obeyed dad's wishes, no matter what. >> roy kim: my father put all this, you know, redwood in, and all this cherry and all this. but, to this day, i can't touch certain things here.
>> roy choi: i can see he doesn't let you change the uniforms either. >> roy kim: uh, no. >> roy choi: yeah. [ laughter ] >> roy kim: well, he still controls the restaurant. >> roy choi: you just do the work. >> roy kim: i just do the work. [ laughter ] as a korean, he knows. >> anthony: we start with bonchon, all those delicious little freebie plates of pickles, preserves, kimchi, a spicy squid snack or two. no bonchon? no meal. >> roy choi: and you know what this restaurant has that a lot of restaurants are going away from? is the, um, is the chair-less rooms. >> anthony: you don't do the, the feet under? knees forward, feet under? >> roy choi: oh the, the tea ceremonies. >> anthony: straight ahead? oh, no can do. >> roy choi: the seating, yeah. that was punishment for koreans. >> roy kim: yeah. >> roy choi: that's, that's a punishment. >> roy kim: and with the book over your head. >> roy choi: for hours. >> anthony: what would a crime be? what got you into that, uh, position? >> roy choi: yeah, i mean, it could be as, as minimal as a 94 on the test. >> anthony: korean parents? well, let's just say they veer towards the strict. moms and dads were not, shall we say, conflicted about corporal punishment. i love that you both immediately recognize this. >> roy kim: this is the roast
gui. this is what we're known -- it's thinly sliced rib-eye, marbled rib-eye. >> anthony: oh, it's beautiful. roast gui. thin-sliced rib-eye. and bulgogi. thinly-sliced, fat-marbled beef, barbecued tableside. >> roy choi: for us koreans, it's kind of funny that barbecue has become the gateway to our food, though. >> anthony: hey, it could be >> roy choi: it could be worse, yeah. >> anthony: at least it's delicious. >> roy choi: it's delicious and we're like, "okay, this is the, this is the portal." we're cool with that. >> anthony: then there's kimchi bulgogi bokkeumbap. basically kimchi fried rice. but it fries into the pan like paella. so many great rice dishes where that outer layer of crispy stuff is just the best. >> roy choi: the tableside cooking, i think people overlook that a lot. you know, this is like crepes suzette, filleting a dover sole. >> anthony: oh man, that's just ridiculously delicious. will you be doing this in 20 years? >> roy kim: it won't change. if we did change tonight, i would get a complaint. >> roy choi: and you'd have to talk to your dad. >> roy kim: oh, yeah. [ laughter ]
that's, that's a problem. >> anthony: what do you do if you're a locavore in l.a.? you look around. what's local and delicious, artisanal and authentic, and as iconically l.a. as it gets? if you're roy choi, you see tacos. and with kogi truck, roy choi brought one of the first great mutation mash-ups of korean and mexican to the people. what started as one truck became four trucks and three brick- and-mortar restaurants to go with them. >> roy choi: for me, kogi was always one truck in my mind. but then the lines got big, you know? and it evolved. hola, herlindo. [ speaking spanish ] >> anthony: roy trained at the culinary institute of america and interned at le bernardin in new york city. he runs his trucks like you'd expect of someone with that background. >> roy choi: within our food media landscape, we've
romanticized certain compositions of what a great chef and a, and, and a great kitchen are supposed to look and smell and feel like. but just because those are beautiful doesn't mean that this is not beautiful. for me, i don't see mustard plants and sheep grazing. i see barbed wire and telephone poles, and i see puddles. and, you know, all of that stuff contribute to the flavor of the food. so, it's truly what i call a terroir, you know, uh, a regional food. okay, gracias. buena suerte! and they're off. >> anthony: every lunch shift and every evening, the trucks' locations are sent out over twitter. the locations change every day. and people flock quickly to find them, as the lines can get long. very long. i took a run with roy as he made his nightly rounds. so, how often do you make the full circuit between all of
your, uh, various enterprises? >> roy choi: twice a day, every day, unless i'm doing something crazy like this. so it's kind of like i have a, a huge las vegas hotel, but the hallways are the streets. [ chuckles ] >> anthony: first stop, chego, a rice bowl place in the palms neighborhood. >> roy choi: these are my guys right here. hola! [ whistles ] >> man: hey, chef. [ speaking spanish ] >> anthony: kimchi spam, classic. >> roy choi: yeah, this is the menu right here. >> anthony: a big bowl of rice with meat, vegetables, and lots of flavor, for less than 10 bucks. good deal. but it's funny to hear you're so sentimental about the business of feeding people. >> roy choi: it's a trippy state of romanticism, like i'm very hard-assed, too. like, you pack your own shit. you get what you get. if you complain, i take the food out of your hands. i give you your money back. but within those rules, there's a lot of love, and there's, there's a lot of care.
