tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN December 19, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
whole neighborhoods, whole cities, whole generations of young men and women. as long as it was an inner city problem, an urban problem, which is to say a black people problem, a brown people problem, send them to prison into a system from which they'll never return. maybe now, now that it's come home to roost and it's the high school quarterback, your next-door neighbor, your son, your daughter, now that grandma is as likely to be a junkie as anyone else, we'll accept there's never been a real war on drugs. war on drugs implies an us versus them and all over this part of america, people are learning there is no them. there is only us. and we're going to have to figure this out together. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com 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. >> are you asking me to be in a porno? is that what you're asking me? >> thanks to some remarkably bad koreans, things are beginning to change. >> i went to one years of law school and walked out. >> so you're a bad korean. >> i'm a bad korean. >> any advice to someone 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 ♪ sha la la la la la ♪ sha la la la la ♪ sha la la la la
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 -- >> they're not coming. >> they're not coming. you know, like -- >> the choppers will not be here anytime soon. >> that's when all the stuff started to go down. >> 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. >> this was the command post. from here, you know, you could look and you could see if fires were going on. >> 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 have 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 -- 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 [ expletive ], i never saw that coming moment. for african-americans it was a somewhat ruder surprise. to say people were angry would be an understatement. >> they don't represent the people no more! >> south central was that way. so you could almost feel it like a tidal wave coming. >> the lapd were completely unprepared for what happened next. >> 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. >> did the cops come at all? >> i was here all three days. i didn't see any cops. >> well, where did they set up their front line? >> rodeo drive. >> 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 in 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. >> we weren't going around just slugging 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. >> 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. >> my father opened put all this redwood and cherry, to this day i can't touch certain things here. >> i can see he doesn't let you change the uniforms, either. >> no. he still controls the restaurant. >> you just do the work. >> i just do the work. as a korean, he knows. >> we start with bonchon, all those freebie plates of pickles, preserves, kimchi, a spicy squid snack or two. no bonchon. no meal. >> you know what this restaurant
has that a lot of restaurants are going away from are the chairless rooms. >> the feet under, knees forward, feet under? >> the tea ceremony. no can do. >> that was punishment for koreans. >> and with a book over your head. >> for hours. >> what would a crime be? what got you into that position? >> it could be as minimal as a 94 on a test. >> korean parents? well, let's just say they veer toward the strict. moms and dads were not shall we say conflicted about corporal punishment. i love that you both immediately recognize it. >> this is what we're known it, thinly sliced ribeye marbled. >> oh, it's beautiful. roast guey, thin-sliced rib eye, and bulgogi, thinly sliced fat-marbled beef, barbecued tableside. >> for us koreans, it's funny that barbecue has become the gateway to our food. >> hey, it could be worse. at least it's delicious.
>> it's delicious and we're like, okay, this is the portal, and we're cool with that. >> and this kimchi bulgogi will come back. basically kimchi fried rice, so many great rice dishes with that outer layer of crispy stuff is just the best. >> a tableside cooking, i think people overlook that a lot. you know, this is like crepes suzette, filleting a dover sole. >> ridiculously delicious. will you be doing this in 20 years? >> if we did change, tonight i would get a complaint. >> and you'd have to talk to your dad. >> oh, yeah. >> that's the problem. >> what do you do if you're a locavore in l.a.? you look around. what's local and delicious? artisanal and authentic and 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. >> for me, kogi was only one truck in my mind, but then the lines got big, you know, and evolved. hola. [ speaking foreign language ] >> roy trained at the culinary institute of america and interned at la bernardin in new york city. he runs his trucks like someone you'd expect from someone with that background. >> within our food media landscape we've romanticized certain compositions of what a great chef and 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. 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, a regional food. right here. and they're off. >> 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 various enterprises? >> twice a day, every day, unless i'm doing something crazy like this. it's kind of like i have a huge las vegas hotel, but the hallways are the streets. >> first stop, chego!, a rice bowl place in the palms neighborhood. >> these are my guys right here. hola. que paso?
