Show 502, December 3, 2022: Katianna Hong, Chef & Partner – Yangban Society and Yangban Super, Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles Part One

Katianna Hong of the Yangban Society

Yangban Society located in The Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles (in the previous home of Bon Temps Restaurant) draws inspiration from Korean flavors and influences with California ingredients. Together, Chef / Proprietors Katianna & John Hong craft dishes that reveal their distinct perspectives and upbringings as Korean Americans, as well as their nuanced culinary approach, refined from their shared time at The Restaurant at Meadowood, The Charter Oak and Mélisse.” Chef Kat Hong takes a break from her busy kitchen to join us.

“Within Yangban Society resides the Yangban Super, a stand-alone specialty minimart. In addition to retail products, housemade pantry staples, snacks and drinks such as Korean fruit milks, face masks, and incense, Yangban Super showcases items from L.A. – based and Asian-American-owned businesses. Carefully-crafted housemade canned and bottled cocktails, interesting wines, beer and Yangban’s custom-made Sawtelle Sake Makgeolli are just a few selections that one can find in the diversified beverage program. The space also gives voice to Katianna’s and John’s passion for Hip Hop, fashion and streetwear culture. This is a reflection of their intension for Yangban Society to speak to their identities outside the kitchen.”

“Born in Korea and raised in upstate New York, Katianna spent much of her childhood training in competitive gymnastics, developing a profound sense of drive and discipline at an early age. After high school, Katianna uncovered her passion for the culinary arts and went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park and the UNLV School of Hospitality. Following graduation, Katianna furthered her education under the acclaimed chef Josiah Citrin at the Michelin two-starred Melisse in Santa Monica, California. Amid long kitchen shifts at Melisse, Katianna met her culinary collaborator and future husband, John. The two relocated to Napa Valley in 2011, where Katianna began working as a line cook at chef Christopher Kostow’s lauded The Restaurant at Meadowood. In 2014, she was named the restaurant’s first-ever chef de cuisine, simultaneously becoming the only female chef de cuisine at a Michelin three-star restaurant in the United States.”

“Following the birth of their daughter, Alessia, Katianna and John relocated to Southern California in 2019 to pursue their dream of opening their first solo restaurant project together. At Yangban Society, Katianna & John offer a multi-dimensional, autobiographical experience that showcases their respective backgrounds and upbringings, while providing standout to-go offerings and a dynamic neighborhood space for locals to gather.”

Standout dishes include Fried White “Soondae” Sausage with Vermicelli noodles, Matzoh Ball Soup with hand-torn Sujebi Dumplings and ethereal Whipped Cheesecake.

Show 502, December 3, 2022: Katianna Hong, Chef & Partner – Yangban Society and Yangban Super, Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles Part Two

Katianna Hong of the Yangban Society

Yangban Society located in The Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles (in the previous home of Bon Temps) draws inspiration from Korean flavors and influences with California ingredients. Together, Chef / Proprietors Katianna & John Hong craft dishes that reveal their distinct perspectives and upbringings as Korean Americans, as well as their nuanced culinary approach, refined from their shared time at The Restaurant at Meadowood, The Charter Oak and Mélisse.” Chef Kat Hong takes a break from her busy kitchen to join us.

“Within Yangban Society resides the Yangban Super, a stand-alone specialty minimart. In addition to retail products, housemade pantry staples, snacks and drinks such as Korean fruit milks, face masks, and incense, Yangban Super showcases items from L.A. – based and Asian-American-owned businesses. Carefully-crafted housemade canned and bottled cocktails, interesting wines, beer and Yangban’s custom-made Sawtelle Sake Makgeolli are just a few selections that one can find in the diversified beverage program. The space also gives voice to Katianna’s and John’s passion for Hip Hop, fashion and streetwear culture. This is a reflection of their intension for Yangban Society to speak to their identities outside the kitchen.”

“At Yangban Society, Katianna & John offer a multi-dimensional, autobiographical experience that showcases their respective backgrounds and upbringings, while providing standout to-go offerings and a dynamic neighborhood space for locals to gather.” 

Show 336, August 10, 2019: Mealtop (Korean Shaved Ice) with Proprietor Joon Hyun-Baek

Joon Hyun-Baek of Mealtop CafeSince 1985 Mealtop has been serving traditional Korean shaved ice (Bingsoo) all over South Korea. These popular and traditional Korean desserts have recently arrived in the United States with locations in Buena Park and on L.A.’s Koreatown.

The menu at Mealtop features a multitude of authentic Bingsoo (shaved ice). All of Mealtop’s Bingsoo variations include four classic ingredients: soft shaved ice, braised red beans, chewy rice cakes and sweet condensed milk. The cast-iron braised sweet-but-savory red beans are the most important aspect, while the other three play equal parts in the taste of Korean tradition. All of the flavors come together in harmony and every ingredient is either made in-house using traditional techniques or locally sourced.

In addition to traditional shaved ice, Mealtop also offers other items such as lattes from South Korea (Bibibig Latte, Orange Latte and Babamba Latte), and desserts such as Injelomi Pancake and more.

“Even with an abundance of Korean food in Los Angeles, I felt and still somewhat feel that there is room for growth not only in Korean food but representation of Korean culture; thus I made it one of my life goals to spread Korean culture through food and clothing. Our ultimate goal is to bring a piece of South Korean culture to these communities through traditional Korean shaved ice and desserts.” — CEO Joon Hyun-Baek

We’ll meet proprietor Joon Hyun-Baek.

Show 100, December 6, 2014: Diamond Jamboree Center

Diamond JamboreeThe unusual Diamond Jamboree retail center at the corner of Alton Parkway and Jamboree Road in Irvine is a veritable culinary tour of the edible delights of Asia (primarily) without the long plane flight and needing a current passport with the required visas. You hear more Chinese, Japanese, and Korean spoken there than English but all are welcome.

The best known anchor (there are over 20 possible dining destinations) is the West Coast Flagship of 85 Degrees, a hugely popular Taiwanese bakery café (230 plus cafes in Taiwan) that is always busy. We’ll also talk about Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle and Urban Seoul borderless kitchen.

We’ll be provided with an informed overview of this foodie’s paradise by Marketing Manager, Suzie Won.