>> anthony: across town in venice is a-frame, roy's first brick- and-mortar. >> roy choi: this used to be an >> anthony: oh, yeah? >> roy choi: yeah, everything's really narrow. >> anthony: ah, hence the, uh, the shape. it's heavily influenced by local takes on hawaiian cooking, not that you'd necessarily notice. every dish designed to be eaten with the hands. what's good? the baby back ribs are air-dried, braised, then breaded and fried. lean cod tacos treated like shawarma. beer can crackling chicken -- it's brined, rotisseried, then air-dried like peking duck, then fried. meanwhile, not too far away, on sawtelle, a kogi truck pulls up, stops, reverses back to the corner. before the awning is even up, there's already a line. hungry people have been waiting in cars or around the corner ever since the twitter announcement 30 minutes ago. >> roy choi: yeah, this is just -- >> anthony: i feel guilty. i'm jumping the line, right?
wow. what's the longest line you've ever had at one of these things? >> roy choi: 600. >> anthony: 600 people for one truck? >> roy choi: yeah. >> anthony: the kogi taco -- double-caramelized korean barbecue short rib on fresh corn tortilla, salsa roja, cilantro-onion- lime relish, and a napa cabbage/romaine slaw in a chili-soy vinaigrette. oh yeah. >> roy choi: the, the rep for kogi is that we go everywhere. we go to every single corner of the county and the city. we're not just going to the hip areas. >> anthony: what about fantastically -- what about bel air? can you pull up, like, on a corner in a residential area in bel air? >> roy choi: yeah, yeah. we go -- >> anthony: what happens there? do you get rousted, or --? >> roy choi: no, no, they come out in the versace robe and, uh - - >> anthony: that i got to see. >> roy choi: yeah, yeah. [ laughter ] beverly hills, beverly hills lunch is crazy. >> anthony: why should you be excited about food trucks? because they allow creative chefs like roy, without a lot of money, to start creating and
but what if you're a bad korean? what if you were korean american and you just didn't give a -- what if you looked around, asked yourself, "who am i? who am i supposed to be? where do i fit in society?" and were unsatisfied with the answers you were getting? what if you were an insanely talented artist and a small startup company called facebook asked you to do some murals in their offices, and they paid you in stock, and you became ridiculously wealthy and you still didn't give a --? well, then, you might be david cho. >> david: hi. i'm dave cho. [ drumming ] be like me. >> anthony: is that an ak piñata? >> david: that is an ak-47 piñata. >> anthony: wow. >> david: so, i mean, this place is in downtown l.a., so i try to
have as many weapons, like, hidden throughout. i got ninja swords and ninja stars and stuff. >> anthony: you need -- you need a puppy, man. [ laughter ] >> anthony: you need a puppy. >> david: i do need a puppy. [ laughter ] i'm going to paint you today. is that cool? >> anthony: yeah, sure. >> david: all right, so, just sit. >> anthony: sit? >> david: right there. and -- sorry. don't usually paint this early in the morning. okay. i'm going to go more expressionistic, if you don't mind. >> anthony: i want to know, and you were on record, you said, you know, young people, uh, looking to follow your road to success, your advice is, whatever you do, don't date a korean girl. >> david: oh, okay. i try to be open-minded about things, right? but, well, i'm racist. you know, for me, i've given it a shot. and then i end up in a situation where i feel like i'm dating my mom. >> anthony: so, what characteristics, uh, in common
were, were, were -- >> david: overbearing. >> anthony: overbearing. >> david: uh, jealous. unreasonable. like, unrealistic about life. demanding. like, it's -- i mean, i could go on and on. but also, the men, too. like, if you're a woman, i wouldn't ever recommend dating a korean guy. for the very few women out there that are into asian guys, if you are going to go that route, definitely go chinese. yeah, come check it out. >> anthony: oh, yeah. whoa, awesome. [ laughter ] >> anthony: wow. >> david: i don't know, what do you think? >> anthony: dude. i'm honored. i've never had my portrait done before. thank you, man. >> david: hey, man. you're welcome. >> anthony: and this shit got to be worth some money on ebay, for sure. >> david: now i'm definitely ready for sizzler. >> anthony: nice.
