Crayon Pop to Open for Lady Gaga for US Tour
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 20th, 2014
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Quirky girl group Crayon Pop, which burst onto the scene last year with their weirdly infectious hit, “Bar Bar Bar,” will be the opening act for pop superstar diva Lady Gaga this summer in the United States.

Gaga announced the news via Twitter, saying the winsome quintet will be joining her “Artrave: The Artpop Ball” tour from June 26 to July 22, which includes dates in Boston, Chicago, Houston and ends with two concerts in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.

The group unexpectedly became popular after a long period of grassroots marketing and do-it-yourself public performances. Their initial fan base was middle-aged men. Continue Reading »

Wonder Girls Leader to Become Long-Term Missionary in Haiti
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 20th, 2014
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Sun-ye and husband James Park.

Rumors of an impending breakup of once wildly popular girl group The Wonder Girls hit a fever pitch this week as leader Sun-ye said she plans to serve as a missionary to Haiti for five years.

“My husband and I have decided to spend the next five years in Haiti from this July conducting missionary outreach projects,” she said, in a statement.

Sun-ye said her fellow group members as well as her label, JYP Entertainment, “understand my decision and have given me their full support.” She added, “I hope I can pay them back for all the trust they’ve put in me.”

Continue Reading »

Thursday’s Link Attack: North Korean Meth Trade; First 3D K-Drama; More SKorean Speedskaters May Defect
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 20th, 2014
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Japan sees progress in talks with N. Korea
Yonhap News

Red Cross and government officials of North Korea and Japan were to sit down again at the negotiating table on Thursday, with a chief Japanese delegate reporting some progress in earlier talks on repatriation of the remains of Japanese nationals who died in the North during World War II.

The two sides began the two-day talks, led by Ri Ho-rim, secretary general of the North’s Red Cross Society, and Osamu Tasaka, director general of the International Department at the Japanese Red Cross, on Wednesday in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang.

This week’s talks between North Korea and Japan come 16 days after the first such meeting since 2012 in the same city.

Pyongyang Booms at the Expense of the Rest of N.Korea
Chosun Ilbo

High-rise apartment buildings, streets lined with stores selling expensive products and high-end restaurants are cropping up in Pyongyang since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un focused state spending on the capital. But that modernizing drive has come at a heavy cost to the provinces, which are languishing in backwardness and poverty.

“In December of 2011, after he just came to power, Kim Jong-un issued an order to populate Pyongyang by the end of 2012 with the cream of North Korean society in terms of political and ideological beliefs,” a source recalls.

Residents of Pyongyang and provincial areas were given different identity cards as the regime ensured that only the most fervent supporters of the young leader could stay in the capital.

North Korean Meth, Motorcycle Gangs, Army Snipers, and a Guy Named Rambo
VICE News

Two federal conspiracy cases unsealed in late 2013 paint a lurid picture of a stranger-than-fiction international underworld that uses North Korea as a haven for meth production. According to court documents and DEA sources, the meeting in Thailand last January was a pivotal moment in an ongoing investigation that stretches from Southeast Asia to West Africa. So far eight men have been arrested and extradited to face conspiracy charges in Manhattan federal court.

Poll Shows Half of Korean Teenagers Have Suicidal Thoughts
Wall Street Journal

A recent survey shows that just over half of South Korean teenagers have had suicidal thoughts this year, while nearly one in three said they had felt very depressed.

Over 40% of the survey respondents in the Feb. 20-27 poll by the Korea Health Promotion Foundation, an affiliate of the finance ministry, said that school pressure and future uncertainty concerned them the most. More than 17% in the survey of 1,000 Koreans aged 14 to 19 said that they were mainly stressed over their looks, and 16% by family troubles.

South Korea’s problems with suicide are often attributed to lifelong pressure to compete for better schools, better jobs, better physical appearance and even better marriages. What’s alarming is that while overall suicide rates in developed countries are falling, the suicide rate for people aged 15-24 in Korea rose to 13 deaths per 100,000 people in 2011, up from 7.7 in 2001, according to the latest Statistics Korea data.

In South Korea, quest to recast views of single motherhood
Christian Science Monitor

In 2008, Shannon Heit appeared on K-Pop Star, the South Korean equivalent of American Idol, with an unusual goal in mind. She wasn’t seeking fame as a performer, but was instead trying to locate the mother she believed had put her up for adoption more than twenty years earlier.

The TV exposure and Ms. Heit’s knack for singing resulted in a reunion with her mother. But that’s when she learned that the story that underpinned her adoption at age four to a family who raised her in the United States had been a lie.

