Koreatown

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Koreatown, L.A.
Four miles SSW from the iconic Hollywood sign and just about the physical center of the City of Angels is Koreatown. Koreatown has the largest South Korean population outside of the country itself. With such a high concentration of these richly cultured peoples came many korean style restaurants and other eateries.

Though in recent years Koreatown’s Korean population has declined to about 30% of the total population, it is still considered the prime place to enjoy a good dim sum or kimchi. There is a little more than a thousand Korean owned businesses in K-Town and a very good majority of those are eateries. Being known for its nightlife, most of K-Town’s eateries are bars and norebangs (karaoki rooms). “A night out in what insiders call K-Town might begin with dinner or warm-up drinks and nibbling at a stylish cafe with giant video screens, then proceed to dancing at an exclusive nightclub or singing at a karaoke ''music studio'' until dawn” (Navarro). Singing in norebangs is a widely appreciated pass-time in the Korean community and is usually accompanied with alcohol and appetizers. This pass-time is never done alone and it is usually done in large groups for any occasion. The alcohol of choice being makgeolli, a fermented rice wine, is usually associated with the cooking and munching of small strips of sweet and crispy pork belly. Small groups of people can be seen around a table drinking, cooking the snack and conversing.

Another widely appreciated restaurant type brought over from the Koreas, is the Korean BBQ. Essentially, it is a cook-it-yourself restaurant; the cooks prepare the dishes to be cooked and then hand them out to the customer to be cooked right at their own grill in the middle of the table. This allows the customer to cook the meat to their desired taste and gives more time to converse. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be eaten with a utensil; usually there would be a plate of large lettuce leaves. It is very common to...
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