standing tall and prominent amongst the many asian and central american restaurants in the community, one place holds an unexpectedly cherished position in the collective memories of many second-generation korean americans. i am personally unfamiliar with the sizzler brand. oh, i know it by name, but never have i managed to actually cross its doors. >> david: after you. >> anthony: oh, thank you. wow. >> david: how are you doing today? >> cashier: i'm doing good, thank you. how about yourself? >> david: i'm doing fantastic. i got my sizzler outfit on. so, here's the thing. you can get, like, a steak and then add the salad bar with it. >> anthony: right. >> david: you get the best bang for your buck. or you can just get the salad bar. >> anthony: i'm going to have a little bit of steak. >> david: i am going to go traditional and just get just the salad bar. >> cashier: and just the salad bar only. >> david: yeah, thank you. >> cashier: you can have a seat anywhere you like. >> anthony: terrific, thanks. excellent.
oh, yeah. pouring for your elders. oh, now you're getting all korean on me. >> david: yeah. super embarrassed right now, because we're in koreatown and i'm taking you to eat at sizzler, which, for a lot of koreans, is the best food in koreatown. um. >> anthony: so, if you were eating non-korean, this was it? >> david: we never ate out, ever. and if we did, it was mcdonald's. and if it was a birthday and a special celebration, you wanted to kick it up a notch and go a little bit more special, then it was sizzler. >> anthony: this is a judgment-free zone, where there are no mistakes, a world to explore incongruous combinations without shame or guilt, free of criticism from snarkologists, because there are no snarkologists at sizzler. >> david: obviously here's all the accouterments for making a nice nacho taco salad. and here is -- >> anthony: right. >> david: all the stuff for
the -- >> anthony: pasta. >> david: pasta, spaghetti, whatever. the move is you get a hard taco shell and you put meatballs in it. this is italian/mexican dining, and you make a meatball taco. and there's nowhere else in the world where you can have this. you put three meatballs in the taco, some guacamole, and then you put all this nacho cheese, all this other stuff. >> anthony: oh, i know what i'm doing. i'm going for the full south of the border experience here. >> david: all right. awe, there you go. >> anthony: oh, no, no. i'm not kidding around here. oh, yeah, now we're talking, my friend. >> david: it's a little bit nicer than i remember. there it is. that's the best bread that you can get, so you tell me if you like that. >> anthony: oh now, wait a minute. are you saying that the cheese toast is complimentary? >> david: it's complimentary. and once we found that out, we would order stacks of it. so, it was our favorite part of sizzler. and we were like, "we need to figure out how to manufacture this at home." >> anthony: so, were you good sizzler customers, your family? do you think they were happy to see you when you come in?
