Fi2W on the Radio: A Korean Restaurant in Brooklyn via Uzbekistan

Elza Kan; photo by Mia Warren

Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood has earned the nickname “Little Odessa” because of its concentration of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. Among the Russian shops and cafes, one restaurant serves Korean cuisine with an Uzbek twist.

Mia Warren grew up eating Korean food, thanks to her Korean mother. But she’d never eaten food like the the dishes prepared by Elza Kan at Cafe at Your Mother-In-Law. Elza is ethnically Korean but was born and raised in Uzbekistan; she speaks mostly Russian and some Korean. Mia tells her story of getting to know Elza, her family, and her food on PRI’s The World. She discovers the little-known history of the Korean diaspora to Central Asia.

Listen to Mia’s story on PRI’s The World.

Mia developed this story as a participant in our Telling Immigrant Food Stories journalism workshop. Funding for the workshop came from The International Association of Culinary Professionals’ foundation, The Culinary Trust, and its Growing Leaders Food Writing program.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, an anonymous donor and readers like you.

AboutMia Warren
Mia Warren (she/her) is an award-winning audio producer living in Brooklyn, NY. With more than a decade of experience, her work has been featured on Latino USA, PRI’s The World, and in Yes! Magazine. Prior to her role as Managing Director of Feet in 2 Worlds, Mia was a Senior Producer at Sony Podcasts, where she developed several narrative shows including All Relative: Defining Diego and This Is Jeopardy: The Story of America's Favorite Quiz Show. In 2020, Mia was the inaugural Editing Fellow at Fi2W, where she developed and produced a Golden Crane award-winning season of A Better Life? podcast, which explored how America's COVID-19 response impacted immigrant communities. As a producer at StoryCorps from 2015-2019, she created segments for their weekly broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition, contributed to their 2019 Peabody-nominated podcast season, and collaborated on Un(re)solved, StoryCorps' Emmy Award-winning civil rights series with Frontline. Mia is the daughter of a Korean immigrant and grew up in Boulder, Colorado. She is a voracious reader of fiction, bread baker, cyclist, and public transit enthusiast.