Kimchi salsa-topped nachos and bulgogi sliders are just a few of the yummy pub grub offerings at Ahn-Joo, a snack bar and restaurant opened by TV food star Debbie Lee.
by Rebecca U. Cho
Los Angeles’ Koreatown is a mouth-watering hodgepodge of Korean eateries, from upscale BBQ houses to hole-in-the-wall noodle shops. But for one L.A. patron looking for late-night drinks and snacks out on the town, perhaps the ideal venue, still little known to mainstream America, is the sul jib, the Korean pub.
To change all that, in steps chef Debbie Lee, the former top-three contestant on season 5 of the hit show, The Next Food Network Star. Inspired by the dishes at the sul jibs she used to frequent with friends as a college student, Lee is set on courting the intrigue but removing the intimidation she believes surrounds Korean food through Ahn-Joo, a Korean snack bar and restaurant that opened late last year in Glendale, Calif.
“My friends thought [sul jibs are] amazing, ‘is this a normal thing?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s where we go for a late-night snack. It’s our Cheers bar,’” Lee said in a recent phone interview. “People don’t know we eat like this.” Continue Reading »
South Koreans furious at China over death at sea
AP via San Francisco Chronicle
Angry South Koreans slammed Chinese fishermen as “pirates” Tuesday, while President Lee Myung-bak pledged to spend more on policing the country’s waters after a Chinese boat captain allegedly stabbed a coast guard officer to death.
During a protest at the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, a right-wing demonstrator rammed his sport utility vehicle three times into a police bus guarding the building, while others defaced a Chinese flag. A popular South Korean Internet post called for the shelling of illegal Chinese fishing boats.
Man sentenced to three life terms for Tenafly triple murders
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
Convicted triple-murderer Kang Hyuk Choi was sentenced Wednesday to three concurrent life terms for the stabbing deaths of three members of a Tenafly family three years ago.
“The last thing you will see before you die will be the inside of a cell that you are about to enter shortly,” Superior Court Judge Donald Venezia said to Choi.
Defense attorney Francis Meehan said Choi had a serious gambling addiction that depleted his finances and ruined his credit.
He came into contact with Sean Kim, who had posted an online ad to help people repair their credit, Meehan said. Choi later began working for Kim, who promised him that he could earn up to $20,000 a month, Meehan said.
Choi became angry when the money never came, and after an argument at Kim’s home in May 2008, he stabbed Kim with a large kitchen knife, Choi said during his guilty plea in September.
Happy Hug Day, Korea
Hugs are dangerous things.
They can get you sued, banned or — worst case scenario — caught on camera in awkward poses that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
But even lousy huggers can be fearless today. (Hug Day was moved from December 11 to December 14 a few years ago in order to match all the other quirky unofficial Korean holidays that fall on the 14th of every month.)
Korean vendors are throwing mini-events in celebration, giving away coffee and hot chocolate via Twitter. Actors are also seizing the day as an excuse for marketing ploys promoting their latest movies.
So who do Koreans want to hug?
Park Tae-joon, Founder of a Giant in Steel, Dies at 84
New York Times
Park Tae-joon, a former South Korean general who created Posco, one of the world’s largest steel companies, helping to lay the foundation for his nation’s rise from an impoverished postwar society into an industrial powerhouse, died on Tuesday in Seoul. He was 84.
Interpreters in Korean Basketball League say job is tough
There are only two men on the bench during a Korean basketball game that wear a suit and tie: the manager and the interpreter.
In the Korean Basketball League, each team has at least one overseas player and one interpreter.
Coaches say foreign players are crucial for their teams as they usually score the most points. And as the demand for foreign players grew, so did the importance of interpreters in the KBL.
Chef Debbie Lee cookbook signing in Tempe
Chef and author Debbie Lee is hosting a book signing at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe Thursday, Dec. 15.
The Phoenix native, who was a finalist on season five of “The Next Food Network Star,” shares her spin on Korean dishes in “Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share with Family and Friends.” Lee, who is also known for her popular food truck Ahn Joo in Los Angeles, fuses Korean and American fare with dishes such as flavorful grilled meats, Korean style pickles, nachos, meatloaf, meatballs and cocktails.
Tears, Gratitude and Anger Mark the 1,000th Protest
Wall Street Journal
It was never meant to last 20 years.