i mean -- >> david: um -- >> anthony: i love this dish, man. i might, i might -- when i go back, i might have to have a meatball taco. >> david: um, so, we didn't, we, like, gooched the system a little bit, but not like completely abused it. there would be the guilt associated with we never eat out, but now we're going out to eat, so you better -- eat. you got to put down at least three plates. so, what'd you think of the bread? >> anthony: it's delicious. >> david: yeah. it's the best. >> anthony: oh, i totally get why this would be a wonderland. >> david: yeah, everything's really good. >> anthony: for you, sizzler, a happy place, still. >> david: lots of memories. it's satisfying. we need more of this cheese bread. [ laughter ]
>> anthony: something dave cho and roy choi have in common is that, they may be korean american, but they are also very much creatures of l.a. and what is l.a.? l.a. is mexican, central american, filipino, vietnamese, thai, samoan, bangladeshi. everybody who's left their mark continues to shape the town, determine its character. k-town exists right upside its latino neighbors, and i guess it's natural that both cho and choi identify very much with mexican street culture. few things embody that particularly southern california latino street culture more than
low-riding. estevan oriol is a photographer. >> estevan: go on the other side of that pole. >> anthony: chronicler of everything iconic at the crossroads of hip-hop, design, tattooing, fashion, and low-riding. >> estevan: the old timers, they used to cut the coils or put bricks or sandbags in their trunk to make them lower. and then around the '70s is when it got popular. >> anthony: why these particular models of cars? >> estevan: it's pretty much always been, uh, late '50s, all the way through the '60s, and into the '70s. and then the '80s came up. they started bringing in the cadillacs and the regals. the most classic, well-known car for low-riding probably is the '64 impala. >> anthony: how many korean low-riders are there? >> estevan: there's a few asian ones sprinkled in the other
clubs. >> anthony: more asians, more, more koreans than 15 years ago? we're seeing a crossover with the food. >> david: right. >> anthony: uh -- >> david: for the most part, things are starting to get a lot more open. if you're asking, i think there's going to be a lot more asian/hispanic mixed babies coming up in the future. [ laughter ] >> estevan: i ain't mad at that. [ laughter ] >> anthony: ideal low-riding is about getting appreciated by the people who best appreciate the traditions and techniques, the getting it right. for that, you head to east l.a. >> estevan: the most famous, notorious street in l.a. is, uh, whittier boulevard, because of the history of it. and then crenshaw boulevard and south central. >> anthony: so, that's going to be your most critical audience? and, uh, mo -- and at the same most appreciative? >> estevan: yeah, the ones that you want to see your car, you know? >> anthony: it's a slow-moving piece of art. and you treat the car like a piece of art, acutely aware of
the dangers -- cops, for whom you are a target, potholes, other cars. in east l.a., you see people "ooh and ah." you see expressions change from, "who the -- is that?" to, "nice ride." >> estevan: that was, like, a full-fledged gang member. >> anthony: yeah. >> estevan: you know, giving us, like, props, giving us respect, you know? first you build a car for yourself. but at the same time you're building it for the streets, you know? you're building it for the people. you want them to appreciate it. >> anthony: within the borders of koreatown, it's not just koreans. there are new arrivals every day. there is, in fact, an official little bangladesh right in the middle of k-town. oh, man, this is all so -- >> roy choi: it smells so good in here. >> anthony: uh, yeah, this is going to work. so you're not short of options around here. >> roy choi: nah. you can get tacos across the
street, korean bibimbap right next door, and then get goat stew. you can pray to mohammed or buddha. >> anthony: a tiny mosque next door where services are held five times a day. >> anthony: just talking to a guy in the parking lot who said, "this is the first little bangladesh in america." >> roy choi: yeah. and that just happened, like, two years ago. like, we went to sleep, we woke up, and it was little bangladesh. [ laughter ] >> anthony: here at sawada, step right in to some curried goat, samosas, tandoori chicken. oh, yeah, and this -- lahori fish curry, with no small amount of chilies. >> anthony: it's such fragrant, aromatic, delicious food. >> roy choi: this is really good. >> anthony: what good food are you likely to find within the confines of koreatown? >> roy choi: we have el salvadoran and guatemalan all around. koreans all throughout. pakistani and bangladesh food. yeah, oaxaca takes over all of eighth street. >> anthony: why oaxaca? just that's the way it worked out? >> roy choi: mm-hm.
