Do you know what you’re eating?
Can you have affinity with food you didn’t grow up eating? Most Americans (I do mean non-Korean Americans) did not eat Korean food until they were way into adulthood–unless their best friend happened to be Korean–so all they know is Korean BBQ and the ubiquitous bi bam bap. This beloved dish has been eaten by every Korean at some point in their life, probably in childhood, and the one dish that’ll follow you on all the Korean menus you pick up here in the U.S. It’ll be the one dish that won’t scare off the white people who mistakenly wander into Korean restaurants thinking they can order General Tso’s Chicken.
Am I engaging in acts of nationalism and elitism here? Could be. But ask any Italian (American) about their nonna’s Sunday gravy or Senegalese (American) about their mom’s chicken and peanut soup and surely they’ll be just as passionate about sharing their insights into their respective family cuisines.
Cuisine viewed as “other” or, more nicely put, “unique” will always be in danger of becoming trivialized, fusioned, and/or watered down when it is magically “discovered” by the popular culture. Gag.
I certainly don’t have a monopoly over Korean cuisine, but I do have ownership. I’ve suggested that not everyone needs to eat it, and I stand by what I said. You may not be ready to appreciate it, let alone ingest it, and that is okay.
Eat something else.