Chicken Tikka Poutine | Courtesy of Life & Thyme

Ep. 5, Banchan: Korean Food Beyond BBQ

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. 

Owner Yong Won Jun says that while Korean BBQ may get all the attention, there’s so much more to his culture’s cuisine. Their menu includes items like spicy sautéed octopus, kimchi casseroles, and spicy chicken soup. The concept behind this old-school eatery that he and his mother, Jung Ye Ju, run together is to serve food that reflects how they would eat at home, and to give busy people the chance to nourish themselves with a comforting meal after a hard day’s work. 

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. They immigrated to the United States in 1986, and at the time, Yong Won likened Los Angeles to dreary Gotham City. Those early days were trying times when his mother would go door to door selling lunch boxes before she managed to launch her restaurant that ended up becoming a success and was heralded by countless food critics.

But in the midst of success, the family has another challenge to overcome. We see the pivotal moment when the mother and son face a new heartbreaking chapter, as a real estate deal is 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.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

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.

  • 2017-12-16T03:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2017-12-17T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2017-12-18T06:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-01T07:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-01T07:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-10T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-10T15:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-11T06:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-12T02:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-13T03:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-15T06:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK

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.

  • 2017-12-20T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2017-12-21T06:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2017-12-22T02:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2017-12-23T03:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2017-12-24T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2017-12-25T06:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-01T08:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-01T08:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK

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.

  • 2017-12-27T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2017-12-28T06:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2017-12-29T02:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2017-12-30T03:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-01T08:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-01T08:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-07T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

The Migrant Kitchen 1-Hour Special

Los Angeles’ booming food scene is being shaped by a new generation of chefs. Visit almost any kitchen in Los Angeles and it is likely you will find a migrant chef combining ethnic cuisines with new flavors and techniques. And often within the food, is a story of their migration.

“The politics of migration, the labor economy, all that drama plays out in the restaurants that we go to,” says journalist and author Rubén Martínez

  • 2018-01-01T06:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-01T06:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK

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.

  • 2018-01-01T07:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-01T07:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-03T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-03T15:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-04T06:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-05T02:30:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2018-01-06T03:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-08T06:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2018-01-14T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD