Tag Archives: food

Top Chef Recap: Beverly Kim Cleans Up

by Monica Y. Hong

This week on Top Chef Texas we finally got to meet our other Korean American hopeful, Beverly Kim, chef de cuisine at Aria in Chicago. With Chef Edward Lee “on the bubble” following last week’s season premiere, Chef Kim’s performance is vital to our getting at least one KA into the top 16. No pressure.

Ten ingredients are presented to 10 chefs in the third and final group to decide who goes to the round of 16. Choosing from a variety of ingredients such as oxtail, brussel sprouts and rice, our girl Beverly goes with octopus.

The chefs are separated into three groups based on the amount of cooking time they are allotted for their chosen ingredient. Chef Kim is part of the third group and will have a full hour to prepare her eight-tentacled friend.

“Tom and Hugh are walking around the kitchen so I’m just feeling a little nervous and scared,” Kim says. But she doesn’t look scared when she starts tearing apart the octopus with her bare hands. Despite being a petite chef, she shows no signs of fear or weakness. Continue reading

Wednesday's Link Attack: Dear Leader Death Rumors, K-Pop, Dokdo

Kim Jong-il Death Rumors Rattle Markets
Chosun Ilbo

Rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death spread through the South Korean stock market on Tuesday, driving share prices down and causing the won to plunge against the U.S. dollar. The KOSPI hovered around the 1,915 point level, similar to Monday’s close, but fell steeply at around 2:20 p.m. when the rumors hit the market. It closed down 0.8 percent (15.96 points) at 1,903.14.

A Playboy queen in chef’s whites
City A.M. (London)

IMAGINE, for a moment, the head chef at a Playboy Club. Whatever image just sprang to your mind, I am fairly certain it is not Judy Joo. A Korean-American former Wall Street banker (she was a sales-trader on the fixed income floor of Morgan Stanley; her husband works for a hedge fund in London), Joo has been executive chef at Park Lane’s revamped Playboy since it opened in June. The New Jersey-born graduate of Columbia University’s School of Engineering left banking and a fat salary to become a chef – taking rather a gamble on many fronts. We meet this most impressive and unlikely Playboy employee.

Q. What made you decide to make the leap from banking to cheffing?

A. I suddenly realised: I’m enjoying being a banker but I don’t love it. I was regularly taking a shuttle from LaGuardia to Boston and found myself grabbing the free cooking magazines in the bus station. I felt like Barrons and the Economist were more like homework. So after a while I was like: why don’t I just do what I love and follow my dream and my passion?

Winter Olympics a Bigger Boost for Korea Than K-Pop
Chosun Ilbo

Foreigners who live in Korea or have visited the country say Pyeongchang’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics did more to boost Korea’s image than K-pop.

The Corea Image Communication Institute, which looks for ways to improve Korea’s image abroad, surveyed 211 foreign diplomats, academics, CEOs, artists and other opinion leaders from Oct. 10 to Nov. 7, and 55.3 percent said the Pyeongchang bid played the biggest role in improving Korea’s image.

Next were K-pop (18.6 percent) and Shin Kyung-sook’s international bestseller “Please Look After Mom” (16.7 percent). Others cited novelist Lee Oe-soo, figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, English Premier League footballer Park Ji-sung and singer Rain.

In contrast, 39.2 percent of 303 Koreans who were surveyed cited K-pop as playing the biggest part in boosting their country’s image abroad, followed by the Pyeongchang bid with 36.6 percent.

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[VIDEO] South Korea pushes its pop culture abroad
BBC News

Once under the thumb of, and then in the shadows of its more powerful neighbours like Japan, South Korea is emerging in the 21st century as a dynamic, global force. Rajan Datar reports on how it has now become a major exporter of popular culture.

Seoul dismisses Japan’s request to call off Dokdo concert
Yonhap

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday dismissed Japan’s recent request to cancel a scheduled musical concert on South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, saying it was “needless” to even consider the request.