>> kimchi, spam, classic. >> this is the menu, right here. >> a big bowl of rice with meat, vegetables and lots of flavor for less than 10 bucks. good deal. i just want to know why you're so sentimental about the business of feeding people. >> it's a trippy state of romanticism. like, i'm very hard-ass, too. like you pack your own [ expletive ], you get what you get. if you complain, i take the food out of your hands and give you your money back. but within those rules, there's a lot of love. there's a lot of care. >> across town in venice is a-frame, roy's first brick and mortar. >> this used to be a ihop, so everything is really narrow. >> hence the shape. it's heavily influenced by local takes on hawaiian cooking, not that you would 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. ling cod tacos treated like shawarma, then meat dried like duck. then fried. meanwhile, not too far away on sawtell, 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 around the corner ever since the twitter announcement 30 minutes ago. i feel guilty. i'm jumping the line, right? wow. what's the longest line you ever had? >> 600. >> 600 people for one truck? >> yeah. >> the kogi taco, double caramelized korean barbecued short ribs on fresh corn tortilla with cilantro, relish and napa cabbage slaw in a soy vinaigrette.
oh, yeah. >> the rep for kogi is we go everywhere, we go to every single corner of the county and the city. we're not just going to the hip areas. >> what about fantastically good? what about bel air? can you pull up on a corner in a residential area in bel air? what happens there? do you get rousted? >> no, no, they come out in a versace robe. >> that i've got to see. >> yeah, beverly hills. beverly hills at lunch is crazy. it's crazy. >> why should you be excited about food trucks? because they allow creative chefs like roy without a lot of money to start creating and selling their stuff, introducing themselves to the world without having to gather up a million dollars or credulous partners and they're affordable. they're democratic. and they're faster, better and infinitely preferable to fast food like the king and the clown and the colonel. innovative sonicare technology
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♪ stereotyping coming. look, how do i put this? good korean kids grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers, goes the story. there are expectations. but what if you're a bad korean? what if you're a korean-american who just didn't give a [ muted ]? what ife you looked around, asked yourself who am i, what am i supposed to be, what where do i fit in with society and were unsatisfied with the answers you were getting? what if you were an insanely talented artist in a small startup company called facebook asks you to do some murals in your offices and paid you in stock and you became ridiculously wealthy and you still didn't give a [ muted ] well then you might be david choe. >> hi, i'm david choe. ♪
be like me. >> is that an ak pinata? >> that's an ak-47 pinata. >> wow. >> yeah, so, i mean, this place is in downtown l.a., so i try to have as many weapons hidden throughout. i've got ninja swords and ninja stars and stuff. >> you need a puppy, man. you need a puppy. >> i do need a puppy. i'm going to paint you today. is that cool? >> yeah, sure. >> all right. so, just sit right there, and -- sorry. i don't usually paint this early in the morning. okay. i'm going to go more expressionistic, if you don't mind. >> i want to know, you were on record, you said young people are looking to follow your road to success.
your advice is, whatever you do, don't date a korean girl. >> okay, i try to be open-minded about things, right? but you know, i'm racist. for me, i've given it a shot and then i end up in this situation where i feel like i'm dating my mom. >> so, what characteristics in common were you -- >> overbearing. >> overbearing? >> 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 i were a woman, i would never 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. >> oh, yeah. whoa! awesome. wow. >> i don't know. what do you think?
>> dude! i'm honored. i've never had my portrait done before. thank you. >> hey, man, you're welcome. >> and this [ expletive ] going to be worth some money on ebay, for sure. >> now i'm definitely ready for sizzler. 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. >> after you. >> thank you. wow. >> how are you doing today? >> i'm doing good. thank you. how about yourself? >> i'm doing fantastic. i have my sizzler outfit on. so, here's the thing, you can
get like a steak and add the salad bar with it, get the best bang for your buck, or you can just get the salad bar. >> i have to have some steak. >> i'm going to go traditional and just get just the salad bar. >> thank you. >> sit wherever you like. >> perfect. thanks. >> enjoy your meal. ♪ >> excellent. >> oh, yeah. >> food for your elders. >> now you're getting korean on me. >> super embarrassed right now because we're in koreatown and i'm taking you to eat at sizzler, which for a lot of koreans, this is the best food in koreatown. >> if you eat nonkorean, this is it? >> we never ate out ever, if we did, it was mcdonald's. if it was a birthday or special celebration and wanted to kick it up a notch and go a little bit more special, then it was sizzler. >> 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. >> obviously, here's all the accoutrements for making a nacho salad and here's all the stuff for pasta, spaghetti, whatever. the move is you get the hard taco shells and put meatballs in it. this is italian/mexican dining, and you make a meatball taco. and there's nowhere else in the world that 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 -- >> i know what i'm doing, i'm going for the full south-of-the-border experience here. >> all right. there you go. >> i'm not kidding around here. oh, yeah, now we're talking, my friend. >> it's little bit nicer than i remember. there it is. that's the best bread that you can get. you tell me if you like that. >> now, wait a minute. are you saying that the cheese toast is complimentary? >> it's complimentary. and once we found that out, we would order stacks of it, so it was our favorite part of sizzler.
so we thought we needed to figure out how to manufacture this at home. >> so were you good sizzler customers, your family? do you think they were happy to see you come? i love this dish, man. when i go back, i might have to have a meatball taco. >> so we did goose 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'd better [ muted ] eat. you have to put down at least three plates. what do you think of the bread? >> it's delicious. >> yeah. >> i totally get why this would be a wonderland. >> everything is really good. >> for you, sizzler is a happy place still? >> lots of memories. it's satisfying. we need more of this cheese bread. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever?
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sickness and health. love and heartbreak. and covered california is there for it all. not just to help keep you well. but to make sure the cost of being unwell doesn't ruin this whole life thing. because it's more than just health care. it's life care. something dave choe 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 has left their mark,
continues to shape the town, determine its character. k-town exists upside its latino neighbors and i guess it's natural that both choe and choi identity very much with mexican street culture. few things embody that particularly southern california latino street culture more than low riding. ♪ esteban is a photographer, chronicler of everything iconic at the crossroads of hip-hop, design, tattooing, fashion and low-riding. >> the old-timers, they used to cut the coils or put sandbags in their truck to make them lower. then around the '70s is when they got popular. >> why these particular models of cars? >> it's pretty much always been late '50s all the way through the '60s and the '70s. then the '80s came, they started bringing in the cadillacs and
the regals. the most classic well-known car for low riding is probably the '64 impala. >> how many korean low riders are there? >> there's a few asian ones sprinkled in. >> more asians? more koreans than 15 years ago? we're seeing a crossover with the food. >> right. for the most part, things are starting to get a lot more open. if you're asking i think there will be a lot more hispanic and asian mixed babies coming up in the future. >> i ain't mad at that. >> 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. >> the most famous notorious street in l.a. is witier boulevard, because of the
history of it. and then crenshaw boulevard in south central. >> so, that's going to be your most critical audience, and at the same time, the most appreciative. >> yeah, the ones you want to see your car, you know? >> it's a slow-moving piece of art. you treat the car 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 people change the expression from what is that, to nice ride. >> hopefully gang members gives us 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're building it for the people. you want them to appreciate it. ♪ >> 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. >> so good in here. >> yeah, this is going to work. so, you're not short of options around here. >> no, you can get tacos across the street. korean next door and goat stew. you can pray to muhammad or buddha. >> the tiny mosque next door where services are held five times a day. i was talking to a guy in the parking lot who said this is the first little bangladesh in america. >> yeah, and it just happened like two years ago. it was like we went to sleep and woke up and it was little bangladesh. >> here at salada, step right in for some curried goat, samosas, tandoori chicken, and fish curry with no small amount of chilies. >> just such aromatic, delicious food. what good food are you likely to find within the confines of
koreatown? >> el salvadorian, guatemalans, koreans all throughout. pakistani, bangladesh food. oaxaca takes over all of eighth street. >> why oaxaca, is that just the way it worked out? >> yeah, you know how it goes. one guy showed up. filipino fast food just behind us, and a bunch of riffraff in between. >> filipinos are proud of their food. underrepresented. >> i think they're going through what we went through, where the glass hasn't been broken yet, to translate it, but keep the core and soul of it, but it tastes delicious. >> a few blocks over, the iconic filipino fast food chain jollibee. laugh all you want but ask any filipino, they love the drive through mutations for the speciality spam thing, but it's the desserts where it gets really crazy. decisions, decisions.
>> here we go. we'll take one aloha burger, and one spam little big bite. let's do a halo-halo. that's it. >> oh, look at that. what is that? >> that's halo-halo. >> 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, coconut, shaved ice, and is that flan? it makes no goddamned sense at all. i love it. >> a part of every filipino's life, halo-halo. >> i have to take a picture of that. it's oddly beautiful. all right, you know i'm getting a bite of that little -- what is that? >> it's a little big bite. >> little big bite. >> favorite little thing in the world. >> no, don't say that. it's actually -- i like that. >> it's good, right? >> aloha. it just sounds magical. is there like pineapple in there?
