January 27th, 2014
02:30 PM ET
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The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked - even overwhelmed.

He summed up their reaction to the South Korean snack in one word: "Ecstasy."

Much like what Twinkies are to Americans, South Korea's Choco Pies - two disc-shaped, chocolate-covered cakes, sandwiching a rubbery layer of marshmallow cream - are ubiquitous, cost less than 50 cents and are full of empty calories.

But on the other side of the Korean border, the snacks are viewed as exotic, highly prized treats, selling on North Korea's black markets for as much as $10, according to analysts. Their rising popularity in the north reveals an unexpected common ground between the two Koreas, despite their fractious relationship - a shared sweet tooth.
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November 15th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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Kimchi-making season is upon South Korea, with grocery stores besieged with housewives snapping up buckets of giant cabbages, salt and red pepper powder - or more often these days buying pre-made kimchi so they don't have to go to the trouble.

In one of Seoul's more unusual sights, 3,000 housewives marked the start of the period in which the ingredients are at their freshest, with the country's biggest kimchi-making event to date in front of Seoul's City Plaza on Wednesday.
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Filed under: Asian • Korean


October 9th, 2013
11:00 AM ET
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Seoul's ever-shifting restaurant and bar scene is dependent on the fickle nature of Korean eaters.

This makes the capital a dangerous place to attempt new ideas, yet one that also forces restaurateurs and bar owners to embrace innovation and change.

A dozen noteworthy arrivals have opened in the past year and a half. They're listed here in alphabetical order.
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Filed under: Korea • Korean • Restaurants


July 22nd, 2013
12:15 AM ET
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I'm sitting in a tiny, open-air seafood restaurant in Yeonhwari fishing village in Busan, South Korea, waiting for my breakfast.

In the distance, on the rocky shore, a local haenyeo ("sea woman") is picking through her morning's catch.

"She's late," says a fellow patron when she notices me staring. "All the other haenyeo have already finished their diving and delivered their catch."
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Filed under: Korea • Korean • Restaurants • Travel


April 17th, 2013
11:55 AM ET
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World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Los Angeles' Koreatown in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

Roy Choi created a brave new world of gastronomy almost single-handedly with his Los Angeles-based Kogi BBQ taco truck.

A Korean-American who grew up on the fringes of Mexican and hip hop culture, Choi's food reflects a new American idea of natural fusion - culinary influences that grew up next to and with each other.

In this episode of "Parts Unknown," Anthony Bourdain examines the meeting point of Asian, Latino, Mexican and even Bangladeshi culture in modern L.A. Koreatown.
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