S. Korean man sends his cut-off pinky to Japanese embassy
Yonhap News via Korea Herald

An unemployed South Korean man has been booked for investigation after he cut off part of his left pinky and sent it to the Japanese embassy in protest of Tokyo’s territorial claim to South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, police said Wednesday.

Rain Chosen as Assistant Instructor at Army Boot Camp
Chosun Ilbo

Self-explanatory.

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Father gets suspended term for beating daughter with bamboo stick
Yonhap via Korea Times

A Seoul appellate court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling and sentenced the father of a teenage girl to a suspended prison term for beating her with a bamboo stick and forcing her to do long physical workouts.

The father, identified as Choi, 48, was indicted last year on charges of harsh treatment of his 15-year-old daughter. In addition to beating her with a bamboo stick, he was accused of forcing her to run on a treadmill for more than an hour at a time and to perform other workouts as punishment for not studying hard or being wasteful.

Do All Asians Have Flat Butts?
8Asians

I admit that I have a flat butt. Please, no jokes. I’m a little sensitive about it. Once I asked an ex-girlfriend if they thought I had a nice ass and they said I had a wonderful personality. I should have known then that the relationship was doomed.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: North Korea, Suicide, Opening Ceremony

Moving on when mom is killed at war
CNN.com

It was only natural for Kristin Choe to begin drawing. Even at age 3, she expressed herself through art.

And that’s exactly what she did in the months after her mother, Navy Lt. Florence Bacong Choe, 35, was killed by an Afghan army soldier in March 2009.

The little girl took out crayons and a sheet of paper and began coloring in some green grass. Her father, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chong “Jay” Choe, thought Kristin was drawing the family’s home. But the final sketch proved to be much more: a symbol of their new life and a little girl’s loving memory of her mom. Dad didn’t know what to make of the drawing. It left him speechless.

Yet he kept the picture as a reminder of everything that changed the moment Florence was killed. “When I think about what’s next — how do you press on? how do you live your life? — I think of Kristin first and foremost.”

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South Korea Approves Sending Medical Aid to North
New York Times

South Korea on Tuesday authorized the World Health Organization to resume distribution of Seoul-financed medical aid to North Korea, amid growing international calls for humanitarian assistance for malnourished North Korean children.

The decision “was based upon our belief that purely humanitarian support for the young and vulnerable in North Korea should continue,” a senior Unification Ministry official told reporters Tuesday during a briefing given on condition of anonymity.

Student Spotlight: Zenia Kim
StyleBistro

Zenia Kim is an M.F.A. Fashion Design student, who recently debuted her work as part of the Italian Trade Commission Collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. She also interned at Yigal Azrouel over the summer, and has spent the past few months exploring NYC and finding inspiration for her Senior Collection. Read on to hear about all of her eye-opening experiences!

Tackling South Korea’s high suicide rates
BBC News

More than 40 South Koreans a day are taking their lives and the government in Seoul has recognised it is a problem that needs tackling. But, as the BBC’s Lucy Williamson finds out, the reasons for such a high suicide rate are complicated and not easy to solve.

Senior actor found dead in apparent suicide
Korea Herald

A senior South Korean actor was found dead in his small rented room on Tuesday of an apparent suicide, police said.

Kim Choo-ryun, a 64-year-old actor who had his heyday in the 1970s, was found hanging in his studio in Gimhae, 449 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the police said.

He seemed to have killed himself the previous day after months of depression, they noted.

According to police, a suicide note found in Kim’s room, read, “I can hardly stand my loneliness and difficulties. I am sorry for my fans and family.”

11-11-11 is a popular wedding date
Bergen County Record

Krystle Patton, 27 and David Pak, 34, both of Hackensack, also picked Friday as their special day. They had been dating for several years when Pak proposed on Feb. 11, Valentine’s Day weekend. The two knew they would get married later that year.

“I had been waiting 5 1/2 years and wanted to get married in the fall, but I didn’t think we would get 11-11,” says Patton. “I know people had probably had that date booked forever, but someone just canceled and we took it.”