you know how it goes. >> anthony: yeah. >> roy choi: probably one guy showed up. >> anthony: yeah. >> roy choi: filipino fast food just behind us. >> anthony: mm-hm. >> roy choi: and then a bunch of riff-raffs in between. >> anthony: filipinos ought to be very proud of their food. >> roy choi: mm-hm. >> anthony: underrepresented. >> roy choi: i think they're going through kind of what we went through, where the glass hasn't been broken yet to, to translate it but still keep the core and soul of it. but it tastes delicious. >> anthony: a few blocks over, the iconic filipino fast food chain, jollibee's. laugh all you want, but ask any filipino. they love this drive-through mutation for specialties like this fried spam sandwich thing. but it's the desserts where it gets really crazy. >> anthony: decisions, decisions. >> roy choi: here we go. uh, we'll take one aloha burger and then one spam little big bite. >> cashier: all right. anything else? >> roy choi: uh, let's do a halo halo, and that's it. all right. >> anthony: oh, look at that. what is, what, what is that? >> roy choi: that's a halo halo. >> anthony: oh, yeah, halo halo. dig deep and you hit delicious
stratas of red beans, white beans, and chickpeas, cubes of red and green jell-o, young white coconut, shaved ice and, is that flan? it makes no goddamn sense at all. i love it. >> roy choi: part of every pinoy filipino's life, halo halo. >> anthony: nutsy, man. i got to take a picture of that. it's oddly beautiful. all right. >> roy choi: all right. >> anthony: you know i'm getting a bite of that little -- what is, what is it? >> roy choi: it's a little big bite. >> anthony: little big bite. >> roy choi: favorite thing in the world. >> anthony: no, don't say that. [ laughter ] that's actually -- i like that. >> roy choi: it's good, right? >> anthony: aloha. i mean, it just sounds magical. is there, like, pineapple in there or something? yes. hence the "aloha." that's a very tasty burger. nice char. >> roy choi: asian fast food. it's fast food, but it's made by like it was just a single family owned restaurant. >> anthony: what family made this? >> roy choi: yeah, maybe -- [ laughter ] maybe, maybe not your family. >> anthony: the jetsons. you know? >> roy choi: yeah, maybe not
>> david: it's true, dad. we all look the same. [ laughter ] >> jane: i love it. >> anthony: he may be a korean gone bad, but dave cho still tries, best he can, to be a good son. he bought them this house in los feliz and visits for family meals, often. in fact, when we first met, sensing it had been a long time without a true home-cooked meal, he invited me to dinner with them. so, guests are not unusual. jane cho is an amazing cook. >> jane: it's going to be very delicious. >> david: mom? dad? [ speaking korean ] >> david: look who's here. >> jim: hello. >> david: mom, anthony's here. >> jane: can you smell something? >> anthony: oh, yeah. >> jane: yeah. >> anthony: good stuff. >> jane: yeah, all the good stuff's coming. maybe somebody going to hire me later. [ laughter ] >> anthony: okay, which ones are you? are you the eldest? >> david: i'm the middle. i'm the suicidal pirate. >> anthony: oh, already signs of
trouble appear. >> david: my older brother is the hip-hop santa, and my -- he was the oldest. >> anthony: right. >> david: he'd beat me up. i'd beat him up. and then he would just cry. i'll show you my dad's painting. hey, dad? >> jim: yeah? >> david: hey, come over here for a second. when did you paint this, dad? 30 years ago? >> jim: uh, '73. 1973. >> david: every christmas, he unrolls it, um, and just, like, scotch tapes it to the wall. [ chuckles ] >> david: and my mom's the artist in the family, now. >> anthony: so, this is a family of artists. [ chuckles ] >> anthony: the chos are devout christians, which is not unusual in the korean community. but they are unusual in that they're both artists of a sort. jane treats the house like an ongoing art project, drawing sunglasses on family pictures, stapling angels to dave's paintings that have hung in the white house, getting crazy with the glue gun, adorning wreaths with happy meal toys, sticker- bombing the kitchen with birds, cows, spaceships piloted by her three boys. she is relentlessly,
energetically, and inarguably creative. >> david: she brainwashed me. from the time we were kids, she'd, she was like, "you're the best artist in the world. you're the best artist in the world." >> jane: you are. >> david: oh, thanks. [ laughter ] but now she's telling me she's going to be the best artist in the world. so, she's very competitive. she said she's going to destroy me. >> jane: awesome. [ laughter ] >> anthony: food is ready. >> david: so, do you want to explain what everything is, mom? >> jane: the food i prepared tonight is a very common korean food. whicis a beef ribs, uh, stew. >> david: the kimchi's looking fresh. >> jane: yeah, the kimchi's fresh. >> jim: today is, uh, chestnut rice. >> jane: no one has this kind of rice. >> david: it's a special rice. >> jane: special rice for anthony, you know. >> david: and then stuffed peppers. >> jane: oh, that's david's favorite. >> anthony: chung po mook -- seaweed and jellied mung bean. japchae -- vermicelli noodles with shiitake mushrooms and vegetables.