Rather than being abandoned by her mother as the adoption agency told her, she and her sister were given up by their grandmother when their mother was working away from home.

Uninsured Asians in North Jersey buck trend
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Asian-Americans living in North Jersey are less likely to be uninsured than the population as a whole, according to a new federal study. But those who are uninsured are more likely to have a college degree and more likely to be women.

New Jersey has the fifth-highest number of uninsured Asian-Americans – 78,000 – eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to the study by the Office of Minority Health of the federal Health and Human Services Department. More than four out of five – 68,000 – live in the northeastern part of the state, the study said. That includes Korean, Indian, Filipino and other Asian-American communities.

Taken together, five states – California, Texas, New York, Florida and New Jersey – are home to 41 percent of the nation’s 1.9 million uninsured Asian-Americans, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, the report said. The uninsured rate among Asian-Americans younger than 65 in New Jersey is 13 percent, compared with 17 percent for the state as a whole.

‘Millie’ flap highlights how old plays are rife with stereotypes
Boston Globe

Ethnic stereotyping is popular culture’s original sin, and it’s proving a hard one to shed.

Look no further than the uproar over last weekend’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie’’ at Newton North High School. A storm erupted on social media and community blogs about the musical’s depiction of three characters — two of them Chinese, one of them masquerading as Chinese — who kidnap young women and sell them as sex slaves. The director of the organization that staged “Millie’’ apologized at a community meeting Monday.

It was the latest loud collision between the past and the present, a frequent occurrence in theater as a dated canon meets an increasingly diverse population. The very plays and musicals that outwardly seem like a good fit for high schoolers — because of their tunefulness and large casts and overall buoyancy — are often the most problematic in their depictions of nonwhite characters.

Chinese Fans of Korean Soap Operas: Don’t Call Us Dumb
Wall Street Journal

A group of Chinese fans of Korean soap operas have gone very public in response to a study published last year that suggested Chinese viewers of Korean “dramas” tend to be at the lower end of the education and income spectrum.

On Wednesday, a full-page ad from a group called the “Asian Fan Club of ‘My Love From the Star’” appeared in South Korea’s largest circulation national daily, Chosun Ilbo, requesting an apology from the study’s authors.

The ad, written both in Chinese and Korean, doesn’t pull any punches: “We would like to tell you that you are wrong. We like Korean dramas… We like intellectual power even more,” the ad reads.

What K-Pop Impresarios Want From New Stars
Wall Street Journal

“Groove” and “soul” may not be the first words that come to mind when you think of K-pop, but you better have them if you want to be trained by moguls like J.Y. Park and Yang Hyun-suk.

Contestants on the popular show Kpop Star 3 compete for the chance to be trained by one of three K-pop labels: Mr. Park’s JYP Entertainment, Mr. Yang’s YG Entertainment and Antenna Music.

Watch these two young sisters who – without top-notch singing skills – mesmerize both Mr. Yang and Mr. Park, who went so far as to refer to them as “the future of our country.”

PM calls for cooperation in filming of ‘Avengers’ sequel
Yonhap News via GlobalPost

Prime Minister Chung Hong-won on Thursday called for the government’s support and cooperation for the filming of the “Avengers” sequel here, calling the production an opportunity to raise awareness of the country.

On Tuesday, U.S.-based Marvel Studios signed a memorandum of understanding with related South Korean authorities on the filming of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in and around Seoul from March 30 to April 14.

The Seoul metropolitan government, culture ministry and police plan to close the filming locations to traffic for up to 13 hours a day during the shoot.

The first ever 3D K-drama on its way
Korea Times LA

The first-ever TV series to be filmed in 3D will be “Kang Goo’s Story,” a Korean drama produced by SBS.

The drama was filmed in partnership with LG Electronics and LG Display. According to Kim Young-sup, executive producer, SBS will continue to make dramas using 3D through the second half of the year.

“Kang Goo’s Story” will be a romance with a poetic story and scenes, but the next 3D project will feature more dynamic scenes, Kim said.

More South Koreans set to follow Ahn abroad, says dad
Reuters

More Olympic athletes are set to ditch their South Korean passports and compete for rival nations unless the country’s skating union (KSU) reforms, the father of Korea’s greatest sporting defector has told Reuters.

Anger with the KSU has boiled among Koreans following Ahn Hyun-soo’s defection to Russia in 2011 – and was only exacerbated when the 28-year-old won his fourth, fifth and sixth Olympic gold medals in Sochi under the name Viktor Ahn, and as a Russian competitor.

