South Korean investment in the U.S. got a major boost in 2008 when the federal government decided to no longer require visas for visiting South Korean citizens. The move has already shown results.
For the first six months of this year, some 450,000 South Koreans entered the U.S., a 38% rise over the same period last year. The U.S. is the third-most-popular destination for South Koreans, after China and Japan. ...
But money from Seoul has caused tension in Los Angeles' Koreatown, analysts say.
"It's having a hugely disruptive impact," Park said. "If you're a restaurant owner there, you're running scared, because the South Koreans bring a more authentic, more exciting brand of Korean food.
"Many Korean American owners see the writing on the wall — they know they have to step it up or be pushed out," Park said. "But contractors and other businesses are ready to cater to this new investment. Given the tough economy in L.A., they're all happy as clams."
--John Glionna and Ethan Kim, LA Times, on the threat to the mediocrity that is U.S. Korean food