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For Once, Someone Got An L.A. Food Show Right: Bourdain's Parts Unknown Koreatown Episode

Gypsy Jan Apr 22, 2013 01:28 PM

From The LA Weekly:


  1. c
    chowseeker1999 Apr 23, 2013 07:44 PM

    I'm a fan of Anthony Bourdain and No Reservations. But sorry, the Koreatown episode was probably the worst episode of any of his shows I've ever seen. :(

    Having Anthony being trolled by this obnoxious Korean-American "Artist" (who looks drunk / drugged out of his mind), and being taken to SIZZLER to eat?!

    And then Anthony visiting a Fast Food Restaurant, "Jollibee"...

    And then Anthony being taken on a Lowrider cruise down Whittier Blvd (which is not about "Koreatown" or close to it). Huh?

    Horrible episode, and the restaurants shown don't really do L.A.'s Koreatown justice.

    7 Replies
    1. re: chowseeker1999
      Worldwide Diner Apr 24, 2013 11:28 AM

      I find the Korean artist funny. If anything, this episode was a look at the lives of Korean Americans in LA as opposed to LA itself. A perspective perhaps many don't care about. I certainly don't but at least I enjoy the odd bits of humor.

      1. re: chowseeker1999
        Dan Wodarcyk Apr 28, 2013 11:07 PM

        Have now given the show 3 tries, tonight with Columbia. I miss what he does best, and this new CNN socio/political take just does not work. It's actually boring tv with next to no interesting food content. It may work for much of the CNN audience, which I am usually, but I'd like the Tony we're used to, even if it's from a new food perspective.

        1. re: Dan Wodarcyk
          kpaxonite Apr 29, 2013 05:27 AM

          Agreed...this new show is absolutely garbage

          1. re: kpaxonite
            grampart Apr 29, 2013 05:31 AM

            Disagree....this new show is very good.

            1. re: grampart
              pamf Apr 29, 2013 02:18 PM

              I like the new show too. It's not as much about food, but he has been moving in that direction and the show is on CNN not FN. Have been a Bourdain fan for quite a few years now and the new show is probably the best thing happening on Sunday night.

              1. re: pamf
                Dan Wodarcyk Apr 29, 2013 10:25 PM

                I wouldn't call the show garbage by any means. And yes, it's on CNN. But it's not entertaining or hardly insightful. I can learn about the turmoil of Burma and Columbia from other outlets. He doesn't bring a new perspective to those troubled stories, and the food aspect is an afterthought. Koreatown sort of got my attention, foodwise, but he takes the heavy riot angle. Out of his element.

          2. re: Dan Wodarcyk
            ritabwh May 6, 2013 11:28 PM

            the new cnn show is just like all his other shows starting with "A Cook's Tour". same show. different channel. and i like all of them.

        2. Steve2 in LA Apr 23, 2013 05:47 PM

          I haven't been to a Sizzler in over 30 years but I'm getting this overwhelming hankering for a meatball taco. Maybe it was Mr. Choe, Mr. Bourdain or the voices in my head . . .

          6 Replies
          1. re: Steve2 in LA
            kevin Apr 23, 2013 05:58 PM

            Is a meatball taco unique only to the Koreatown Sizzlers ?

            1. re: kevin
              FranklinJefferson Apr 23, 2013 06:46 PM

              Sadly, no...

            2. re: Steve2 in LA
              SilverlakeGirl Apr 28, 2013 12:40 PM

              Well, it's up on YouTube. In 3 parts starting here:


              A lot of wasted precious time. A 4 or 5 minutes segment on the Sizzler on Western? ...

              1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                ns1 Apr 28, 2013 01:15 PM

                maybe it's an asian thing, but i thought he was right on the money.

                1. re: ns1
                  SilverlakeGirl Apr 28, 2013 11:48 PM

                  Perhaps it was what he missed.

                  1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                    ns1 Apr 29, 2013 09:39 AM

                    If you're referring to food, I can see where you're coming from. But he got the cultural aspect pretty spot on.

            3. e
              eman1 Apr 22, 2013 11:19 PM

              Sorry but this episode doesnot even come close to representing Ktown...no disrespect to Roy Choi or Dave Choi but taking Bourdain to a Sizzler in Ktown and jollibee and low riders ?? Come on ... Really??? On a scale of 1-10 give it a zero...so many drinking pubs, Korean BBQ -tofu- noodle etc etc , coffee shops , spas , grocery stores ...sorry some dumpling place that one one has heard of ...please ....

              6 Replies
              1. re: eman1
                andytseng Apr 22, 2013 11:30 PM

                I agree with you. This felt more to me like: Here is what Roy Choi and David Choe want to tell you about themselves.

