Innovation Hub stopped by the Korean taqueria, Kogi during a trip to Los Angeles. Credit: Matt Purdy / WGBH
What are some of the world’s most influential culinary cities? New York, Paris and… Los Angeles? Not only is LA’s food scene bumping, it’s also driven largely by its immigrant population. Our host Kara Miller spoke with University of Southern California professorand LA food writer during a recent food journey out west.
- Kun says restaurant menus often reflect what’s going on in our country at a certain time. He recalls one World War II menu in particular that reprinted a newspaper ad encouraging patrons to buy defense stamps because, “Every defense stamp you buy helps send a Jap to hell.”
- Nguyen says today’s food writers pay a lot more attention to culturally diverse foods than they did even a decade ago. Before 2005, Nguyen said most restaurant reviews focused on places that were run by white male chefs and promoted a Eurocentric menu. Now, casual and non-European food has made its way into the spotlight.
- The rise of the internet had a huge hand in shifting people’s focus toward more affordable restaurants. Food bloggers had — and for the most part, still have — a restrictive budget. So if it’s between going broke on the duck a l’orange or digging into an inexpensive taco, bloggers often review the cheaper restaurant. As food bloggers gained more influence, the visibility of the restaurants they reviewed grew, too.
- profiled Kun’s book, “ ” where he examines the city’s history through the lens of restaurant menus.
- See Tien take a trip to the Sriracha factory in the LA suburbs as part of the series.
- The New York Times writes that LA’s “ ” is what keeps it thriving.