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.

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.

What's mine is yours: The bond of Korean barbecue
July 19th, 2012
03:30 PM ET
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Hieu Huynh is a writer producer at CNN On-Air Promotions. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

I could have taken the easy way out and made reservations for a nice Italian dinner, or even Japanese teppanyaki for a safe, fun entertaining evening. But this was no ordinary group - these were co-workers.

All week, I fretted about whether or not they would enjoy it; I wanted them to have a food experience they'd never forget.

When Judgment Day finally arrived, we met at one of Los Angeles' top destinations for All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) Korean barbecue, Tahoe Galbi, located in Koreatown.

Welcome to the world of Korean barbecue, where the cooking rests in your hands.

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Filed under: Asian • Bite • Cuisines • Korean

5@5 - Korean food debunked
November 2nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Korean-born, American-raised Marja Vongerichten fell in love with the food of her birthplace all over again after spending a year traveling - and eating - through Korea.

Not only did she reconnect with the ancestry and culinary traditions she left behind, she also learned important life lessons like how to properly slurp noodles, pour drinks for your elders and fry chicken in true Korean style.

The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen - a companion to her Public Television Series of the same name - follows that journey, and is a delectable introduction to the cuisine of her homeland; an introduction she'd like you to make as well.

Five Commonly Asked Questions About Korean Food: Marja Vongerichten

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Filed under: 5@5 • Asian • Bite • Cuisines • Korean • Think

July 9th, 2011
01:45 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. This story ran in 2011, and we're sharing it again as Bourdain explores the role of food in the Korean community.

Sitting over a steaming bowl of bibimbap, Helen Kim Ho recalled her father's cardinal rule when it came to food.

"He didn't feel like he'd had a good meal unless it made him sweat," Ho said as she held a chunk of the mixed rice between chopsticks over her bowl and waited for it to cool.

Piping hot dishes with an extra spicy kick are staples of Korean cuisine that transport the first-generation Korean American to her parents' kitchen. While her heart may be linked to the traditions of her family, her palate has been tempered by nearly a lifetime in the United States.

"I love Korean food but I feel just as much at home with American food," said Ho, whose family moved to the United States when she was three.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Cuisines • Korean • Parts Unknown

Moral quandaries dog canine meat festival. Could you eat it?
July 1st, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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From the Global Public Square blog:

Barbecued dog and steamed paws?

These and so much more were to be had at this weekend's dog meat festival near Seoul.

Alas, it was not to be.

Animal rights activists put up such a stink that the organizers, from the Korea Dog Farmers' Association, said there was no way they could go through with the event.


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