Open Letter to Sarai on the Publication of Seoul Food: Short Stories of a Korean American Living in Los Angeles

Hello, Sarai ~

Here are my initial comments on the book:

Passion. Heart. Insight. These are my three immediate reactions to Seoul Food. Congratulations. I would love for my students to read this book.

General Thoughts

As I read Seoul Food, I marvel at the wonderful dialogue and insights, not only as they pertain to Korean-American culture, but as they pertain to the modern condition, as well. Some of my favorite descriptions are the inter-generational descriptions. I think young people will relate to struggles with the preceding generations that you have carefully detailed.

You address the topic of the LA riots and on page 36, you mention the importance of “healing” and I found that comment insightful. You write, “We were one of the many owners who lost a part of the “American dream” in those six days. There was sadness in the atmosphere — and it wasn’t just the riots. Many people were in pain, including our family,” (p. 36). I can imagine that future discussions on topics ranging from community-building, to what it takes to start and maintain your own business in the face of social upheaval will occur after readers deeply consider the impact of the LA riots — something that you discuss in this book.

Another topic that is relevant for social scientists and historians is bussing. You discuss bussing from the perspective of living on the Westside (p. 42).

Finally, the descriptions of the Korean foods and meals, throughout this book constantly made me hungry!