Get Down with K-Town

Get Down with K-Town

Through cooking and conversation, chef Esther Choi dives deep into the rich world of Korean-American culture. Esther invites guests to open up as she cooks their favorite Korean dishes, drawing on traditional family recipes she’s refined at her restaurants Mŏkbar and Ms. Yoo. Esther and her guest dive into topics ranging from food to family, from K-pop to K-dramas, and from fashion to sexuality, plastic surgery, adoption and more – all to explore what being Korean in America means today.

Episodes

November 17, 2020 57 min

In his role as an editor for Eater, Matthew Kang chronicles the best eateries in Los Angeles and has toured North America in search of the finest Korean food. Esther talks with Matt about his journey throughout K-Towns in the United States and Canada, the variations in cuisines, and why they both feel that Los Angeles has the best and most authentic traditional Korean food.

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Esther talks to Heather Kim, the founder of YMG Entertainment, the first Korean-American record label in Atlanta, GA. Heather recounts her childhood in downtown Atlanta, growing up in her parent's truck stop and Korean nightclub, and the twists and turns that led her to start her own K-Pop label. Heather and Esther talk about the process of training K-Pop stars, operating a K-Pop label based in the United States, and the direct...

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Kevin and Terrence Kim grew up in New Jersey, and like many second generation Koreans, felt ambivalent about their heritage. In their early 20s, the Kim brothers found themselves trying to start a fashion line in Korea. Broke and with little knowledge of Korean language, they suddenly found themselves on fire with curiosity about everything Korean, from traditional natural dyeing techniques to furniture making and architecture. Est...

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October 20, 2020 43 min

Grace Pae is an LA-based celebrity makeup artist who has been applying makeup to famous faces since before before social media made top makeup artists stars in their own right. Esther and Grace discuss the skills required to make it in a competitive and demanding industry, how Korean beauty trends influence makeup in the West, and how Korean women and Korean-American women define standards of beauty differently. 

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Before BTS or Gangnam Style, there was Lee Ji Yeon, the original K-pop icon. 

Esther talks to Jiyeon Lee, who, at the age of 17, rocketed to pop stardom in Korea, only to give it all up a few years later due to the pressures of the lifestyle: physical exhaustion, anxiety and trolling by "anti-fans". 

Jiyeon left Korea to find greater anonymity and freedom in the United States, only to go to culinary school and open Heirloom M...

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October 6, 2020 38 min

K-Pop producer and songwriter David Amber gives Esther the inside view from the world of K-pop, currently one of the most popular music genres in the world. David breaks down the worldwide appeal of K-Pop, why it's more than just a trend, how its popularity has introduced millions to Korean culture, and how he became a chart topping producer of the genre as a white American man who speaks very little Korean.  

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September 29, 2020 54 min

Esther talks with chef, nutritionist, natural wine lover and author of the cookbook “Everyday Korean” Seung Hee Lee about how her passion for sharing Korean Royal Court cuisine turned into a side hustle pairing Korean food and wine with "Korean Fusion" pop-ups around the world. Now based in Atlanta, Georgia, Seung Hee uses her popular Instagram handle @koreanfusion to discover innovative ways to introduce people to the ...

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September 22, 2020 46 min

Esther talks to actor, radio and television host Ellie Lee about being Korean in the entertainment industry. Ellie talks Korean cinema, breaks down the K-Pop phenomenon and why it's here to stay, dishes about the skills required to interview A-list celebrities, why there aren't more Korean American actors, her plans to conquer Hollywood, and her major life change in becoming vegan.

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September 15, 2020 48 min

Esther @choibites chats with Samantha McVey, host of feminist podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You. At seven years old, Samantha came to the United States from Korea as an adoptee to a small, predominately white town in the mountains of northern Georgia. She unpacks some of the difficult adjustments and hardships she faced being a part of a community where she not only looked different than everyone else, but she also initially cou...

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Growing up in a racially diverse Los Angeles, Dumboundead (Jonathan Park) found his way into the spotlight as a child actor and then his voice as a battle rapper, shredding the competition on the streets of LA as the only Asian emcee on the scene. After becoming one of the most famous Asian rappers in the world, Dumbfoundead has expanded his career into the worlds of podcasting, acting, stand-up and as an all-around creative. He an...

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Iron Chef Judy Joo left a booming career on Wall Street to pursue her passion for Korean food. As one of just a handful of female Korean-American chefs in a male dominated industry, Judy talks about her stint as Executive Chef at the Playboy Club and her career as a successful food media personality, global restauranteur and author of "Korean Food Made Simple" and "Judy Joo's Korean Soul Food." 

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Chef Esther Choi guides you through the audio recipe of her "death row" meal, the classic Korean comfort food, Kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew). This simple, quick, and delicious meal contains 3 basic ingredients and is centered around the Korean cuisine staple of kimchi (fermented cabbage). This meal is featured in Episode 4: "King of K-Town with Bobby Kwak" when Chef Esther surprises her guest with his favorite Korean ...

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August 25, 2020 46 min

Bobby Kwak is an entrepreneur, club owner, and pioneer of Koreatown in New York City. Bobby and his business partner Joe Ko opened K-Town's iconic Korean nightclub Circle, and its successor Mission, as well as the New York branch of the popular Korean barbecue Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong. Bobby and Esther discuss the Korean nightclub scene, the practice of "booking," or arranged socializing, at nightclubs, as well as keeping...

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August 18, 2020 44 min

Esthetician, entrepreneur, and Korean skin care trendsetter Charlotte Cho discusses her personal journey with her skin, the K-Beauty business, and how that led her to create Soko Glam and her own product line “Then I Met You.” Charlotte demystifies the Korean skincare routine and skin first lifestyle that has spread around the globe, revolutionizing the way people care for their skin.

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August 18, 2020 43 min

Singer, songwriter, and theatrically trained actress Jennifer Chung always knew she wanted a career in the arts. After going viral on YouTube, she landed an opportunity to go to Korea to pursue her artistic career, but things took a different direction when once again social media got her noticed. Jennifer talks with Esther about how she found her way to Atlanta's K-Town, why she chose to focus on pop/R&B music instead of K...

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Roy Choi talks about his illustrious career as an innovative chef and restaurateur, which began in the kitchen of his parents’ restaurant in multicultural Los Angeles and took him on a journey of discovery, reconnecting him to his Korean roots, and leading him back to the kitchen to create his own unique style that is distinctly representative of the Korean-American West Coast experience.

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August 10, 2020 1 min

Through cooking and conversation, chef Esther Choi dives deep into the rich world of Korean-American culture. Esther invites guests to open up as she cooks their favorite Korean dishes, drawing on traditional family recipes she’s refined at her restaurants Mŏkbar and Ms. Yoo. Esther and her guest dive into topics ranging from food to family, from K-pop to K-dramas, and from fashion to sexuality, plastic surgery, adoption and more –...

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