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Joe Kwon of folk rock band The Avett Brothers talks about Charleston and his own food blog

Image by Todd Roeth



Wednesday February 8, 2012

by Scott Wink of


Charleston, SC  –
The Avett Brothers are coming to the North Charleston Coliseum on Sunday February 12th, 2012.  We got to talk with Joe Kwon, the cello player in the band, that also happens to be a
pretty great food blogger.


Charleston Food Bloggers ( CFB ) :
What are some of the most commonly found snack foods found on an Avett Brothers tour?


Joe Kwon:  Well we were told by an RN once that we lose
too much water. So we do seem to have lots of water, sports drinks of choice,
kettle chips, granola bars, cereal, milk, OJ, and mixed nuts. Pretty boring,
huh? We like to keep it simple.


CFB:  How is each of the members of The Avett
Brothers different when it comes to food preferences?


Joe Kwon:  I probably shouldn’t go down that road. I
have the “pleasure” of ordering food for everyone and let’s just say,
sometimes that’s not the easiest thing to do. With the ever growing group we
have it’s difficult to find ONE cuisine that everyone will like. I will say
that our go to places are Thai, pizza, burritos, or burgers. Can’t go wrong
with those categories.


CFB:  What are you favorite songs to perform live?


Joe Kwon:  Oh, I love Laundry Room, Indolence, Once and Future Carpenter, I & Love & You, Go to Sleep, I guess those would be
my favorites but I love to play all the songs really. I get such a thrill being
on stage!


CFB:  Which musicians/songs are you currently
really wowed by?


Joe Kwon:  Interestingly enough I’ve been going back to
my classical roots as of late. I’ve been getting really into listening to old
symphonies with new ears. It seems as though for me classical music is
constantly evolving in my understanding of the pieces and I get something new
out of the pieces when I come back to them years later. I guess one song in
particular I’m wowed by right now is Song of The Birds by Casals. It’s a simple
and yet such a beautiful piece.


CFB:  Do you have any restaurants that you
absolutely must go to if you are in a certain city?


Joe Kwon:  I’m definitely starting to amass a list of
such places. It may not always work out the way I want it to so I never make it
a MUST GO type of scenario, but I will definitely try to sway the group to go
to one place or another.


Image by D.L. Anderson

CFB:  What do you think about Top Chef?


Joe Kwon:  I think it’s one of the only credible reality
shows on TV. I haven’t watched many episodes of the show but what I’ve watched
I’ve liked. We’re on the road too often to really keep current with any shows.


CFB:  What would make a perfect day of eating at
restaurants around where you live in North Carolina (breakfast, lunch, dinner,
dessert, and drinks)?


Joe Kwon:  Funny you ask this. I have this idea of what
it would be like to just take a day of eating in and around my area. All of
these restaurants are within 30 minutes driving distance of my home and I love
them all. I would start my morning off at Guglhupf Bakery for a nice light
breakfast of a quiche or bread and cheese, followed by a stop off at 3 cups to
get some coffee from Counter Culture coffee which happens to be roasted just
minutes from my house. I’d then stop off at one of three restaurants depending
on my mood, Thai China, China Express, or Sandwhich. Each of those three
restaurants has a favorite comfort dish I love to order and I can’t just choose
one. If money and time weren’t an issue here I’d drive out to Pittsboro, NC and
visit Fearrington House for a 5 course meal. At this stage of the eating game,
I’d be stuffed so I’d probably need to walk around a bit to digest. I’d drive
to Chapel Hill and park on the east side of Franklin Street and walk to Lantern
for some dessert and a cocktail. I’d then head back to Durham for a night of
beers at Fullsteam Brewery and hopefully have a DD to drive me home because I
love me some beer!!


CFB:  Have you ever eaten at any of the great
restaurants in Charleston?

Joe Kwon:  I have eaten at one but I don’t recall the
name. I remember they were known for their shrimp and grits. Maybe you know of
the place?

CFB:  I love your blog   do
you have any other talents or hobbies?


Joe Kwon:  I’ve recently been turned on to wood working.
I’m just starting now but I’d love to get really into it. There is definitely
something special about creating things with your hands. I also love to take
photos, but recently I’ve been preoccupied with the wood working HA!

CFB:  Would you share a family recipe with us?


Joe Kwon:  Sure, if you ask nice. 


(Joe Kwon then shared and posted his mother’s kimchi fried rice recipe with pictures on his blog)

Recipes: Mama Kwon’s Kimchi Fried Rice (김치 볶음밥)

DateWednesday, January 25, 2012 at 8:20AM

Mom was over at the house yesterday and I couldn’t resist having her make me some kimchi fried rice before she left. She explained to me that kimchi fried rice is a dish that everyone loves in Korea. It is a dish probably originated, yet again, in the poorer communities of a way of using up every bit of resource. Kimchi is a fermented cabbage that has iconic state in Korea. There are hundreds of different permutations of the side dish, and every family has their own recipe.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the space or time (or permission) to post mama Kwon’s kimchi recipe, but I can post this simple recipe for when your stash of kimchi goes past it’s prime.

Behchu kimchi (napa cabbage kimchi) is what we’re working with here. Kimchi has several stages in it’s life cycle. Once it’s past it’s prime is when there are a couple things you do with it. Make kimchi chigeh (kimchi stew) or make kimchi bokumbap (kimchi fried rice). The dish centers around this over fermented kimchi, and some sort of protein.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 lb over fermented kimchi
1/2 lb chicken, beef, pork, or tofu (any protein will work)
4 cups day old steamed jasmine or Korean medium grain rice
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 egg per person
Start by cutting up the protein into small half inch cubes removing all the fat and connective tissue. Next chop up the kimchi to small chunks as well, and set both aside. Bring a large frying pan to medium high heat, and add the oil and protein. Cook through. Add the kimchi, and stir fry all of it together for about 2 minutes. Add the cold rice, and incorporate into the kimchi/protein mixture. Stir fry for several minutes until the rice is heated through. Remove the pan from the heat, drizzle the sesame oil over the rice, stir, and eat right away, or heat up another frying pan to fry up your egg. The egg isn’t essential to the dish, but is totally worth it.

Bon Appétit!
많이 드세요
-Joe Kwon

Some of you may be asking where to get said ingredients. Well if you find your local korean market you can find both toasted sesame oil as well as kimchi. Make sure you’re buying the right kind of kimchi though. There are more than you can imagine.