In January 1992, a group of Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II staged a protest outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul. They timed the protest to a visit by Japan’s then-Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. They became known as the “comfort women” and their weekly demonstration became known as the “Wednesday Protest.”
Today, with a crowd of about 3,000 joining in, the comfort women staged their 1,000th protest in front of the embassy.
“Comfort Women” visit Palisades Park
The public is invited Thursday to meet two Korean women who recently arrived to share their story of captivity by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Yongsoo Lee, 83, and Ok-Seon Yi, 84, will meet with the public at 12:30 p.m. at the borough library. The women were brought to the United States by the Korean American Voters’ Council, and spoke at an art exhibit at the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center in Queens earlier this week. The exhibit focuses on the struggles of the many women held prisoner during the war.
Angelina Jolie and ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson on Hollywood’s Female Director Deficit
I don’t think about the gender thing very much. But when I speak at schools, I’ve had female students say to me afterwards, “I never envisioned myself being a director, since I’ve never seen women do it.” But after seeing me, they can picture themselves directing, so maybe we’ll see more female directors. And half of these kids in art and animation schools are girls.
South Korea by Train: High Speed, Slot Machines and Monastic Calm
Dorasan, close to the border, was supposed to be a key stop on the route to reunification for North and South. But the idea of restoring a regular cross-frontier passenger service foundered. Dorasan station, though shiny with hope, remains no more than a 20 minute stop-off for sightseers on bus tours of the border. It sits on the edge of one of the world’s weirdest slivers of real estate – the Korean Demilitarised Zone, or DMZ, where the Z rhymes with C.
It is a scrubby slice of the 20th century preserved not in archive or museum but in camouflage, landmines and barbed wire. Around it has grown a sort of Cold War theme park, an edgy peep-show of a world almost at war, where instead of turnstiles there are guard posts and the guys on the gate are front-line soldiers. Their costumes and props – combat fatigues and automatic rifles – are real.
Nearly 7 out of 10 Koreans See Society as Corrupt
More than half of the country’s ordinary citizens considered politicians the main culprits behind the corruption in the nation, followed by government agencies (30.3 percent), the judiciary sector (25.4 percent) and state-owned companies (22.5 percent), according to the poll.
While more than half of the ordinary citizens assessed the government’s anti-corruption efforts as insufficient, the share of the respondents who expect things to get worse reached 27.3 percent, up from 17 percent last year, it found.
Seminar’s Hettienne Park on Hitting the Theatrical Jackpot in Plays by Tony Kushner & Theresa Rebeck
Growing up outside Boston, Park juggled music, dance and academics. Her parents had “the typical kind of Asian [outlook],” the Korean-American actress says. “They had me play every musical instrument; I started ballet when I was three but couldn’t pursue it because I was so busy with music, clubs and academics.” After studying flute and piano at the New England Conservatory, Park bowed to her parents’ wishes and entered college at the University of Rochester, double-majoring in economics and religion. “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking,” she says of her demanding load, which included Latin as her foreign language. By graduation, the over-achieving Park realized she was more interested in performing than business.
Exploring Koreatown’s Galleria Market with Chef Debbie Lee
Not every cook is familiar with Korean ingredients — but we’re lucky to have them in abundance in L.A. Lee herself likes to shop at the Galleria Market in Koreatown, which fills the ground floor of a three-story mall at the southeast corner of Western and Olympic. Explains Lee, “The Galleria Market is like the Pavilions of Koreatown. Everything you can imagine is under the sun, with the freshest ingredients. I prefer to shop at a market for variety, and the Galleria has just that.”
Fund Manager Kim Offered Six- to 18-Year Sentence for Alleged Ponzi Scheme
Manhattan prosecutors said Kim told his clients they were investing in safe and stable securities while he generated losses trading highly speculative futures contracts and diverted customer money to himself. He created fake monthly performance statements to conceal the scheme from at least 45 victims, the government said.
Kim and his employees told prospective clients the fund generated returns of more than 240 percent, and they hid losses by making new investments look like profits, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a civil suit.
Shopping trips in New York, skiing in Vermont and excursions to Atlantic City, New Jersey, were funded by improper withdrawals from the fund, the CFTC said. Kim “is the sole and managing member” of the New York-based company, the agency said in its complaint, filed in February.
Virginia Tech Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Fairfax Times (Virginia)
Daniel Sun Kim, 21, was a 2004 South Lakes High School graduate who was a junior at Virginia Tech when the massacre occurred there on April 16, 2007. Kim killed himself on Dec. 8, 2007.
