Remember South Korean pop sensation Psy, who took the world by storm with his hit single Gangnam Style? The music video’s now at three billion views on YouTube. Some say he helped put the Asian nation on the global stage.
But South Korea is back in the international spotlight hosting the Winter Olympics.
NBC10 Boston’s JC Monahan, Brian Shactman and Audrey Asistio will be reporting on the ground, while Jonathan Choe will be in Boston, giving you an introduction to Korean culture and the Korean American experience right in our backyard.
Thursday, Feb. 8:
Today we’re exploring Boston’s unofficial “Korea Town.” It’s several blocks primarily along Harvard Avenue in Allston, made up of an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and other businesses.
One of the most popular spots for traditional Korean dishes is Kaju Tofu House, owned by Joseph Suh’s family. He believes more Korean entrepreneurs could be on the way.
“They see all the success we’re having and some others are having,” says Suh.
There’s even a Tous Les Jour, an upscale Korean bakery chain that just moved in.
Blogger Phyllis Myung says part of the draw to the area is that Korean culture is becoming more mainstream.
“It was just some random radio station and all of a sudden they are playing Psy and Gangnam Style. I’m like, ‘what is going on!’”
Myung says the global crossover appeal is being fueled in part by non-Koreans. Demand for Korean entertainment, food, consumer electronics and beauty products is also boosting interest in the area.
A lot of it’s driven by students says Boston City Councilor Mark Ciommo, who represents the district but says it wasn’t always this vibrant. He also credits Korean business owners for helping revitalize the street.
“They've really embraced this neighborhood, made it their own,” says Ciommo.
And then there’s the night life, belting out tunes at Jin Karaoke is a must. Just a preview of some of the sights and sounds from the Olympic host nation.