The couple, whose wedding will be at the Graycliff in Moonachie, found extra significance in the date. Pak is Korean, and Nov. 11 in South Korea is Pepero Day, similar to Valentine’s Day in the U.S. “It’s apparently our lucky number now,” says Patton.

Review: Momofuku Seiobo
Sydney Morning Herald

He does The Bun. Let’s get that out of the way right now. After months of claiming his famous steamed pork bun was not part of the plan at his new Momofuku Seiobo at The Star, David Chang has installed it on the $175, 15-course tasting menu. Thank the lord. It’s sweet and steamy, the pork belly in baby-bum-soft cushions of white bread, hit with hoisin sauce and cucumber, Sriracha chilli on the side. As the birthday bloke sitting next to me at the kitchen counter says: ”Ten more of those and a six-pack and I’ll die happy.”

This is the first Momofuku outside New York for Korean-American chef David Chang, recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 people who most affect our world.

Americans in Paris
The National (Dubai, U.A.E.)

Here’s a profile of the duo — Korean American Carol Lim and Chinese American Humberto Leon — behind fashion trendsetting company Opening Ceremony.

Lena Park Enjoys Belated Leap to the Big Time
Chosun Ilbo

The hit MBC TV reality show “I Am a Singer” was nothing if not transformational for Park. It has led to commercial contracts — the first since her debut — and requests to perform and appear on other TV programs. Park describes appearing on the show as a life-changing experience.

“In the past, only a few people recognized me on the street, but now everyone does,” she said. “But that has created a few problems too,” she added.

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1976, Park came to Korea to perform back in 1995 when she was studying acting at UCLA. She says her first days in Korea were tough, since she had to live by herself without knowing the language.

Rain Named Top Marksman at Boot Camp
Chosun Ilbo

Self-explanatory.

Free David Choe Print on 11/11/11 Just Do What He Asks
Giant Robot

Artist David Choe is hosting an elaborate giveaway for some very nice prints of his work. The giveaway, which coincides with Pepero Day on 11/11, will require fans to do four tasks.

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Prosecutors Probing SK Group’s Chairman
Wall Street Journal

SK Group, a South Korean conglomerate with businesses ranging from telecom to oil, said Tuesday that prosecutors visited its headquarters seeking financial documents, as part of an investigation into allegations the group’s chairman, Chey Tae-won, used company funds to cover personal investment losses.

Big Bang wins “Best Worldwide Act” at MTV’s 2011 Europe Music Awards
allkpop

Big Bang won the award for best “Worldwide Act” at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards.

How To Get A Korean Boyfriend
YouTube

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Monday's Link Attack: Amb. Sung Kim, Harold and Kumar, Will Demps

For new U.S. ambassador, a mixed reception for a native son
Yonhap

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, a Korean-American who immigrated to the United States at 13, speaks the Korean language fluently. But others think that his deep ties to Korea and his ethnicity could also pose challenges.

“A lot of Koreans will receive him as a returning son,” said a former Korean diplomat who asked to remain unnamed. “But such a sentiment of Koreans can work negatively on Kim’s ambassadorial performance.”

He said the incoming ambassador, like other Americans, is expected to pursue American values and interests in his post, which may disappoint Koreans. Moreover, he said, Koreans tend to be kinder to foreigners than to those with an ethnically Korean background.

“I am afraid that Koreans may not pay due respect to Amb. Kim,” said the former diplomat, who served in a top post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Becoming an Iron Chef: Judy Joo
Columbia Engineering

In a wry 2009 Wall Street Journal essay, Columbia Engineering graduate Judy Joo described her life as the lowest of chefs in a London three-star Michelin restaurant. It was a male-dominated world of commanding profanities, testosterone-fueled temper tantrums, and confrontations that sometimes ended with shattered plates and trays.

Fortunately, Joo was used to it. She had worked on Wall Street.

Today, she is one of the four resident chefs on “Iron Chef UK” and executive chef of London’s swanky Playboy Club. It has been a surprising journey for the self-described “geeky” daughter of Korean immigrants who grew up in New Jersey wanting to be the next Madame Curie.

Rhee sets up shop downtown
Sacramento Bee

StudentsFirst, the group founded last year by Michelle Rhee, recently signed a lease for the second floor of the historic Hale’s building at Ninth and K and will move staff there in February following the completion of tenant improvements costing about $1 million.

The group has been operating out of temporary facilities in the Oak Park neighborhood and currently has about 30 staffers, many of them former colleagues of Rhee’s from Washington, D.C., where she was the district’s schools chancellor.

She moved here in June and married Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in September.

‘The Walking Dead’ star Steven Yeun scares up South Florida fans
Accidental Sexiness

Yeun, who plays the role of Glenn on the hit AMC zombie drama, sat down with us for a special one-on-one interview where he told us a bit of what we can expect from his character during this exciting second season. So far we are starting to learn little bits and pieces about him and we’ve even met his soon-to-be love interest Maggie Greene (played by Lauren Cohan).

Korean-Americans hope to reunite with NK relatives
Korea Times

[Lee Cha-Hee] is one of an estimated 100,000 first-generation Korean-Americans who remain separated from their family members in the North, many of whom still yearn to see their parents, siblings or children living in the Stalinist state. With no official channels to contact them, they have long called on Washington to act on the issue and in some cases resorted to dodgy informal methods.

Their plight is gaining traction on the back of grassroots efforts as well as a forthcoming documentary, “Divided Families,” recently screened on Capitol Hill. The increased attention comes at an opportune time as Washington and Pyongyang discuss the possibility of holding some form of reunions.

Former NFL Player Will Demps
Asiance

Will Demps is undoubtedly one of the most handsome former football players of the NFL. A former San Diego State Aztec, Demps was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002, playing for the New York Giants in 2006 and eventually as a Houston Texan until 2009.

Born to a Korean mother and an African-American father, Will Demps is quite well-known. During his childhood, his family relocated to California where he would soon realize his dream of becoming an NFL football player.

An entrepreneur at heart, Will is involved with numerous businesses. Demps is the owner of a Wet Willie’s chain bar in San Diego, California, the first on the West Coast and features dishes influenced by his mother’s home cooking such as Seoul tacos. He’s also in the middle of developing a social network for celebrities.

Harold & Kumar are still wreaking silly havoc in their new 3D comedy
Detroit Free Press

And this is probably the first movie to have its 3D cake and eat it, too, by making fun of the cinematic gimmick while utilizing it in over-the-top, oh-no-they-didn’t ways.

Cho sounds philosophical about the raunchier aspects of the comedy. “When you sign up for a Harold and Kumar movie, you’ve got to prepare for the consequences,” he says. “I didn’t go in innocent.”

But no matter how gross the laughs may get, there’s something about Harold and Kumar’s likability and their enduring friendship that has made them pop-culture icons for the 40-and-under crowd.

Cho isn’t sure about the icon title. “I don’t necessarily think of Harold in those terms,” he says. “I just have a lot of affection for him. He’s like people I know. They wrote that script afraid that the studio would change the race of those characters. In the first draft, they wrote in scenes that would indicate that these guys cannot be played by anyone other than an Indian actor and a Korean actor, so there were all these scenes about them talking about their family background and their culture. Partly because of that, I just developed an affinity for Harold, because he seemed like friends I knew. He mirrored some of my background.”

Christmas movie trivia with Kal Penn and John Cho
Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney quizzes Kal Penn and John Cho, stars of the upcoming “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,” on their knowledge of Christmas movies.

Bobby Lee on Wedding Palace
YouTube

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San Francisco Restaurant Receives Two Michelin Stars

Photo by Vivien Kim Thorp

San Francisco restaurant Benu was awarded two stars by the prestigious Michelin restaurant guide released yesterday, making it one of only three eateries in the city to receive that distinction.