avocado egg rolls, fried squid, and shrimps. potato pancake. often at the cho house there's a few mexican dishes sprinkled in as well. it is always a great meal, i can tell you that. >> david: thanks, mom. this is delicious. >> jane: this is awesome. [ laughter ] >> anthony: it, it is indeed. thank you. >> jane: i love it. >> anthony: during the riots of '92, jim and jane cho worked as real estate agents and property managers. so the destruction in koreatown had a direct impact on their lives. the chos watched from home as the chaos unfolded on tv. after the riots, jim wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the "l.a. times". >> jim: i am extremely angry with the lapd for their outrageous action. while the cops let looters run wild and rape our city, they somehow had time to bother korean shop owners guarding
their stores. how can the owner of a business just sit back and watch his life be burned to the ground? >> anthony: david would have a very different reaction. >> david: my brother stole a car, and we went into, like, all the neighborhoods and then quickly realized it wasn't, like, about race. it was just about people stealing stuff. and, but we were out looting. we were causing chaos. and, you know, i don't think we got anything good. i think i got a tv stand. >> anthony: was it life-changing for you? >> david: it's like you grow up and you -- things are explained to you. like, here's police. they're not doing anything they're supposed to do. there's just, like, normal men and women of society just, like, acting like animals. and i was like, "oh, everything i've, like, been taught and, and learned my whole life is just disintegrating before my eyes." but, in the end, we're -- you know, from great disasters come great things, right? i mean, koreatown burned down. but it's like we own l.a. now. it's, like, half of l.a. >> jim: now it's korean culture.
k-pop and psy all over the world influence, you know? >> anthony: the filmmakers. all the, all the top, uh, korean filmmakers are in hollywood. >> jim: oh, yeah. korean, uh, culture -- >> david: [ clears throat ] what about me? >> jim: yeah, you. >> anthony: artists, right. yeah, right. >> jim: except you. >> jane: sorry. sorry, david. it's incredible. [ laughter ] >> david: today, i went into all the ways -- different ways you guys used to beat us when we were kids. the stress positions, like, you know. >> anthony: yeah, but what -- >> david: all the korean punishments. >> anthony: what's remarkable to me is that every kid -- >> david: right. >> anthony: i mean, all korean kids. >> david: yeah, all korean kids. >> anthony: the same position. holding -- you either hold a book -- >> jane: oh, yeah. that's the way we learn from the generation to generation. we don't know why. >> anthony: to take a peek into the dark heart of the korean psyche, maybe it helps to get familiar with han. it's a concept that, for non-koreans, can be difficult to fully grasp. >> david: all right.