It was a painful episode for a proud country. Ahn had won his first three golds as a South Korean at the Turin Olympics in 2006, but then came quarrels and clashes, failure to qualify for the 2010 Games and the decision to quit Korea and become a Russian citizen.

O’s option right-hander Suk-min Yoon, catcher Johnny Monell to Triple-A Norfolk
Baltimore Sun

The Orioles made a pair of significant roster cuts following Wednesday’s 7-4 Grapefruit League loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, optioning South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon and catcher Johnny Monell to Triple-A Norfolk.

The club also reassigned non-roster outfielder Xavier Paul to minor league camp.

Yoon, 27, signed a three-year, $5.575 million deal with the Orioles last month, but he couldn’t pitch in a Grapefruit League game until getting his work visa, a tedious process that sent him to Canada for four days and was just completed last week.

“That was the main thing,” Yoon said through interpreter Justin Yoo. “My preparation was there. I feel like I was ready. I couldn’t get enough innings because of the visa.

LA declares “Chloe Kim Day”
Korea Times LA

Chloe Kim, 13, has become the youngest snowboarder to rank as No. 1 in the world.

Born in Long Beach, Calif., Kim began snowboarding when she was four years old and entered the United States of America Snowboard Association’s national championship race by age 6.

In January, she competed at the X Games held in Aspen, Colo., where she won the silver medal in the snowboard halfpipe. At the Burton U.S. Open in March, she came in third at slopestyle.

City Council President Herb Wesson and Councilman Tom Labonge presented Kim with a commemorative certificate on Wednesday and declared it “Chloe Kim Day.”

KTOWN Night Market Is Coming to Los Angeles!
soompi

It’s only natural that K-Pop and K-Drama lovers become curious about the interesting foods they see in dramas and variety shows. If you’re in the LA-area, here’s your chance to explore some Korean food in a free and non-intimidating environment at the 1st annual KTOWN Night Market.

KTOWN Night Market is a two-day community festival that will feature over 100 food and merchandise booths, including a lot of popular food trucks representing many different ethnicities, as befitting Los Angeles.

Fans of the TV show “The Great Food Truck Race” will be happy to know that the winners of seasons 1 – 3 will all be there – “Grill ‘Em All,” “The Lime Truck,” and “Seoul Sausage Company.” Eat some great food and check out popular local artists, including Korean-American rapper Parker, or Dumbfoundead, as many of us know him from collaborations with Kahi and Epik High.

The Secret World of Fast Fashion
Pacific Standard Magazine

Specifically, I paid a visit this past summer to the Ttokamsa Home Mission Church, a large, gray, industrial box of a building near a highway on the edge of Echo Park, a residential neighborhood in East Los Angeles. A well-known local institution among Korean Americans, the church is the spiritual home of the Chang family—the owners of Forever 21, the largest fast-fashion retailer based in the U.S. (Look on the bottom of any canary-yellow Forever 21 shopping bag and you’ll find the words “John 3:16.”)

With more than 630 locations worldwide, the Changs’ retail empire employs more than 35,000 people and made $3.7 billion in revenue in 2012. But in the pews at Ttokamsa, the Changs are in good company: The vast majority of their fellow parishioners are Korean families that also make their livelihoods in fast fashion.

As an anthropologist, I have been coming to Los Angeles with the photographer Lauren Lancaster for the past two years to study the hundreds of Korean families who have, over the last decade, transformed the city’s garment district into a central hub for fast fashion in the Americas. These families make their living by designing clothes, organizing the factory labor that will cut and sew them in places like China and Vietnam, and selling them wholesale to many of the most famous retailers in the U.S.—including Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, T.J. Maxx, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom.

Korea, China Dispute Invention of Traditional Floor Heating System
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 19th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Ondol (left) vs kang.

Ondol is ours!

Not so fast, say the Chinese. A dispute has erupted between China and South Korea, which announced preliminary plans to register the traditional underfloor heating system known as ondol with the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.

“We have decided that ondol technology is worth being protected as a World Heritage for all mankind,” the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced on Sunday.