>> yes. >> hence the aloha. that's a very tasty burger. nice char. >> it's fast food, but it's made like just a single family-owned restaurant. >> what family made this? >> maybe not your family. >> the jetsons. >> you like it? >> it's actually very tasty. >> every single thing you like it. >> wow. there's so much i don't know. ♪ by wild cub clatter" ♪ ♪ ♪ most weekends only last a couple of days. some last a lifetime. hampton. we go together. always get the lowest price, only when you book direct at hampton.com
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♪ [ speaking foreign language ] that's true, dad. we all look the same. [ laughter ] >> i love it. >> he may be a korean gone bad, but dave choe 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 choe is an amazing cook. >> it's going to be very delicious. >> mom, dad, look who's here. >> hello. how are you? >> can you smell something? >> oh, yeah. good stuff. >> yeah, all the good stuff coming. maybe somebody going to hire me later. [ laughter ]
>> okay. which ones are you? are you the oldest? >> i'm the middle. i'm the suicidal pirate. >> oh, already signs of trouble here. >> my older brother is the hip-hop santa. he was the oldest. he beat me up. i beat him up. and then he would just cry. i'll show you my dad's painting. hey, dad. >> yeah. >> hey, come over here for a second. when you paint this dad? 30 years ago? >> 1973. >> every christmas he unrolls it and just scotch-tapes it to the wall. my mom's the artist in the family now. >> so this is a family of artists? the choes are devout christians, 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 wreathes with happy meal toys, sticker-bombing the kitchen with birds, cows, spaceships piloted by her three boys. she is relentlessly, energetically and inarguably creative. >> she brainwashed me from the time we were kids. she was like you're the best artist in the world, you're the best artist in the world. >> you are! >> oh, thanks. but now she's telling me she's going to be the best artist in the world, so, she's very competitive. she says she's going to destroy me. >> awesome. [ laughter ] >> food is ready. >> so, do you want to explain what everything is, mom? >> the food i prepared tonight is very common korean food. this is beef rib stew. >> that kimchi's looking fresh. >> yes, kimchi's fresh. >> today is chestnut rice. >> no one has this kind of rice. >> special rice.
>> special rice for tony. >> and then stuffed peppers. >> oh, that's david's favorite. >> cheong po mook, seaweed and jelly mung beans, noodles with shiitake mushrooms, avocado egg rolls, fried squid and shrimp, potato pancake. often at the choe house, there's a few mexican dishes sprinkled in as well. it is always a great meal. i can tell you that. >> thanks, mom. this is delicious. >> this is awesome. >> thank you. >> i love it. >> during the riots of '92, jim and jane choe worked as real estate agents and property managers, so the destruction in koreatown had a direct impact on their lives. the choes 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." >> i'm extremely angry with the lapd for their outrageous
action. while the cops let the looters run wild and rape our city, they somehow had time to bother korean shop owners guarding their stores. how can an owner of a business just sit back and watch his life be burned to the ground? >> david would have a very different reaction. >> my brother stole a car, and we went into, like, all of the neighborhoods, and then quickly realized it wasn't, like, about race, it was just about people stealing stuff, 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. >> was it life-changing for you? >> it's like you grow up and things are explained. here's the police, they're not doing anything they're supposed to do, just normal men and women of society acting like animals, and i was like, oh, everything i've been taught 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? koreatown burned down. it's like we own l.a. now. it's half the l.a. >> now korean culture, grow up in size, all the over the world influence, you know? >> filmmakers, all the top korean filmmakers. >> oh, yeah. >> what about me? >> yeah. >> artists, right? >> except you. >> sorry, david. [ laughter ] >> today i went into all the different ways you guys used to beat us when we were kids, the stress positions, you know? all the korean punishments. >> what's remarkable to me, every kid, i mean, all korean kids. >> yeah, all korean kids. >> the same position. you either hold a book -- >> oh, yeah, that's the way we learned, from generation to generation. we don't know why. >> 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. >> 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 injustice. in some occasions, anthropologists have recognized han as a medical condition. someone who dies of han is said to have died of hapyon -- [ speaking foreign language ] >> it's heartburn. >> while it's been described in a way that sounded benign, this is a burning sense of injustice, besiegement and desire for revenge. >> 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. >> you never know. >> no, i know, mom. >> he's cute.
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allowed in my house. and then, i just said, where are you getting these? you know, my mom likes to withhold information, so i finally got it out of her. >> 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. >> been coming here for about two years now. 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 ever had. maybe just people get them to go? >> right. >> they all look like butt holes, actually. >> kind of, yeah, pre-prolapse. >> wan man dut, king dumplings, thick dough, stuffed to the gills with pork, kimchi, vegetables, precisely made, weighed and crimped.
steamed until soft. eat. wow. that's nearly the size of your head. >> yeah, you know, it's like pizza. i'll eat them cold, too. >> right. >> save two and then have them for dinner. >> and mandu, smaller with thinner dumpling skins, served with red chili paste. >> wait for the dessert one. >> wow. boy, these are delicious. these are just, like, so huge. >> go for it. >> mm-mmm. so, would this be classically post-drinking food or pre-drinking food? laid out a base of absorptive material? >> there's a lot of bread here. i don't really drink, just falling under peer pressure right now. be one of the cool guys. >> i like this place already.
