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What's Good In Your Hood
Colombian Korean chef OG Chino gives us a tour of his delicious creations, a unique cocktail and the dynamic history of LA's Koreatown.
Show transcript
00:00
The whole concept of Colombian Korean happened because my
00:04
two favorite foods are Colombian and Korean food and I just
00:07
wanna fuse them together.
00:09
I think the weirdness of it just made people more curious and
00:12
it worked.
00:13
I'm Darian Santana and I'm all about good food and great people
00:18
and the stories that make us proud to be where we're from and
00:21
this is what's good in your hood do it.
00:28
So took in the bees are our win in the Chevy laugh like you.
00:36
The sea was good, man.
00:47
What's good?
00:49
Yo, what up?
00:49
What up?
00:50
OK.
00:50
I'm driving through your hood right now.
00:52
I'm not far from Koreatown.
00:54
Please tell me somewhere to have some food.
00:56
I'm so hungry, man.
00:59
I got you go to this spot.
01:00
It's called and when you get there, ask for Chino.
01:04
That's my dude.
01:05
Tell him you're my friend and he's gonna hook you up.
01:07
Alright.
01:08
Make it happen.
01:08
Bring me in.
01:09
Will do.
01:10
Thank you.
01:11
What's good everyone.
01:12
I'm Darian.
01:13
I'm in L A in Korea in a restaurant that remixes Colombian food
01:18
and Korean food over hip hop beat.
01:20
Let's check it out.
01:21
First time I heard about Korean Colombian.
01:23
It was very weird.
01:24
But after coming here and experiencing and feeling the flavors
01:27
and seeing the different combinations, I was impressed,
01:30
things that are mixed between little with rice and beans.
01:34
It's the most amazing food ever love it.
01:36
This is one of the examples of a really diverse and vibrant
01:39
lifestyle in Koreatown, which is one of the reasons I live
01:42
here meets at the intersection of Korea, Colombia and hip
01:45
hop.
01:46
It's more than just a restaurant.
01:48
It's a vibe.
01:49
Chino has managed to create more than a restaurant.
01:52
There's this feeling that you get in a space that's unique
01:55
It's vibrant and it is so a lot.
01:59
My father was a diplomat in the sixties.
02:01
Him and his partners were the first ones to set foot in Colombia
02:05
from Korea and they set up the Korean Embassy.
02:08
We were always raised knowing what our culture was and knowing
02:13
that we're not from here that we came to this country.
02:15
During the late seventies.
02:17
I think a lot of Korean families were sending their kids to
02:20
study here.
02:21
Um There was a, the word got out that America had good education
02:26
and, and free education.
02:27
When I got here, they put me in ESL because I couldn't speak
02:30
any English.
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I only spoke Spanish.
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I couldn't speak Korean well either.
02:34
So I hang in and started hanging out with the Mexican kids.
02:37
Get teased a lot.
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The same kids that made fun of me became my best friends.
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And that's why the name Chino stuck automatically.
02:44
I kind of grew into that whole culture.
02:47
So in 12th grade, I ended up at Hollywood high school at a, an
02:50
art teacher.
02:51
I recognized my art, put me in like scholarship programs at
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art school.
02:55
She actually gave me guidance.
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It was really hard to concentrate on the school and I ended
02:59
up dropping that art school after about a year and a half.
03:02
Then I opened a little record store in South Central.
03:05
A lot of people credited for being the first like hip hop shop
03:08
in L A.
03:09
The people that gathered at that shop are an example, like
03:12
from Jurassic Five, you know, Jurassic Five went on to become
03:15
a really big group.
03:16
No big deal.
03:17
It only lasted two years.
03:19
But that got my name recognized by a lot of the little record
03:23
labels in New York.
03:24
And I decided I'm gonna move to New York.
03:26
How did you come to wanting to open a restaurant?
03:29
I was living in New York.
03:30
I came to visit L A and my sister says, hey, my friend's bar is
03:33
going out of business and uh he'd like someone to take over
03:37
the space.
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I was the lucky person.
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He was completely different.
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But I was like, wow, I could do something with this.
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My sister was like, you're always doing parties and you know
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it makes sense that you have a bar.
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So I was like, cool.
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The first thing I thought about was like, wow, I could throw
03:52
my parties again because I was always throwing parties at
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different bars in New York and, and I could invite all my DJ
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friends.
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But I was like, you know, all my friends are foodies.
04:00
I'm always hanging out with them, going to eat good food and
04:02
and I knew that that's a new trend is the culture, the foodie
04:06
culture, you know, so I connected with Chris Korean American
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chef, really well known wins a lot of TV, food battles and things
04:13
like that.
04:13
He started my initial menu and it worked no big deal.
04:19
So what put on the map in terms of food?
04:21
What's like everyone's favorite menu item here, the Kimchi
04:25
rice, which is a fusion of the Colombian with uh Korean Kimchi
04:33
fried rice.
04:34
I think it's so cool that you have uh Korean short rib and a and
04:38
A I was like, what?
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That's crazy.
04:42
I don't know how to cook, but I, I can think of things coming
04:44
up next.
04:45
I'm gonna see how takes and infuse a little bit of Korea in it
04:50
OK.
04:50
So right now I'm in the pork belly of the beach and they're gonna
04:54
show me how they make their, but of course, they remixed it
04:57
with some Korean flavors.