In traditional Korean architecture, homes were heated by transferring heat from an outdoor stove, which warms the floor of a house through horizontal smoke. In modern times, Korean homes now use electric water heaters to warm the floors of their apartments and homes but it is still called ondol. Continue Reading »

Wednesday’s Link Attack: SKorea Set to Meet With Japan; Obamacare Targets Korean Americans; Obama Targets Korean BBQ Sandwich
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 19th, 2014
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South Korea, Japan leaders set to meet amid possibly thawing ties: media
Reuters via Yahoo News

South Korea will agree to a summit with Japan and the United States in The Hague next week, when leaders from around the world gather to discuss nuclear security, the Nikkei business daily said on Wednesday, raising hopes of thawing ties between Seoul and Tokyo.

It would be the first official meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Abe has visited the leaders of all 10 Southeast Asian nations since taking office 15 months ago but has yet to meet one-on-one with the leaders of South Korea and China.

Are Japan-South Korea ties beginning to thaw?
Deutsche Welle (Germany)

For the last two years, the diplomatic relationship between Tokyo and Seoul has been only a notch or two above icy. Comments and actions by Japanese politicians, particularly on the question of the two nations’ shared history, have been met with broadsides of criticism from their Korean counterparts.

Tokyo has waged a high-profile campaign to convince third parties that South Korea is illegally occupying the Dok-Do islands, which appear on Japanese maps as Takeshima.

On both sides of the Japan Sea – which Seoul insists should be known as the East Sea – the media have weighed in with spirited defenses of their respective nations’ positions. In the last half-century, rarely have the differences between the two nations appeared so deep and unbridgeable.

But there are finally signs that Park Guen-hye and Shinzo Abe might at last be willing to patch up their differences. Reports from both Seoul and Tokyo suggest that the two leaders are preparing to meet on the fringes of the Nuclear Security Summit, which is to be held in The Hague (main picture) over two days from March 24.

Obamacare enrollment event targets Bergen County Koreans as deadline looms
NJ.com

People ask every day about Obamacare at the Korean Medical Program at Holy Name Medical Center.

“We don’t have to push,” Kyung Hee Choi, vice president of the program, said. “Our phones are ringing off the hook.”

Her challenge is getting more navigators to help enroll the estimated 13,000 Korean-Americans in New Jersey. So Choi worked with Rep. Bill Pascrell to bring 25 navigators to the hospital Tuesday, at an event that drew about 200 people looking to get health insurance before a March 31 deadline.

Many Korean-Americans don’t speak English fluently, Choi said. Many of the people at the event declined interviews for that reason. The language barrier, along with the technical problems that have plagued Healthcare.gov, have kept many from signing up.

Comfort Women Statue Sparks Debate in California
Voice of America

Last July, the City of Glendale California, unveiled a statute in its central park of a Korean-American who was a so-called “comfort woman” — one of the women forced to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers during World War II. In so doing, the city entered a transnational dispute that is progressively becoming fiercer.

Local officials and hundreds of people from Glendale’s Korean community participated in the statue’s unveiling. The focus, though, was not so much on the statue as on its subject — Bok-Dong Kim — a local resident and a former “comfort woman.”

She wants Japan’s prime minister to admit his country’s mistake and apologize.

Korean American caught buying illegal drugs with Bitcoin
Korea Herald

South Korean prosecutors have indicted a Korean-American English teacher for buying illegal drugs through Bitcoin, marking the first criminal case with which the controversial virtual currency has been involved.

The 30-year-old suspect surnamed Jeong is accused of buying nearly 130 ecstasy pills using Bitcoin, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Monday.

The English teacher is said to have used $480 of the cryptocurrency to make the online purchase in January at his home in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. The Korean government does not recognize Bitcoin as an official form of currency, but some people in Korea continue to use it to buy products online.

Why Are Asian Americans Democrats?
Politico

In February, during the confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. surgeon general—Vivek Murthy, a British-born Indian American—Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) invited Murthy to his home state.

“I’m going to invite you, because we have a lovely doctor from India,” Roberts said good-naturedly. “She’s in her mid-30s and she’s highly respected by the community. And another doctor from India who did a carpal tunnel when I did a stupid thing. And so, I think you’d be right at home, and we would welcome you.”

Although Roberts probably did not intend to offend (his remarks were of the “I have plenty of friends who are Indian” variety) media outlets generally mocked the interaction. At the very least, it likely reminded Murthy that he is different than the white ethnic majority—some other kind of American.

Next TV: Hulu’s Koh Looks For ‘Truly Ambitious’ Shows
Broadcasting & Cable

A little more than three years after the launch of subscription service Hulu Plus, Charlotte Koh, head of development, Hulu originals, says that original programming is becoming a more important part of Hulu’s day-to-day business.

