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(Part 2 of a recurring series; see part 1 here)
Add up L.A.’s cult of Kogi, David Chang’s continued superstardom, the rise of Pinkberry and its legion of knockoffs, and a fried-chicken phenomenon, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Korean is the cuisine of the moment. It’s a trend that stretches from street food to high-end kitchens. Even chains are getting into the act. California Pizza Kitchen may soon introduce a Korean barbecue beef pizza and Korean fried-chicken salad.
In an excellent Times article, Jennifer Steinhauer explains the rising influence of Korean-Americans in L.A.’s [and the nation’s] food culture thus:
“In the last few years, second-generation Korean Angelenos and more recent immigrants have played their own variations on their traditional cuisine and taken it far beyond the boundaries of Korean-dominated neighborhoods. These chefs and entrepreneurs are fueled in large part by tech-boom money here and in South Korea, culinary-school educations and in some cases, their parents’ shifting perspectives about the profession of cooking.”
With their well-funded mixture of youthful energy and technological savvy, and a culinary sophistication unchained by tradition, 2nd generation Koreans can be expected to continue to find inventive ways to expand the market for Korean flavors. They’re a force we can only hope to do more reckoning with.
Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian