Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chinese-Koreans in California ("화교")

I mentioned 50,000 ethnic Chinese-Koreans ([한국]"화교", 韓國華僑, 韩国华侨) living in South Korea out of a population of about 50,000,000. Well, I looked it up on the great free online encyclopedia that is Wikipedia and it actually cites a figure of 624,994 (2009, 71% of which are ethnic Koreans), but these represent all people with Chinese citizenship. And, rather than refer to the recent migrants, I was referring to the historic Chinese population dating back to 1882 -- fourth or fifth generation ethnic-Chinese Koreans that have largely retained their culture and language, while speaking perfect Korean. The site mentions:

It is estimated that only 26,700 of the old Chinese community now remain in South Korea; they largely hold Republic of China nationality.
And that:
Due to the South Korean regulations in the 1960s which limited foreign property ownership, many Chinese in South Korea left the country.[30] During the 1970s, 15,000 are estimated to have moved to the United States, and another 10,000 to Taiwan.
Amazingly, there are many Chinese-Koreans in California. If you're in the Berkeley-Oakland area, there are two Chinese restaurants on opposing sides of Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. One of which, I know is owned by an ethnic-Chinese Korean family. In even the smallest of Korean communities, there's a good chance that the local Chinese restaurant that sells Sino-Korean dishes (such as Jja-jang myeon or 짜장면, I'm not sure what to call these dishes as I believe people in China proper do not eat them), then there's a good chance they are owned by 4th or 5th generation, ethnic Chinese-Koreans that have migrated from South Korea. In Los Angeles, there's so many of these restaurants that it's not difficult to meet Chinese-Koreans, but if you're in San Diego, the Chinese restaurant in the Asian business area of Convoy is also owned by a Chinese-Korean family. Their Korean is perfect so it is hard to distinguish that they are indeed ethnic Chinese. I find it amazing that from such a small community (say 50,000), many now live in California.

Talk about a direct connection with history.

Anyways, yes, I ate jja-jang-myeon (black bean noodles?) yesterday.

No comments:

Post a Comment