Benu, which means “phoenix” in Egyptian, was founded in August of 2010 by Korean American Corey Lee. The restaurant features Asian-influenced food and utilizes the sous vide cooking technique, pioneered by Lee and his former mentor Thomas Keller of world-renowned restaurant French Laundry.

“It’s a huge honor, and the whole thing feels a bit surreal,” Lee told iamKoreAm.com, in an email. “It’s an important thing for me because we are participating in a tradition that generations of chefs have participated in … You just do what you feel is best and hope Michelin recognizes that.” Continue reading

Tuesday's Link Attack: Daniel Dae Kim, Dia Frampton, Debbie Lee

The Set of Hawaii 5-0: Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, and Lauren German
Giant Robot

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’
Washington Post

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.

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Infant found outside church; ‘God let people hear the baby crying’
Chicago Sun-Times

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
LA Weekly

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’
Chosun Ilbo

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.

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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
CNNGo

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.

Thursday's Link Attack: Mountain Climber Missing, North Korea, Choco Pies

Renowned South Korean climber, 2 partners disappear while trying to summit Mount Annapurna
AP via Washington Post

A renowned South Korean climber and two of his partners have disappeared while trying to summit Mount Annapurna, official and rescuers said Thursday.

Dipendra Poudel of Nepal’s mountaineering department in Katmandu said rescuers have not been able to find any trace of the three South Korean climbers missing since Tuesday.

Park Young-seok has climbed the world’s 14 tallest mountains and reached both the north and south poles. He first climbed Annapurna in 1996. It is the 10th tallest and considered a technically difficult climb.

The department identified the two other missing South Korean climbers as Kang Ki-seok and Shin Dong-min.

New U.S. Envoy to Talk With North Koreans
New York Times

The United States will resume exploratory talks with North Korea next week in Geneva and has appointed a full-time envoy with a background in nuclear issues, the State Department announced Wednesday.

The news media in North Korea reported, meanwhile, that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-il, made rare comments on the possibility of resuming broader six-nation talks aimed at ending his country’s nuclear program.

The current American representative for North Korea policy, Stephen W. Bosworth, will be replaced by Glyn Davies, the United States ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman. In the past, Mr. Davies held a senior position in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Review: Karen O’s ‘Stop The Virgens’ Is Pretty, Vacant
Village Voice

The Voice gives a somewhat lukewarm review of Karen O’s latest project.

There ought to be something lethal at the heart of a rock show, some hurts-so-good death drive that reminds you how glorious it is to live, to breathe, to dance. Karen O’s “psycho rock opera” Stop The Virgens—playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse through the weekend—takes that fatal impulse seriously. By the piece’s end, 40 blood-spattered bodies litter the stage, victims of a sudden and violent plague. Lock up your daughters; post-punk can kill.

This mass demise and its ensuing resurrection are the closest this stylish, vacant show comes to narrative, frustrating the expectations of audience members who took seriously the idea that it would have the dramatic heft of an opera. O and co-creator KK Barrett create a world part Brothers Grimm and part Henry Darger, with a dash of Village of the Damned, but they haven’t borrowed any of the plots.

Bloomberg to meet Korean residents in New York
Yonhap

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to hold an unprecedented town hall meeting with Korean residents in the city next week, a move that apparently reflects the growing presence and influence of Koreans in the United States, a community group said Thursday.

Bloomberg, accompanied by other senior municipal officials, will have a meeting with several groups of Koreans at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Flushing Library in New York, according to Korean American Community Foundation (KACF).

HBO Developing ‘China Doll’ Family Drama From ‘Big Love’ Creators
Deadline.com

The creators of polygamist series Big Love are developing another unconventional family drama for HBO. Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer are behind China Doll, a show in the works at the pay cable network about a mixed-race family and their humanoid robot. The project combines Scheffer’s passion for technology and Olsen’s interest in Chinese history and politics. “It is about China, Chinese Americans, robots, the effect of technology on our lives and the China moment in American consciousness,” said Olsen, referring to China’s current economic ascendance that is changing the dynamic in the U.S.-Chinese relationship. China Doll centers on a successful California construction subcontractor, his Asian American wife who is a university professor, and a robot as they straddle both sides of the Pacific with extended families on two continents.

