John Lee fronts the recently-reunited band aMiniature. He currently lives in Korea.
What was the food highlight of your year?
Living in Seoul, there’s no shortage of interesting places to eat. I frequent Nepalese, Moroccan, Italian and so many other types of restaurants here, and a lot are quite good but my favourites are usually the little weird Korean places. There’s a small alley near a palace in Seoul that’s full of tiny eateries, usually catering to drinkers of Korean booze. The foods that go with it are typically savoury pancakes, grilled meats or seafood. I went into a grilled fish place and was kinda blown away. It seats about 20 people and one poor lady is working a smoking hot grill (a half barrel on fire). All I know is she can grill a mean side of fresh mackerel and eel. The eel was fluffy and white. It looked like marshmallows that had been put over an open fire. Some parts caramelised and crispy, the rest impossibly puffy and light. The super white meat melted on my tongue and I began to sing a song of joy. I was promptly beaten with a stick.
What was the music highlight of your year?
My very awesome pals from No Knife rocked the stage again in San Diego this October. It’s hard for me to describe the feeling I had while watching them and the 700 or so people totally immersed in the live show. It was a weird time/space thing. People from several stages of my life were there enjoying the show and at moments I popped into the realisation that I’d be headed back to Seoul the next day, to a totally different life I’m leading there. That made the concert that much more special. It was a moment that made me really appreciate all the great people I did a lot of growing up with in San Diego’s music scene of the 1990s.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
The Japanese band Mono came to Seoul this summer. My friend Fred Weaver is their manager so I got a chance to see their live show and hang out for the requisite food/drink thing after the show. It was a mighty late night that started with Soju and grilled pork and ended with Sake at an Izakaya place. My taxi ride home was in the morning light. There’s really nothing better than watching an amazing band and then eating/drinking with them. Two of the best things rammed into one great experience. Kinda like a peanut butter cup. Only louder.