“We are continuing to move in the direction of advantaging the Plus product through more content, better content sooner,” Koh said Tuesday in an interview with Broadcasting & Cable editor-in-chief Melissa Grego at the Next TV Summit. “In general the philosophy over time will be to use the free service in a way that helps people understand that there is a value added if you’re a pay subscriber.”

Koh preceded the conversation with a presentation offering a snapshot of where Hulu is. She noted that the service is currently available on 5 million devices, including Chromecast, gaming consoles and Roku. She added that 59% of Hulu’s streams now come through living-room devices, and that two-thirds of Hulu watchers watch with other people.

Samsung Heiress Takes Pity on Erratic Cab Driver
Chosun Ilbo

Samsung heiress and Shilla Hotel president Lee Boo-jin has offered to cover the damage caused by an elderly cab driver when his vehicle careened into the hotel lobby last month, injuring four people.

The driver, identified only by his surname Hong, accidentally rammed his vehicle into the lobby on Feb. 25. It will take at least four months and cost hundreds of millions of won to have another set of revolving doors made.

The taxi drivers’ union, to which Hong belongs, can only cover W50 million worth of property damage (US$1=W1,071).

Suicide Prevention Center Needs Korean Speaking Volunteers
Korea Times LA

According to Curry, Korean Americans suffer from the fifth-highest suicide rate among ethnicities in LA. The center currently employs five Korean-speaking counselors and no Korean-speaking volunteers.

Dr. Thomas Han, a board member of Didi Hirsch, said that Koreans may hesitate to call crisis lines because it may be looked upon as a culturally shameful act, but that the calls will always remain anonymous and the caller’s identity protected.

“Stigma is a big issue,” Han said. “If we could somehow educate the community and get rid of the stigma, that it’s OK to talk about these things, I think we could prevent a lot of problems that come because of mental illness.”


Teen Top Confirms 4 North American Dates in ‘High Kick’ World Tour
Billboard.com

After weeks of crowdfunding via K-pop concert kickstarter Krowdpop, boy band Teen Top has confirmed four North American dates in its “HIGH KICK” world tour. The sextet will hit the New York, Los Angeles, San Jose and Toronto areas in a whirlwind week of touring.

The four dates were selected after fans in each area proved high social interest to get a potential show. Then fans committed ticket purchases to each show before three dates reached the goal of $150,000 in ticket sales. The Toronto show only hit 90% of the funding, but was eventually confirmed. Potential shows in other areas, including Dallas, did not receieve enough funds.

Tickets are on sale via Krowdpop for the San Jose and Toronto dates. Meanwhile, tickets for the New York and Los Angeles dates are available via AXS. Prices range from $50 to $255.

A history of Suk-Min Yoon
Camden Chat

We know that Yoon is one of the latest pitching acquisitions for the O’s. Here’s more about him that you might not know.

On Saturday, March 15, Yoon made his Spring Training debut for the Orioles. Because of visa issues, he had not been able to pitch in games while other candidates like Gausman and Britton have impressed. If Yoon starts out in the bullpen and eventually somehow finds his way into the rotation, that wouldn’t be different to how he became one of the best starters in KBO.

1. Amateur Days

Yoon could have faded away as a non-draftee had he not received some external support. Yoon attended Yatap High School in Seongnam in Gyeong-gi province, which is located nearby south of nation’s capital, Seoul. Up to the sophomore year, Yoon was only the fourth-best starter on his team and was buried under three teammates who “exceeded 140 km/h (around 87 mph) and had ace-potential stuff that led to a bunch of mercy games versus opponents” according to his high school coach. In fact, Yoon was described to be ordinary – topping out at 131 km/h (81.3 mph) and mostly staying around mid-70’s mph. His coach had plans to put him at second base but he was “too slow to stick on that position”. Yoon himself agreed that he was quite subpar. From the article, he is quoted “Even when I reflect back, I really stunk. The velocity wasn’t there and I was really average. If I were a manager, I wouldn’t put myself on the mound for game actions.”

‘Bulgogi’ ad makes Choo laughingstock
Korea Times

Yet another Korea PR fail. This time, Choo Shin-soo’s bulgogi ad in The New York Times is getting chewed out.

In last Wednesday’s print edition of the newspaper, the Texas Rangers outfielder was shown holding up a piece of meat with chopsticks wearing a classic forced smile.

So a Korean sports hero says he wants to help promote Korea’s most popular beef dish. What’s wrong with that? In this case, everything.

Kim pursuing Olympics dream in taekwondo
Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina)

Although David Kim will be away from home for his birthday next week, his 16th probably can’t get any sweeter.