The lawsuit, filed by William and Elizabeth Kim of Reston, sought $43 million from the university’s “Care Team.”
The suit claimed an online gaming friend, Shuan Pribush, who was then a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., contacted Virginia Tech via email and warned counselors there of Daniel’s suicidal tendencies about a month before he killed himself.
Looking Back at 2011’s Asian Americans in Film
…the great number of breakout works from 2011 is a reminder that there is a very vibrant Asian American film community with many members working actively to produce timely and entertaining works. While we’ve yet to reach a time when, at any given month of the year, you can walk into a multiplex and find films with either Asian American leads or directors, progress is being made slowly but surely.
Additionally, in 2011 film festivals that heavily feature Asian American works continue to prosper. Hawaii (HIFF), Los Angeles (LAAPFF), San Francisco (SFIAAF), San Diego (SDAFF), and New York City (AAIFF) all enjoyed a very stellar year. Asian American films would be no where without the help of these festivals.
Hayashi arrest no laughing matter [OPINION]
Oakland Tribune via San Jose Mercury News
A Bay Area columnist weighs in after it was revealed that Neiman Marcus security had red-flagged state Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi during a previous visit. Hayashi, the first female Korean American to serve in the California Legislature, was arrested for felony theft on Oct. 25.
‘Voice’ Runner-Up Dia Frampton Works With Kid Cudi, Foster The People For Raw Debut
“Red,” Frampton’s debut, arrives Dec. 6 on Universal Republic. She says the album is far more upbeat than Meg & Dia’s three albums and four EPs, owing to her collaborations with other writers in Los Angeles, Nashville and London. Without her older sister to split writer duties — “We don’t work together; she writes her songs and I write mine” — Frampton found the experience different from what she expected.
“This record is very personal, almost uncomfortable,” the 24-year-old artist says after doing a promotional concert at the Hollywood office of Reveille Productions. “I felt very alone on this record. On our last [Meg & Dia] record, we were stuck in this little cabin sharing bedrooms, just the five of us. The guitar amps were in the living room.
NKorea shows leader and his son watching massive live-fire drills amid tension with SKorea
AP via Washington Post
North Korean television has aired footage of leader Kim Jong Il and his son watching massive live-fire drills.
The footage aired on state television Tuesday showed Kim and his heir-apparent Kim Jong Un watching tanks, aircraft, warships and rocket launchers firing at targets on mountains. Dozens of troops were seen parachuting from a plane.
The two Kims were seen speaking to each other as they watched the drills from an enclosed viewing stand with senior military officers.
South Korean gamers suffer joystick curfew shock
The Register (U.K.)
A ban restricting all South Korean gamers under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6am is now in full affect.
South Korea, boasting the fifth largest broadband penetration rate, is the first country to implement the controversial initiative under the Youth Protection Revision bill.
The bill, variously known as the Shutdown Law or Cinderella Law, had been contested but was eventually passed.
At this stage the ban only pertains to PC and console based networked games including Xbox Live, PlayStation and multiplayer dominions such as World of Warcraft. The government says that within two years networked games using mobile phones will be included in the ban.
News On-the-Go, Even in Pyongyang
Wall Street Journal
Like newspapers all around the world, North Korea’s biggest newspaper Rodong Shinmun is apparently adjusting to new technology.
Word is out that Rodong Shinmun is now providing news on cellphones in Pyongyang. Chosun Sinbo, a newspaper in Japan run by the General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan, published a story about it on Saturday.
It’s not quite right to say the newspaper has developed an “app” since there aren’t yet smartphones in North Korea. It appears Rodong Shinmun is sending out multimedia messages, or MMS, with stories.
Lawsuit spurred by Virginia Tech student’s suicide settled for $250,000
The state has agreed to pay $250,000 and create a $100,000 scholarship fund to settle a $43 million wrongful death lawsuit brought against Virginia Tech by the family of a student who committed suicide, according to a court order
The state will pay up to $126,666 in legal fees to the plaintiff’s attorney. The family of Daniel Sun Kim is to receive at least $123,334.
Additionally, Virginia Tech will establish a $100,000 scholarship in Kim’s name, place a memorial plaque somewhere on campus and enact a policy of considering immediate notification of the parents or guardians of any student who is thought to be suicidal.
The Kim family brought the action in Fairfax Circuit Court in 2009 to “learn why Tech didn’t follow its protocols” in responding to a warning that Kim was suicidal, plaintiffs’ attorney Gary Mims wrote in a statement.
Ahn-Joo: Debbie Lee’s Korean Pub Food Restaurant, Her Cookbook + a Recipe for Chicken Meatballs
Ahn-joo is the Korean word for pub food. It’s what Debbie Lee serves at her newly opened Ahn-Joo, a Korean snack bar in the Americana mall in Glendale. No liquor there, but Lee frequents Koreantown pubs so she knows the dishes well. And she adds her own spin to come up with a modern take, even turning rice cakes into nachos.
Nothing is cheffy or pretentious. “I’m a cook. At the end of the day, I want to serve people the food that I want to eat,” she says.
South Korea’s Hottest IPO: Boy Band, Inc.
For the past month, the biggest story in South Korea’s stock market has centered on a five-piece boy band called Big Bang, and a couple puffs of marijuana.
News that the Big Bang’s front-man had reportedly tested positive for pot threatened to put a crimp in the initial public offering of YG Entertainment, the label responsible for some of the biggest acts in Korean Pop. The concerns were for naught. Last week, buyers snapped up YG Entertainment’s stock like teenagers trying to score tickets to their favorite boy band’s show. The company’s share price more than doubled on its first day of trading, reaching roughly $67 as buyers ordered 561 times more stock than was available. Its market cap now sits at roughly $340 million.
Samsung Lions beat SoftBank Hawks to win Asia Series
South Korea’s Samsung Lions beat SoftBank Hawks of Japan 5-3 to capture the Asia Series tournament in a battle of league champions.
At Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, the Lions, the 2011 champion of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) overcame an early deficit against the Hawks, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) champion. Samsung’s starter Jang Won-sam settled down after a shaky start and the bullpen took care of the rest, as the Lions became the first KBO club to win the Asia Series since it began in 2005. The Lions also avenged a 9-0 loss to the Hawks in the round-robin phase of this tournament.
The Set of Hawaii 5-0: Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, and Lauren German
Our friends at Giant Robot take a behind-the-scenes look at Hawaii 5-0.
Television has such a fast moving pace that the director can’t scrutinize every moment of every word. There’s trust between the sound, multiple camera angles, and how the lines are delivered. Daniel answers, “the intonations can change per take.” He cites that it’s often his own discretion, and they’ll pick one of them. Even the hmmms, yeahs, and extra unscripted sounds that the actors make might get edited out, but are used to keep in rhythm of the scene. There are plenty of lines to memorize in a scene like this, and while some actors can memorize them after reading them once, the director cites Kiefer Sutherland as one who memorizes them instantly. Grace Park reveals that she works on them days early. Two days early is her technique for success. Then she goes over it again and again. Daniel Dae Kim who started off with a Law and Order Episode said that some of the old pros on that show read the lines right before the take for the first time, and fired them off perfectly.
Blake Shelton Records a Duet With Dia Frampton
Taste of Country
When asked whether or not she and her coach have been working on material together, Frampton answered with an enthusiastic “Yes!” before going into more detail.
“I wrote a song with some friends (who also knew Blake) in Nashville. The song is called ‘I Will,’ and when I sent it to Blake he said he’d love to sing on it,” she revealed. “He took time out of his busy schedule to come record his part, which meant a lot to me. He’s been so supportive through all of this. He’s working overtime as a coach.”
Dia graced the cover of KoreAm’s October 2011 issue.
South Korean orchestra, conductor strike discordant note
Los Angeles Times
There’s a musical mutiny playing out in this city’s hallowed concert hall, a discordant note not usually heard from the nation’s premier symphony orchestra.
Musicians in crucial chairs of the KBS Symphony Orchestra have either walked out or been dismissed, taking their instruments with them. Others are donning protest T-shirts and offering subpar work during practices and even some performances.
Such sourness stems not only from hard financial times and a trend toward declining salaries but the reappointment of an unpopular American-trained conductor. Many veteran musicians with the 55-year-old symphony orchestra are irate about controversial conductor Hahm Shinik, who many say can’t tell an oboe from a French horn.
“During rehearsals when the tune is off, the conductor doesn’t know,” one musician told the JoongAng Daily newspaper here. “Furthermore, he doesn’t recognize the distinction between different instruments.”