Alleged rapes by U.S. soldiers ratchet up anger in South Korea
Los Angeles Times

Three violent attacks on South Korean residents were allegedly committed in recent weeks by off-duty U.S. servicemen here, including the assault of a 70-year-old grandmother and the unconnected rapes of two other women, Seoul officials say.

Park Kyungsoo, 30, director of the National Campaign for the Eradication of Crimes by U.S. Troops in Korea, knew the public outrage to the crimes would be swift.

“There’s a degree of perversion to the attacks that I knew South Koreans wouldn’t stand for,” said Park.

A 21-year-old U.S. Army private is in South Korean custody after being indicted in the alleged rape of an 18-year-old girl. U.S. officials, including top East Asian diplomat Kurt Campbell, apologized for “pain” caused by allegations that American soldiers sexually assaulted citizens here, and the military has imposed a temporary curfew on its soldiers across South Korea.

N.Korea Appears to Crackdown on Choco Pies in Kaesong
Chosun Ilbo

The amount of Choco Pie snacks consumed by North Korean workers in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, an inter-Korean project located in the North, has dropped significantly, according to sources on Wednesday.

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Plea deal sought for Cali. man in Aug. motorcycle death
Cortez Journal (Cortez, Colo.)

The case of a California man accused of causing an Aug. 5 accident that killed a motorcyclist is on hold to give the prosecution and defense more time to reach an agreement.

Representing defendant Joonwan Choi, 21, of Fullerton, Calif., Cortez attorney Cameron Secrist on Tuesday told the judge his client extends his condolences to the victim’s widow and family. He said the incident was unfortunate and tragic.

Choi is charged with careless driving causing death after allegedly running a stop sign in a BMW X5 SUV and smashing into a Harley-Davidson motorcycle ridden by 54-year-old Richard E. James of Mancos at the Mesa Verde overpass of U.S. Highway 160, according to a Colorado State Patrol investigation.

James was thrown from his motorcycle. He received treatment from emergency responders and was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, where he was pronounced dead.

Woman dies in Bluffs house fire
Daily Nonpareil (Council Bluffs, Iowa)

A Council Bluffs woman died Wednesday after fire personnel pulled her from a house fire.

Yon-Sook Kim, 77, died at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital after firefighters found her over-come by smoke and unconscious in her home at 917 Spruce St.

The woman is the mother of Inky Westfall, an aide to Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan and the city’s co-director of First Night celebration each New Year’s Eve.

Korea Rediscovers Its Rock ‘N’ Roll Soul
New York Times

[Shin Joong-hyun] has been called the godfather of South Korean rock. Mojo magazine likened him to Phil Spector for his ability to discover talent and create sounds. Mr. Shin’s sound was low-fi and psychedelic, freely mixing genres and, as time passed, it grew ever more wild. His albums typically had short, poppy songs, on the Aside, but side B was for Mr. Shin and the band, featuring free-flowing instrumentals up to 22 minutes long.

“The man was a revolutionary who mixed Western music such as rock, soul, and folk with the sound of traditional Korean music,” said Matt Sullivan, founder of Light in the Attic Records, an American boutique label that in September issued two retrospectives of Mr. Shin’s music.

TOKiMONSTA: “Hotel Room” (Unreleased)
prefix

Uh, she’s not from Japan. She was born in Torrance, Calif., and is Korean American.

Los Angeles-by-way-of-Japan producer TOKiMONSTA dropped one of the year’s strongest beat excursions this past May with the Creature Dreams EP. Since then, she’s stayed busy DJing, performing live instrumental sets, and (hopefully) working on her next full-length release. But before we hear more about any of that, she’s taken to her Soundcloud page to drop off a few cuts from her past. “Hotel Room,” a glimmering bass-heavy romp, was apparently made in 2008. But for whatever reason, she never shared it until now. We’re sure glad she did, if only because the genre of “robot porn” is so perfect it hurts.

