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Apr 21, 2013 07:43 PM

Parts unknown, Koreatown in LA

Many things I like about this episode. I like taking one small part of LA, one not usually focused on, and drilling down. But, so far, 75% of show is over, and not one woman on the show??? And the guy who is an artist, didn't catch his name who wouldn't date a Korean woman. Oy

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  1. And David Chang won't allow his mother in his home, and says he won't marry a Korean woman when they are eating at his parents' home. Nice

    2 Replies
    1. re: karenfinan

      It's not David Chang. It's David Choe.

    2. Depressing. Racist. Bad food.

      1. 1. You seem pretty clued into sexism. Has it not occurred to you that perhaps Korean-American society is more patriarchal than you might like? In which case do you consider it Anthony Bourdain's job to use his show to fight Korean-American patriarchy? Because that would be ridiculous, to be quite frank.

        2. David Choe's mother is given quite a good portrayal, as an artist, a great cook, a strong influence on her 'wayward' son etc. Choe says that he's a 'bad' Korean who hasn't done what his parents want. And saying he doesn't want to marry a Korean woman is part of that. I don't know what your problem is with all this.

        3. His name is David Choe, not David Chang. All Asians named David are are not called "Chang." How embarrassing for you, when you're so trying to be so pious and self-righteously politically correct.

        2 Replies
        1. re: davidg1

          Sorry I got his name wrong, thank you. I am not trying to be pious, I was just struck by the fact that until the mother was filmed there were no women on the show. I imagine that aprox 50% of the people in Koreatown are women. Then the young man saying his mother is not allowed in his house, and leaves food for him outside his door, and he would never marry a Korean woman. Just struck by this.

          1. re: karenfinan

            I found that part really funny because this is the exact reason why my parents hoped that I wouldn't marry a Korean or Korean-American guy -- not very good to their parents, demanding and I would have to deal with a difficult mother-in-law as Korean mothers tend to idolize their sons. Actually my mother said that she would hope I would marry a Chinese guy (which I ended up doing, not because I was being obedient but because that's who I fell in love with)!

            I can understand why some people find it hard to believe, but these things are part of the culture that an outsider may have difficulty grasping. It is what it is, and I found this episode refreshingly frank.

        2. Parts Unknown seems to be about life where food is central, but not necessarily about dissecting that food. I enjoyed this episode much more than the first; I think I had a better understanding of what to expect from PtUn. This one was more AB goofing around with the guys and FINALLY appearing to appreciate Korean food.

          Wasn't the Korean episode of NoR the one where AB was the least impressed and the least happy? And he was lead around by a "girl" with whom he had little rapport. See this review:


          I don't want to venture too far afield discussing patriarchy and Asian cultures, but as a white American woman who lived in Korea for a brief but glorious year, I found the open honesty of the PtUn guys refreshing and a genuine reflection of where they are, as individuals, in their relationships with their family and their culture.

          Try to flip the equation -- if this had been an Indian woman, living in an established Indian community in the US, talking about not wanting to marry an Indian guy "strongly recommended" by her parents, would there be criticism or eager encouragement?

          5 Replies
          1. re: Kris in Beijing

            i totally do not understand your characterization of the 'no reservations' episode in korea.
            not only did it appear bourdain loved the food, but he also seemed to enjoy the company of his companion and her family immensely.
            the author of the link you posted is equally baffling.
            it's as if they watched a bizarro version of the show.

            1. re: Kris in Beijing

              "if this had been an Indian woman, living in an established Indian community in the US, talking about not wanting to marry an Indian guy "strongly recommended" by her parents, would there be criticism or eager encouragement?"

              I like to flip situations around to analyze them, as well. The flaw in applying it here is that often in cultures where this sort of pressure is strongest, it is generally the females who have the least choice and who will pay the heaviest price no matter which way they marry.

              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                The "girl" is Nari, a NR producer who's appeared in several episodes. She's absolutely wonderful and Bourdain seems to adore her.

                You should perhaps get a better source than the one you cite. Better yet, go straight to the source and you won't look as badly as do your secondary sources.

                That Korea episode is one of my all-time favorites. For the food, for Bourdain trying to keep up with the raging spitfire that is Nari, and for the poignancy of her family separated by the War.

                I assume you don't suck as bad as slashfood.

                1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                  I have a collection of NoR, so I've seen the Korea episode multiple times. Off the top of my head, the post-earthquake Haiti episode is my favourite.

                  From my first viewing of the Korea episode, it seemed to me that AB didn't "connect" to Korean food the same way he has with Chinese or Japanese, which each had multiple NoR visits... and he mentions being under-rested, which certainly could inhibit appreciation.

                  How you compare me to slashfood is your analysis, just as my opinion of AB's NoR episode in Korea is mine.

                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                    Of course it's your opinion. I certainly wouldn't want to claim it.

              2. Wow, you just didn't get it.

                Too bad.

                10 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  In what way? What am I missing? Not snarky, but seriously..

                  1. re: karenfinan

                    You're judging a different culture based on a perspective that is Gordian at best, and inapt at worst.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      What is Gordian and what is inapt? And I was judging Tony if I was judging anyone.

                      1. re: karenfinan

                        Gordian-- a difficult knot.
                        From a myth associated with Alexander the Great.

                        Inapt-- apt=precisely appropriate;
                        in-apt= inaccurate, inappropriate

                        and people used to call me "Webster" [but not because I'm short].

                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                          Thanks, I meant in the context of this show and my comments...I don't understand what points Ipsedixit was making using those two terms :-)

                      2. re: ipsedixit

                        Are you Korean? Did this episode seem like a good representation of LA Koreatown?

                        1. re: karenfinan

                          I'm from LA, and have been to LA's Ktown many many times (in fact, spent many a drunken night or hungover morning in Ktown in my more youthful days).

                          It's irrelevant whether this is a good representation of Ktown from a Korean person's perspective.

                          This was one perspective (more or less from Bourdain's viewpoint) of Ktown. It's one slice of the pie. If you are familiar with Korean culture/food and/or Ktown, you probably have seen a larger picture of the entire pie, so you can appreciate the slice that Bourdain is portraying in this episode.

                          There's no such thing as a good or bad representation of any place in these types of travel-food shows. It's a perspective from one person, right or wrong it's one perspective.

                          Don't judge an entire culture based on *one* person's perspective.

                          Simply appreciate that it is but one perspective of a particular culture. And Korean culture, like all cultures, are complex, fascinating studies that take longer than one person, one show (much less one person in one show in one hour) to property portray.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Thanks, and perhaps I wasn't clear, I am in no way attempting to judge any culture, or any part of Korean culture. I enjoyed Tony drilling down on a particular slice of LA. I was struck by there being no women at all on the show until 3/4 of the way through the show- and the comments from David Choe. I apologize for not getting his name correctly.