At rallies, the musicians have chanted: “We don’t want a circus. Make the unskilled conductor step down.”
The impact of Michelle Rhee’s ‘culture of urgency’
Here’s a vaguely negative opinion column about former D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.
It is an almost universal tribute offered about Michelle Rhee’s 3 1/2 -year tenure of the Washington D.C. school district — that if she accomplished one thing, it was to instill a sense of urgency in the city about the need to fix broken schools that had failed children for decades.
Infant found outside church; ‘God let people hear the baby crying’
The cries of a newborn girl abandoned in a grocery bag at a Schaumburg church led congregation members to discover her tucked under a teddy bear and a bath towel. But her rescuers think there was something more that helped them find the baby as the Gospel Presbyterian Church emptied after Sunday services.
“I definitely feel God was working in this situation,” said Bob Song, a church elder who helped find the 5-pound, 9-ounce girl. If no one had heard the newborn crying Sunday from inside the green, recyclable grocery sack, she might not have been discovered for two days because the church is typically closed and empty on Monday.
“That would have been too late,” Song said, worrying that the baby could have died by then. “I felt so good that God let people hear the baby crying.”
The article also noted that the baby was Asian.
Find Debbie Lee’s Restaurant, Win $100
Be the first person to figure out where Debbie Lee is opening the brick-and-mortar location of Ahn Joo Snack Bar (already rolling around LA as a food truck since last year), and you could win a $100 gift certificate to the place. The Korean pub grub concept officially opens on November 10th. We keep hearing it’s in Hollywood, but what do we know?
The first person to correctly reveal the “secret” location of Ahn Joo Snack Bar by snapping a picture of it and tagging it @AhnJooLA on Twitter, will receive a $100 gift certificate, as well as an invitation to the restaurant’s opening celebration.
Kim Jong-il ‘Only Old-School Dictator Left’
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is the only “old-school” dictator in the world now that Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi is dead, wrote William Dobson, a former editor of Foreign Policy magazine and Newsweek, in the Washington Post on Sunday.
Dobson classified dictators into “20th-century old-school dictators” and “21st-century dictators.” “So-called 21st century dictators have realized the high cost of pure dictatorship so they repress their populations indirectly through legality, procedure and process instead of iron-fisted control,” he said.
North Korea Rents Out Its Resources to Stave Off Reform
New York Times
In September, under the flags of North Korea and China, North Korean workers began digging at Haesan, a hilly town near the Chinese border, kicking off one of several joint mining ventures. On Oct. 13, a Russian train chugged across the border to celebrate the restoration of a dilapidated Soviet-era rail link between the Russian city of Khasan and the North Korean town of Rajin.
At Haesan, China acquires copper, one of the many abundant mineral reserves lying next door waiting to be exploited. At Rajin, Russia wins access to an ice-free port to export Siberian coal and take in Asian goods it wants to transport to Europe. From both projects, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, counts cash.
These and other similar deals North Korea is striking with its two Cold War-era allies, especially China, are creating a predicament for the South Korean government.
Trio of restaurants brings cultural diversity
Daily Trojan (Univ. of Southern California)
One of the earliest people to foresee the potential of the [downtown L.A.] Arts District was restaurateur Jason Ha, who restored a historic building into an Asian-fusion sushi restaurant in 2002.
Ha is a pioneer in revitalizing eastern Downtown’s dining scene. When he first came to the United States at 19 years old, he barely spoke a word of English. Walking around the college cafeteria with his lunch tray, he determinedly introduced himself to different tables each day with the only English sentence he knew: “Hello, I’m Jason. How are you?”
A couple of decades later, and Ha is now a Californian-ized Korean. He speaks perfect English with a California twang but retains dramatic Korean expressions. His skin is tanned from years of windsurfing with multi-ethnic friends, but he still attends a Korean church.
Most eco-friendly tours in Korea
Becoming a tourist hot spot may mean fame and money for the locale, but it can often bring destruction to the beauty that prompts people to go there in the first place.
While eco-friendly tourism has been gaining popularity around the world and organizations such as the International Eco-Tourism Society have been around since the early 1990s, environmentally friendly tourism in Korea is only a recent development.
According to Good Travel, an environmentally responsible travel agency in Seoul, eco-tourism has is becoming more and more popular within Korea.
Here are some the most ecologically interesting tours in Korea that are also focused on conservation.