Korean Fest serves up sampling of music, food and culture



For the new K-pop boy band Baikal, headlining the 10th annual Houston Korean Festival was their first opportunity to perform in the United States since their debut in September.

The South Korean music group rehearsed on stage at Discovery Green Saturday morning to prepare for it evening show, one of more than a dozen performances at this weekend’s Korean Festival. To celebrate its 10-year mark, the Korean American Society of Houston booked more international acts, including five from South Korea.


“We have things that we’ve never seen before and I’m very excited about it,” KASH board chairman Mark Shim said. “We’ve never had such a big line up of incredible performers.”

Baikal planned to perform covers of songs from the renowned K-pop band BTS, which has sold out shows across Houston. The genre’s rising popularity is something Baikal said it is proud of.


“We’re very proud that K-pop has made it worldwide now, and that it’s very well-known,” said Dokka, one of the band members. “We are very proud of the fact that we can be a part of this festival and show our talent as well.”

Other performers included the International Youth Art’s Troupe and Jackie Cycle, an indoor cycling gym in South Korea that incorporates dance and gymnastic moves on stationary bikes.

Although the oversea acts are from South Korea, former KASH board chairman Randy Sim said the festival represents the entire Korean culture.

“North Korea is on many people’s minds including the Korean community and a lot of Houstonians,” Sim said. “This is a Korean festival – not a South Korean festival.”

One of the reasons KASH started this festival a decade ago was to give Houstonians a place to sample several kinds of Korean food and learn about the Korean culture.

“We think that there’s always been an interest among Houstonians about Korean culture, Korean food and Korean performances,” Sim said. “There really wasn’t a one-stop place to sample 100 different stuff — from traditional Korean food to fusion Korean food — whether it’s a more common taco or a cool different hamburger that has a Korean twist to it.”

Hyung Gil Kim, the consul general of the Republic of Korea, said one of the reasons the festival is important is because it is organized by the younger generation.


“It’s very important because it’s organized by Korean Americans living in Houston, especially young Korean Americans, such as the 1.5 generation who were born in the United States or came to the United States at their early ages,” said Kim, who first attended the festival last year. “As a diplomat, I’m always interested in promoting the interest and the understanding of Korea, and this (the festival) is an amazing opportunity for that.”



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