[WaPo] Korean Americans transforming the food scene in central Seoul

February 17, 2015
Linus Kim of “Linus’ Bama Style Barbeque” shows off a pulled pork sandwich.

Linus Kim of “Linus’ Bama Style Barbeque” shows off a pulled pork sandwich.

[THE WASHINGTON POST] – Take a taco shell, throw in some galbi short ribs, add a dollop of ssamjang sauce, give it a California vibe, and you’ve got something new and hot in South Korea.

Sid Kim — born here, raised in Los Angeles — found he never quite blended in in either place, so he did the natural thing. He opened a Mexican restaurant. Well, Ko-Mex, actually. The central Seoul district of Itaewon, once a gimcrack preserve of GIs and expatriates, is now awash in restaurants that give new meaning to the word “fusion” — starting with their owners.

“We call it the kyopo renaissance,” said Kim, one of the owners of Vatos Urban Tacos, using a local word for people who are ethnically Korean but were born or raised elsewhere.

Many other kyopo restaurateurs have arrived in Itaewon, helping transform a neighborhood that Koreans had for years been giving a wide berth.  [READ MORE]

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