                1. re: andytseng
                  eman1 Apr 23, 2013 12:09 AM

                  Agree 100 percent !!!
                  Had nothing to do with Ktown !!!
                  Change the title to Roy choi and David Choe view of Korean town during the riots ..David looting from his own people is pretty sad and now he is the 200 million dollar artist connected from Facebook!!! Gives the wrong message ...even his parents had the look of what the .......
                  This episode is no go and many in the LA who are Asian and especially Korean are not happy with this episode ...

                  1. re: eman1
                    linus Apr 23, 2013 07:43 AM

                    i'd be willing to wager cash dollars there is no episode on koreatown anthony bourdain could produce that would make asians or koreans happy.

                    1. re: linus
                      Servorg Apr 23, 2013 08:02 AM

                      I'll just note that everyone has their own ideas on how to do a program like the one by Bourdain, or how to run a food discussion website or how to boil water (for that matter).

                      I'm just glad to see that a K food place we have been going to regularly for over 30 years (Dong il Jang) was part of the program. That either means I'm a total poseur sellout or have good taste when it comes to Korean BBQ. ;-D>

                      1. re: Servorg
                        linus Apr 23, 2013 08:14 AM

                        i agree with servorg. if you don't like bourdain's take on koreatown, that's fine and dandy.
                        everyone's free to pick up a camera and do their own.

                2. re: eman1
                  JAB Apr 23, 2013 06:14 AM

                  I haven't watched yet but, the previews with Roy Choi and the low riders is offputting to me.

                3. liu Apr 22, 2013 07:53 PM

                  Of all the places that Bourdain visited, it is the dumpling place that I want.

                  Can someone please confirm the address for Myung Dumplings in Koreatown:

                  3109 W. Olympic? Is this correct?

                  I am confused because there are a couple of other Myung shops in Koreatown.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: liu
                    Porthos Apr 22, 2013 08:04 PM

                    Some hound well versed in K-town must be able to tell us places as good if not better than the place featured.

                    1. re: liu
                      kevin Apr 23, 2013 05:30 PM

                      Yeah, I'd also like to know the name of the dumpling spot. Is it a joint that serves Mandu ????

                      1. re: kevin
                        jaykayen Apr 23, 2013 05:45 PM

                        I think it was called Myung In.

                        1. re: jaykayen
                          liu Apr 23, 2013 08:25 PM

                          Yes, as I posted above, this is the place that serves mandoo/mandu/man doo:

                          Myung In Dumplings
                          3109 W. Olympic Blvd. in Koreatown
                          Open all day: #213.381-3568

                        2. re: kevin
                          Kris in Beijing Apr 23, 2013 06:03 PM

                          CNN"s page for the show has a list of places featured:


                      2. MonsieurKnowItAll Apr 22, 2013 07:06 PM

                        He didn't even know what a halo-halo was. Sad for such a well-traveled foodist.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll
                          blimpbinge Apr 22, 2013 07:10 PM

                          Not surprised.

                        2. ipsedixit Apr 22, 2013 06:54 PM

                          I'm not so sure that the show so much as got LA "right" but that Bourdain (and/or his TV personal) didn't get in the way of the narrative.

                          16 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            linus Apr 22, 2013 10:33 PM

                            um...who do you think chose the narrative?
                            and, its going to take some time to figure out what "get in the way of the narrative" looks and sounds like.

                            1. re: linus
                              ipsedixit Apr 23, 2013 07:44 AM

                              The narrative -- regardless of who chose it -- de-emphasizes Broudain, and his shtick.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                linus Apr 23, 2013 07:55 AM

                                i'm sorry, i don't understand your anthropomorphizing "narrative."
                                bourdain and his producers choose the narrative. therefore, they are responsible if bourdain gets in its way.
                                i take it you think this is a bad thing, which is fine.
                                i suppose an argument could be made on camera talent often gets in the way of "narratives" they're trying to explain.
                                giving examples, when said talent has chosen the narrative to begin with, becomes much harder, i think.

                                and, if you de facto don't like bourdain and his "schtick," there's no show on koreatown (or anywhere else for that matter)that's going to work for you.

                                so why watch?

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  EarlyBird Apr 23, 2013 08:35 AM

                                  No need to further explain. The rest of us get you.

                                  1. re: EarlyBird
                                    linus Apr 23, 2013 08:42 AM

                                    you seem so confident...

                                    1. re: linus
                                      EarlyBird Apr 23, 2013 03:21 PM

                                      you seem so angry about something.

                                      1. re: EarlyBird
                                        linus Apr 23, 2013 03:33 PM

                                        i don't know what gave you that impression. i don't think i could get angry at anything written on chowhound.

                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                suvro Apr 23, 2013 11:56 AM

                                I finally watched the episode last night (since I am taping this).
                                I had watched the first episode on Myanmar earlier, and found it seriously off-putting. I have followed Bourdain's several different shows for some time now, so was eagerly anticipating it. But as he said in his interview on Farid Zaqaria's GPS - this show, and this outlet, is letting him talk about non-food related issues more than food.

