Chicken Tikka Poutine | Courtesy of Life & Thyme

Preview Ep. 5, Banchan: Korean Food Beyond BBQ

While Korean BBQ may get all the attention, restaurant owner Yong Won Jun says that there’s so much more to his culture’s cuisine. For 22 years, loyal diners have been flocking to the beloved Jun Won in Koreatown for a taste of their specialty: braised marinated black cod, with flavorful juices soaking into the daikon radish slices it sits upon. Unifying the fish is the restaurant’s sought-after spread of seasonal banchan (traditional Korean side dishes) that accompany it.

In this episode, the Jun family describes their highs and lows of immigrating to a new country, the resilience of their people, and the sacrifices they’ve had to make in order to survive. In the midst of success, the family has been faced with another challenge as a real estate deal is now forcing them out of the restaurant they’ve called home since 1994. But even in the darkest of times, their strength gives them hope and the will to start over again.

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Badmaash

Indian food has often been associated with stiff restaurants, all-you-can-eat buffets and heavily spiced, cream-based dishes. The Mahendro family (Anu, Pawan, Nakul and Arjun) immigrated to Los Angeles and found that they didn’t recognize any of the so-called Indian food available to them. Like carefully selected spices to a classic Indian dish, each family member contributes something special and significant to their restaurant Badmaash and to the city of L.A. Featured in the episode: Downtown L.A.’s Badmaash.

Omotenashi

Charles Namba and Courtney Kaplan, the couple behind Echo Park's Tsubaki, have always loved the culture of izakaya but found Los Angeles lacking in these Japanese taverns. Sonoko Sakai is a teacher with a passion for buckwheat and the near-sacred art of soba noodles, and Seiichi Yokota knows how to prepare and preserve fresh fish with a traditional Japanese technique never seen before in Los Angeles. Each aims to introduce Angelenos to the unique spirit of Japanese hospitality and the culture's deep culinary customs.

Beyond Pho

Banh Mi. Spring rolls. Pho. The war and its subsequent refugees. These are things most commonly associated with the Vietnamese culture and its people. But a group of chefs in Los Angeles (including Cassia’s Bryant Ng and Diep Tran of Good Girl Dinette) are hoping to demonstrate that there’s so much more than that. Featured in the episode: Cassia in Santa Monica, Good Girl Dinette in Highland Park, Red Boat Fish Sauce, and Minh Phan of Porridge & Puffs.

Alta California

A collective of culturally connected, distinguished chefs (including Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish, Wes Avila of Guerilla Tacos, Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria, as well as Jorge Gaviria of corn purveyor, Masienda) work to preserve heritage and push forward the “Alta California” Mexican food movement. By celebrating those dishes and ingredients integral to Mexico's cuisine and its economy, a group of accomplished Mexican-American chefs are working to elevate not only the food, but what people of their heritage can achieve in the food business.