Kim, a sophomore at West Forsyth, will travel to Chinese Taipei with the U.S. taekwondo team and compete in the World Junior Championships scheduled March 27-29.

Kim was selected to the team at national trials in January in Colorado Springs, Colo., and competing in the junior championships will take him a step closer to his dream of making the 2016 Olympics.

That dream began when Kim was 4, when he first got on the mat with his father, Master Woo Sup Kim, when the family lived in Buffalo, N.Y.

Samsung Cameras May Come With Transparent Displays
Wall Street Journal

Samsung Electronics’ camera ambitions are far from over. A patent filing registered earlier this month with Korean authorities shows that the company has been toying with a new tool for its cameras: transparent displays.

“This design is of a digital camera using a transparent display that allows the person taking the photo and the subject of the photo-shoot to look at each other and have direct eye-contact for photo shooting,” according to the filing reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The device, as seen in the diagram, comes with a body that resembles a compact camera rather than more professionally used digital single-lens reflex cameras that have much bigger image sensors and multiple lens options.

The Korean BBQ Sandwich That Obama Ate
Hartford Courant (Connecticut)

People paid attention in early March when President Obama stopped for lunch at Cafe Beauregard in New Britain in advance of his speech at Central Connecticut State University. Food nerds took special notice that the POTUS ordered a Spicy Korean BBQ steak sandwich. (International diplomacy, budget battles and squabbles over minimum wage are all important, of course, but we want to know what the man eats!)

A few fevered minds even suggested Obama’s order signaled some sort of executive nudge, a high-profile culinary push that would send Korean cuisine into greater public consciousness. Well, I doubt it. (Obama, after all, has probably eaten his share of funky Kenyan and Indonesian fare, but that hasn’t made gado-gado, say, a go-to buffet item.) Still, the presidential seal of approval did seem to do something for Main Street in New Britain, which is a worthy destination for grabbing a bite. Less than a week after Obama’s visit, there was a healthy line at Cafe Beauregard, and the staff was getting used to a new computerized check-out system. (Two other food spots worth getting to are also within walking distance — the venerable Capitol Lunch and Mae Kong Thai.) A sign in front of Cafe Beauregard announces that “Obama Eats Here!”

The 12 Things You Need to Know About POT, Roy Choi’s Newest Creation
Los Angeles Magazine

Yesterday, as friends and family gathered to have (a hosted) lunch at POT inside Koreatown’s newest hotel, chef Roy Choi danced his way around the room to sample the broths at each table, pose for photos with hotel guests and fans, and talk about how excited he was to be making the food he grew up eating.

POT is a long way from Kogi, A-Frame, or Sunny Spot. It’s traditional Korean food to which Choi says he’s adding his “own spin.” It’s hot pot gone hip hop, and it’s certainly worth a taste. All you really need to know is that POT opens to the public next Tuesday, March 24, but here are 12 other things to keep in mind until you can get a seat at Choi’s newest spot.

1. Hot pots are the main attraction here, but don’t disregard the other items and also the other-other section—all listed inside a newspaper-like menu that’s full of references to sex and weed and other fun things.

Jeju, Home to Riding–and Eating–Horses
Wall Street Journal

On South Korea’s Jeju island, the expression, “I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse,” can be taken literally.

On this resort island, off the south coast of the Korean peninsula, horse meat is a popular delicacy, with people enjoying it raw.

Although a taboo food in some cultures, tasting horse is part of the to-do list for many foreign tourists, says Hyun Bong-suk, who runs a horse-meat restaurant in Seogwipo, a bustling city in the southern part of the island.

“Foreigners don’t visit Jeju just for horse meat, but when they come here, they want to have a chance to eat it. And many of them say they enjoy it. Horse beef, when served in raw, is sweet, tender and low in fat,” he said.

South Korean-Made Dress Fabric a Hit in North
Radio Free Asia

North Koreans shopping in Chinese border towns are paying sky-high prices for South Korean-made fabric used for traditional women’s dresses, ignoring cheaper domestically made equivalents, according to traders and merchants.

North Koreans buy the fabric for the dresses, known in the North as “choson-ot” and in the South as “hanbok,” for hundreds or thousands of Chinese yuan—prices unaffordable for average North Koreans, traders in the border towns said.

“All the fabrics I sell are from South Korea and most of my customers are North Korean,” a merchant in the Chinese city of Dandong, an important cross-border trading city across the river from North Korea’s Sinuiju, told RFA’s Korean Service on condition of anonymity.

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