                                Just to compare, Luke Nguyen, the Ozzie Vietnamese chef did a recent series called Greater Mekong - and after seeing Bourdain's opening show on Myanmar, I went back to watch Nguyen's shows on Myanmar again. They are so much better - the local B-shots are significantly better, the food depicted is much better. There is some commentary on the politics and culture, but not at the expense of the personality of the host.
                                (Unfortunately, some of these episodes are not viewable online in North America


                                In the Myanmar episode, there is a long sequence of Bourdain in one of the run down seedy apartment complexes, where of course nothing is happening - he is not going into someone's house, or there is something being cooked in the courtyard. It is just him looking out over the inner courtyard while his voice narrates all the horrors of the past repression.

                                For my personal taste, this is the worst of the TV series from Bourdain that I have seen! YMMV.

                                1. re: suvro
                                  linus Apr 23, 2013 01:57 PM

                                  i understand you didn't like the program, but i am baffled by the phrase "seriously off putting."

                                  1. re: linus
                                    suvro Apr 23, 2013 03:20 PM

                                    As I said, YMMV. Nothing to be so baffled about!

                                  2. re: suvro
                                    ipsedixit Apr 23, 2013 02:41 PM

                                    Here's the thing about NR and PU, more than a good part of the shows *are* about Bourdain, and not the locales.

                                    There's nothing necessarily wrong with that approach, unless you either (1) don't care to watch Bourdain and/or (2) care more about the locale in question.

                                    I'll take an extreme example as a counterpoint. Say what you want about Fieri and DD&D, but that show is less about Guy and more about the places he is showcasing vis-a-vis either of Bourdain's productions (NR or PU).

                                    And to Guy's credit, there is definitely more material for Guy to use on-screen (for better or worse) than Bourdain to draw eyeballs to the TV screen.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      linus Apr 23, 2013 03:35 PM

                                      i think you're comparing apples to oranges, and i'm curious as to how you would support the position that bourdain's show is more about bourdain than fieri's is about fieri.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        blimpbinge Apr 23, 2013 05:43 PM


                                        When I watch a Anthony Bourdain show, it's like a show about him that happens to be in w/e foreign land he chose for that ep.

                                        When I watch DDD (or 3D? hah!), it's like a show about restaurants that happens to have Guy Fieri as a host.

                                        It isn't the case with every ep on either side, but that's what they come off as for me.

                                        1. re: blimpbinge
                                          ns1 Apr 23, 2013 05:47 PM

                                          Pretty much. I love Bourdain's commentary and it's essential to the EP. Who cares who the host of DDD is?

                                          1. re: ns1
                                            linus Apr 23, 2013 06:43 PM

                                            the powers that be. that show positively REEKS of guy fieri. it would be a different show without him.

                                          2. re: blimpbinge
                                            linus Apr 23, 2013 06:45 PM

                                            perhaps you could share with the class -- or maybe just clueless moi -- what you learned about anthony bourdain on sunday's show.

                                    2. SilverlakeGirl Apr 22, 2013 04:16 PM

                                      The first COMPLETE episode on Myanmar 's available here. It is 1:00:11:


                                      It is the first box in the trio. IMO the Travel Channel was better ... less politics, more food.

                                      I was hoping that K-Town would be in iTunes. I have every season of the ones on the Travel Channel in my iTunes library but can't find this one.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                        Servorg Apr 22, 2013 04:27 PM

                                        It looks like you can find it here via iTunes: http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/the-la...

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          SilverlakeGirl Apr 22, 2013 04:32 PM

                                          The longest clip is 4 minutes!!! At least where I looked. :o(

                                          The link for Myanmar I provided is the complete episode on one file. I doubt they will do that for the rest of the series.

                                          There are also clips on YouTube of Myanmar and K-Town.

                                      2. c
                                        Clyde Apr 22, 2013 04:09 PM

                                        So we went to check out the dumpling place today. We walked in at 1:30 and they told us they were closed -- I was confused b/c there were people in there eating, and then they explained they ran out of food! So, I guess I'll wait a few days before I try again. :)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Clyde
                                          TripleAxel Apr 22, 2013 05:38 PM

                                          The curses of a gem being discovered by a food critic or a celebrity chef that gets media coverage... Hopefully,l this will have died down when I go there in a few weeks...

                                        2. d
                                          Dirtywextraolives Apr 22, 2013 02:55 PM

                                          I meant to watch that last night, did you see it? I was wondering if it was in K-town, as I only saw a print ad of it. Hopefully they will replay it.....

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                            EarlyBird Apr 22, 2013 03:12 PM

                                            I unfortunately missed it last night also, but luckily on the CNN website they show you every place he went on the show.

                                            I happen to live not too far from K-town, and I need to get there more often.

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