good signage. it's important. >> yeah, the sign's awesome. >> if that sign does not sing to you, then we cannot be friends. >> hi. >> how are you? >> this is my uncle tony. >> how are you doing? >> this is terry kim, aka guam cruise. here's more koreans right here. >> some friends of choe's seem to favor this place. they are a thirsty and diverse bunch. >> i'm asking everybody, stress position as a child? did you have to do the -- >> oh, he knows it. >> he went right into it. >> stress positions? >> you did that? >> see, the speed with which they assume the position. >> you had to hold a bucket over your head of water. >> water, oh. what if your arms get tired? >> they make you do it again. >> the whole thing is doing it again. >> 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. >> they've done this quite a bit. so they came up with a new one.
>> i was very aware that all my korean friends, no matter how creative or successful seemed strangely haunted by something. but i never knew this. how do you do it? >> oh, it goes up like this and then -- it's like opening an umbrella in someone. >> college. >> you think it's hilarious -- adults do that to each other. >> what the hell that's about, i can only guess. >> cheers. >> koreans gone bad. you're korean now officially. ♪ [ male announcer ] pain not sitting too well? burning to feel better? itching for relief? preparation h offers the most maximum strength solutions for all hemorrhoid symptoms. from the brand doctors recommend most. preparation h. don't stand for hemorrhoids. but zzzquil is different have pain medicine from the brand doctors recommend most. because why would you take a pain medicine when all you want is good sleep?
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and physicians who participated in the opdivo clinical trial. therthat can be serious,ere. even fatal to infants. it's whooping cough, and people can spread it without knowing it. understand the danger your new grandchild faces. talk to your doctor or pharmacist about a whooping cough vaccination today. when i booked this trip, my friends said i was crazy. why would i stay in someone else's house? but this morning, a city i've never been to felt like one i already knew. i just wanted to thank you for sharing your world with me. it felt like home. airbnb. belong anywhere.
pretty much any korean you meet anywhere, you can take it for granted they like food, that they are 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 this stuff. beverly tofu house, like so much of k-town's finer establishments, is tucked away
in the corner of a strip mall. >> this is one of my favorite spots, where i've been coming for almost 20 years. this is a soup that's just like it's kind of korean but really more l.a. >> so, this is not a direct transplant from korea? >> it became what we're about to have here in l.a. >> interesting. >> they're different because of the ingredients we couldn't find but never thinking about pleasing the american palate, just to make ourselves happy. >> sundabu is the thing to get, a fiery, tongue-searing, ass-burning tofu soup that will make you forget every bad thing you ever thought about tofu. a spicy, spicy red broth of tofu as the base. soft tofu with a texture like borrata and from there a handful of variations but the most common is with kimchi with everything, beef, oysters, mussels and clams. oh, and tableside, they crack an egg in there. wow. right in there. cool. that looks completely awesome.
well, we better wait for this to cool, i'm guessing. so, how do we eat this, spoon it over rice? >> yeah, spoon it over rice. just mix it in. >> mm-mmm, that's good. >> yeah. >> all tofu should be spicy, by my way of thinking. so good. >> yeah. really. >> koreans can well remember when nobody was interested in their food. now it's confusingly au courant. must be strange for the owners who have just been doing what they've been doing for years. >> like, for example, like for 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 number one question is -- they're not mad or vindictive. the question is why? it's still why? like why -- >> why would we be interested? >> why would you waste your time? there are so many other things to do. >> it's an extraordinarily delicious and beautiful thing. >> that's the thing. the beauty is already a given, already a part of fabric, so
it's like why congratulate you, you know? there's no reason to congratulate you because this is like what we do. >> that sounds awful, honestly. that is totally joyless. >> yeah. >> what did your parents want you to be when you grew up? >> for me, a doctor, a lawyer. >> right. obviously, you're not a doctor or lawyer. did you finish college? >> i finished college and went to one year of law school and walked out. >> so you're a bad korean. >> i was a bad korean. if i was a mediocre accountant, it would be better than being a top chef. >> according to who? >> according to korean culture, according to korean uncles and aunts. 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. >> right. >> never. you know that. >> you've still got some "splainin" to do. >> just get it across 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 the
world. >> 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 to discover a strange and fabulous and delicious slice of america i had never known was there, but i'm trying to figure it out. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com ♪ my great fear is a fear of failing. and that's hawaiian because i was born that way because that's expectation. you're hawaiian, you're going to be less. you're hawaiian, you're going to fail more. it's old. it's in you. it's part of your identity. but when i navigate a voyage, i know when the storm comes, it's going to take you to the bone.