you want it? here we go. han denotes a collective feeling of oppression and isolation in the face of overwhelming odds. it connotes aspects of lament and un-avenged injustice. >> anthony: wow. >> david: in some occasions, anthropologists have recognized han as cultural-specific medical condition. someone who dies of han is -- >> jane: right. >> david: is said to have died of -- [ speaking korean ] [ speaking korean ] >> jane: it's a heartburn. it's heartburn. >> anthony: wow. i mean, it's been described to me in a way that made it sound benign. this is a burning, uh, sense of injustice, besiegement, and, and desire for revenge. >> david: the han is the reason why, like, we are who we are. but it's also the same reason why i won't marry a korean woman. [ laughter ] >> jane: no. you never know. >> david: no, i know, mom. >> jane: he's cute. [ male announcer ] eligible for medicare? that's a good thing, but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b
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>> anthony: main drag of k-town. another mini mall among many. karaoke? no. >> david: this is the best dumpling spot in town. my mom would just order all these dumplings and just, like, leave them on my door, because, uh, she's not allowed in my house. and then -- [ chuckles ] >> david: i just said, uh, "where are you getting these?" you know, my mom likes to withhold information. so, i finally got it out of her. >> anthony: myung in dumplings, where they serve a mix between korean and chinese.
each plate handmade to order, my friends. opened in 2007 on olympic boulevard, it's run by yu jin, a korean by way of shenyang province in china. >> david: been coming here for about two years now. >> anthony: uh-huh? >> david: there's no one ever in here. every time i've ever come in -- i don't understand how they're open. they're the best dumplings i've ever had. maybe people just get them to go. >> anthony: right. >> david: they all look like buttholes, actually. [ laughs ] but -- >> anthony: kind of. yeah, pre-prolapse. [ laughter ] >> anthony: wang mandu. king dumpling. thick dough, stuffed to the gills with pork, kimchi, and vegetables. precisely made, weighed, and crimped. steamed until soft. eat. >> anthony: wow. that's nearly the size of your head. >> david: yeah, you know, it's like pizza. i'll eat them cold, too. >> anthony: right. >> david: save two and have them for dinner. >> anthony: and mandu.
smaller, with thinner dumpling skins, served with red chili paste. >> david: those are the dessert ones. those got red bean in it. >> anthony: oh, god. wow. oh, these are delicious. these are just, like, so huge. >> david: go for it. >> anthony: so, would this be classically post-drinking food or pre-drinking food? [ laughter ] lay down a base of absorbent material? >> david: yeah, i mean, there's a lot of bread here. but i don't really drink. i'm just, uh, falling under peer pressure right now. i'll be one of the cool guys, so -- >> anthony: i like this place already. good signage. it's important. >> david: yeah. the sign's awesome. >> anthony: if that sign does not sing to you, then we cannot be friends. >> david: mari, hi. >> woman: hi, david. how are you? >> david: this is my uncle anthony. this is mari.
>> anthony: how you doing? >> david: this is, uh, harry kim, aka guam cruise. here's more koreans right here. >> man: here's more koreans. >> anthony: some friends of cho seem to favor this place. they are a thirsty and diverse bunch. >> anthony: i'm asking everybody -- stress position as a child? did, did you have to do the, uh, knees forward? >> man: oh, you know about this. >> anthony: it went right in, right into it. stress positions? >> woman: oh, we did that. >> anthony: you did that? see? >> man: there's this, too. >> anthony: the speed with which they assume the position. [ laughter ] >> man: you had to hold a bucket over your head with water. >> anthony: water? wow. what if your arms get tired? >> man: they make you do it again another 45 minutes to an hour, you know? the whole thing is doing it again. >> anthony: look, i'm not korean. i'm not asian. i'm a white boy from the suburb. but i noticed something over time in my k-town adventure. similar anecdotes, you might say. >> man: you know, they've done this quite a bit. so they came up with a new one. >> anthony: i was very aware that all my korean friends, no matter how creative or successful, seem strangely haunted by something. but i never knew this. how do you do it? >> david: oh, the --. it goes, it goes up the ass like this, and then, it's like opening up a umbrella inside someone.
