What five essential items are always in your travel bag?
Tons of underwear, two pairs of New Balance, an international voltage converter, a phone charger, and my Samsung Galaxy.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions?
Ever since a friend told me it's safer to travel in the back of the airplane, I prefer being seated in the back area. I'm not sure if it's scientifically proven. Although I don't go to church, I make a cross before the plane takes off. It's one of the few Catholic traditions I keep.
What’s the one home-cooked meal that you crave on the road?
Nothing really. I am always eager to try local foods wherever I go. It's more exciting to learn about what people eat in other parts of the world. I know my wife brings a little spicy red bean paste (go chu jang) to add Korean flavors, if needed. But there's nothing I crave when I'm on the road.
What’s been your best travel experience ever?
In 2003, I took two weeks off to visit the best restaurants in Spain. I went to eat at El Bulli, Azrak, Martin Berasategui, and Suberoa. Since I worked for Martin Berasategui before coming to the US, I went to visit him again to see how things have changed since I left. I also knew Arzak and Suberoa personally. But it was my first time meeting Ferran Adria and I wanted to take a picture with him. But, I forgot to bring my camera. It was when I didn't have a smart phone or a digital camera.
What’s your craziest travel story?
In 1980, my parents took us to Portugal for vacation. We went with another family with two children who were friends of my parents. It was the time when all European countries had customs and strict border control. After driving 7 hours from San Sebastian to the Portuguese border, my parents realized they didn't bring our passports. In order to not ruin the vacation from the beginning, they borrowed the passports from the family who was traveling with us. The funniest part of it, is that my sister had to pretend she was a boy since the children of the other family were two boys. We were lucky there were a lot of people and the custom personnel didn't have time to check carefully.