Sightings of Korean superstar Kang Ho-dong at his eponymous Koreatown BBQ restaurant are even rarer than catching Rick Bayless at Red O. That hasn't kept his local post of Kang Hodong Baekjeong from reaching its own mega-hot status in L.A., earning glowing blog praise, a "Best Korean Barbecue" ribbon from L.A. Weekly, and a four-and-a-half star Yelp rating. But since a tax evasion scandal in his homeland, loose talk has dogged Kang, daring to suggest his grilled meat enterprise was a shelter for more than just samgyeopsal and kkot deung sim. Since going underground in the scandal's wake, fans were eagerly awaiting his return and even started a petition to support his reinstatement on the airwaves.
Proving that a show of contrition isn't solely the tool of disgraced U.S. celebrities, Kang, who was fined but mostly exonerated from the charges, let the waterworks flow on Korean television this week as he marked his comeback to prime time, asking for a fresh start and promising, "I'll give it my best shot, with all the enthusiasm I had back when I was starting out." Psy...Er, we mean sigh.
The news has many stalwart fans going crazy on Facebook, while Ho-dong's L.A. outpost continues to be a major hit on his hands either way.
Kang Ho-dong Thrilled to Be Back in Showbiz [The Chosun Ilbo]