>> anthony: you do this to your friends? >> man: or college. >> anthony: or college. >> man: they think it's hilarious. and adults do that shit to each other. >> anthony: what the hell that's about, i can only guess. >> anthony: cheers -- >> david: koreans gone bad. [ laughter ] you're korean now, officially. [ laughter ]
korean you meet anywhere, you can take it for granted they like food. that they're passionate about food, particularly their food, which of all the immigrant cuisines has probably been messed with the least. unlike many other new arrivals, koreans seem to have been the most unwilling to accommodate western tastes. maybe that's why it took us so much time to love the stuff. beverly tofu house, like so many of k-town's finer establishments, is tucked away in the corner of a strip mall. >> roy choi: this is one of my favorite spots. this is where i've been coming for almost 20 years. this is a soup that's just, like, it's kind of korean, but it's really more l.a., and so -- >> anthony: so this is not a
direct transplant from korea? >> roy choi: it became what we're about to have here in l.a. >> anthony: interesting. >> roy choi: they're different because of the ingredients we couldn't find. >> anthony: right. >> roy choi: but never thinking about pleasing the american palate, just to make ourselves happy. >> anthony: soondubu is the thing to get. a fiery, tongue-searing, ass-burning tofu soup that'll make you forget every bad thing you ever thought about tofu. a spicy, spicy red broth and tofu are the base. we're, we're talking soft tofu here, with the texture of, like, burrata. from there, you got a handful of variations. but the most common is with kimchi and a bit of everything. beef, oysters, mussels, clams. oh, and tableside? they crack an egg in there. wow. right in there. cool. that looks completely awesome. well, we, we better wait for this to cool, i'm guessing? [ laughter ] >> roy choi: yeah. >> anthony: so, how do we eat this? we just spoon it over rice? >> roy choi: uh, yeah, yeah, spoon it over rice. mix it in. >> roy choi: mm, that's good. >> anthony: mm.
yeah, all tofu should be spicy, by my way of thinking. it's so good. >> roy choi: yeah, it's really good. >> anthony: koreans can well remember when nobody was interested in their food. now it's confusingly au courant. must be strange for the owners, who've just been doing what they've been doing for years. >> roy choi: like, for example, like, us sitting here like this, the questions a lot of people are asking me in korean, like, i'm telling them we're filming, you know, we're trying to show a piece of koreatown. the, the number one question is, they're not mad or vindictive, is, "why?" it's still, "why?" it's like, why -- >> anthony: why would we be interested? >> roy choi: why would we be interested? why would you waste your time? there's other things to do. >> anthony: it's an extraordinarily beautiful and delicious thing. >> roy choi: but see, that's the thing, is the beauty is just already a given. it's already a part of the fabric. so it's like, why congratulate you? you know? there's no reason to congratulate you, because this is like what we do. >> anthony: that sounds awful, honestly. that sounds, like -- totally joy -- >> roy choi: that's my -- life, man. >> anthony: totally joyless. >> roy choi: yeah.
>> anthony: uh, what did your parents want you to be when you grew up? >> roy choi: for me, a doctor or lawyer. >> anthony: right. you're obviously not a doctor or a lawyer. did you finish college? >> roy choi: i finished college and i went to one year of law school and i walked out. >> anthony: right. so, you're a bad korean. >> roy choi: i'm a bad korean. if i was a mediocre accountant, it'd be better than being a top chef. >> anthony: according to who? >> roy choi: according to korean culture. >> anthony: right. >> roy choi: according to korean uncles and aunts. and it's just, it doesn't register that that is a profession. you know? i wouldn't have to explain myself if i just said i was a cpa. >> anthony: right. >> roy choi: never. you know, that's, that's, that's weird -- shit. >> anthony: i know. you still got some 'splaining to do. >> roy choi: still. to just get it across that i, that i cook, and that there was this phenomenon that happened on the streets of l.a. that changed and opened up korean culture to, to the world. >> anthony: what does it mean to be korean american? does one create one's own world? i don't know that i'm any smarter about that now than when i first came to k-town in the middle of the night and
discovered a strange and fabulous and delicious slice of america i'd never known was there. but i'm trying to figure it out. belgian police make a major rease. a man they think might be the third bomber in last month's brussels airport attack. from inside mosul's dam, crews tried to keep it from collapsing and submerging iraq's second city. finally spacex gets a hole in one. they make an historic rocket landing after sending important cargo to the international space station. live from cnn world headquarters from atlanta, welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm george howell. "cnn newsroom" starts right now.