04:59
Yes.
04:59
And uh we're gonna have my home grown, I'll show you guys how
05:03
to do it.
05:04
Uh Candelaria is also my favorite neighborhood in Bogota
05:08
All right.
05:09
Let's see it.
05:09
She's cutting up the, that's gonna go in the fryer with the
05:13
Colombian plantains.
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They're the sweet ones.
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So they're gonna add that nice sweetness to the dish.
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The traditional usually comes with steak and, or the home
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girls adding the Korean short ribs, which is such a fun play
05:29
on what a is as opposed to the regular steak.
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The Korean short ribs are really, really sweet.
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So that's gonna be such a fun thing to add to this.
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Of course, the egg on top candy girl I put in work.
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I'm so hyped right now.
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Thank you.
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We just melts in your mouth.
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Super sweet.
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Yum.
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Now, Chino is truly an OG, he's an artist, a DJ businessman
06:02
and he's also the creator of a neighborhood landmark, a landmark
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that he masterfully created through the most common denominator
06:08
food.
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And let me tell you his food hits you in the face with the unexpected
06:12
taste of art, music and street culture in the heart of Koreatown
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is not just a restaurant and also a bar.
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So today's challenge my friends is you need to create a cocktail
06:23
that is a perfect remix of Colombia.
06:25
A little bit of Korea Town and a Sprinkle of hip hop.
06:28
Can you make it happen?
06:29
Yeah, I don't turn down a challenge but I'm not gonna do this
06:33
by myself.
06:33
I'm gonna get some help from my boyfriend Medellin Nelson
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Uh you know, never turned a child.
06:40
OK.
06:40
I'm here with Medellin's Fines Nelson Nelson.
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Take it away.
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What are you gonna do today?
06:46
We're gonna use a little bit of OK.
06:50
One part Colombian age drum, a little bit of spicy mango.
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OK.
06:56
All the way from Colombia.
06:58
All the way from Colombia.
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And what makes the spicy it chilis, chili give us a little bit
07:01
of flavor.
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You know that spicy mango juice.
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Really exciting.
07:06
I want to make popsicles out of it.
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Of course, like all good drinks and dances.
07:12
You must shake it a little bit of OK.
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You know, let's see if this is really a drink that is worth right
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It's sweet and it's got that little kick because of course
07:31
the spicy mango winner of the challenge, you got it.
07:34
I don't know, we're gonna call it.
07:35
Maybe we killed it.
07:37
We called it the killer K town.
07:39
Kill a K town.
07:40
I killed it sweet spicy and be careful because this will get
07:47
you used K town.
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This 2.7 square mile area located in the center of Los Angeles
07:56
is the most densely populated neighborhood in L A with two
07:59
thirds of his residents being born outside of the US.
08:03
Korea Town isn't just a Korean neighborhood.
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It's also largely Latinos from El Salvador and Oaxaca, Mexico
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believe it or not.
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Korea Town at one point was the exact opposite.
08:14
It was hit hard from the riots in 1992 Koreatown literally
08:19
burned for six days straight, dozens of businesses burned
08:23
down and Oi Chino witnessed it all firsthand.
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What was it like?
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Because Koreatown was literally on fire.
08:30
Yeah.
08:30
I mean, it was sad.
08:31
It was sad.
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Uh, you know, hearing about the death, you know, especially
08:36
it always makes it seem like it was a thing between Blacks and
08:40
Koreans.
08:40
Yes.
08:41
Do you not agree?
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Do you not think there was a really summarized, generalized
08:46
version of what really happened?
08:47
I mean, most of the damage happened here in Koreatown and it
08:50
wasn't done by blacks from South Central.
08:53
They didn't drive up in caravans to burn down Koreatown.
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Uh But that's what they made it seem like.
08:59
Uh and it wasn't that, you know, Koreatown was looted and burned
09:02
down by, by Korea Town residents really.
09:06
But I personally knew like, you know, Korean armies in the
09:09
neighborhood that looted.
09:11
Uh They probably didn't loot other Korean businesses, but
09:14
it wasn't um a minority thing.
09:17
It wasn't just a black and Latino thing.
09:20
What's Koreatown?
09:21
Now, this is the, the immigrant landing spot.
09:25
Your restaurant is very much reflective of that.
09:27
It's super diverse in there.
09:30
So the new generation Koreatown is very open, very diverse
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So it's no longer that closed Korean society.
09:36
I feel like your restaurant is very inclusive, all different
09:39
kinds of people sprinkled in different flavors and your food
09:43
is multi dimensional is the embodiment of.
09:47
He's pretty much the ambassador of Cape Town.
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He brings Colombia and Korea together with an L A twist.
09:57
Something that my grandma will make.
10:00
I couldn't help.
10:00
But to notice that was a metaphor for the immigrant experience
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from turbulent beginnings to settling into new land.
10:09
And then of course, remixing it to something altogether different
10:12
and way more epic.
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And thank you to like the unofficial mayor of Koreatown.
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I learned so much about the different flavors, all of the different
10:22
hip hop that you infuse into your restaurant.
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No, I'm just the official Koreatown homage.
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I'm just a homeboy.
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And that, what's good in your home, in the next, what's good
10:35
in your hood?
10:35
We're heading to Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.