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Bergen freeholders field noise, traffic complaints linked to Korean-American festival
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

I have a strong feeling the festival will be moving back to New York next year.

Several Leonia residents complained to the Bergen County freeholders on Wednesday night about the noise and traffic generated by a recent Korean-American festival at Overpeck County Park.

“This has nothing to do with the type of event,” said Leonia Mayor Mary Heveran “Bringing people together is a beautiful thing.” But she said the noise was such that she could hear the thump of the bass all weekend from her home in the borough’s north end. “This particular event was too large, too loud and too dangerous,” Heveran said.

But several people who attended the festival turned out to voice support for the event.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Sungbae Ju, a River Edge resident and President and CEO of Garden State Opera. He described the festival crowd as “well-behaved and cordial” as they celebrated their culture. “We have a right to congregate in a public space,” he added.

The weekend festival drew an estimated 75,000 people on Oct. 8 and 9 to the Ridgefield Park section of Overpeck County Park.

Occupy Wall Street Gets Pyongyang’s Backing
Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s state news agency weighed in on the Occupy Wall Street protests Thursday, highlighting the “stern judgment” of “millions of people” against a capitalist system that “brings exploitation, oppression, unemployment and poverty to the popular masses.”

The Korean Central News Agency’s daily dispatches usually contain a few accounts of the woes of the rest of the world, so KCNA’s editors were probably rubbing their hands with glee at the chance to play up the Occupy movement, which the report says is “sweeping across the capitalist world.”

With no apparent sense of irony, KCNA says that in capitalist society “1% of privileged class is granted all preferential treatment while 99% of working masses are forced into poverty and death.”

henry cho as earl lee, barcelo vip
angryasianman

Look who’s front and center as the VIP in this commercial for Barceló Hotels & Resorts. It’s none other than veteran comedian Henry Cho as big deal high roller Earl Lee, rocking a cowboy hat and living it up. He advises you to book early.

Lee Seung-yeop to Return to Korea
Chosun Ilbo

Orix Buffaloes slugger and Korea’s national hitter Lee Seung-yeop is coming home. Lee reportedly informed the Osaka-based Japanese team of his desire to leave when they slipped to fourth place in the regular season and failed to qualify for the postseason on Tuesday.

5 reasons to visit Jeonju
CNNGo

Hankering for a weekend getaway from Seoul? The Jeonju Bibimbap Festival kicks off today at its namesake city in the south of the peninsula. A little under three hours away by bus, Jeonju features a historical setting, an artistic vibe and a culinary reputation. Here are five reasons to visit the city.

October Issue: Chef Rachel Yang Speaks the Language of Food

The Language of Food

Chef Rachel Yang never quite felt comfortable in the U.S. But then she started cooking.

by Eugene Yi

Rachel Yang grew up a parachute kid, her parents uprooting her at age 15 from Korea to New York.

“It was really tough. I don’t think I’ll ever send my kids away when she’s a teenager,” she said in her accented but rapid English, a pace learned from years spent barking in kitchens. “There’s a lot more that you can learn at that age, better than trying to learn an entirely different culture and language.”

Still, at the turn of the century, she found herself with a degree from Brown University and a bright future ahead of her. The experiment in long-distance parenting appeared to have been successful. But she wasn’t sure what to do next, so she took a cooking class on a whim.

“It was like discovering a third language, a universal language everyone speaks,” she said.

She quickly found work with some of the superstars of French cuisine in New York City: Alain Ducasse, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud. After a few years, she got the chance to head a kitchen serving a modern take on Korean cuisine.

“That’s kind of where I got reintroduced to Korean food,” she said. “It was something I was eating almost every night at home, but never was something I thought I’d cook.” The experimentation with Korean flavors had begun. Continue reading