Little Bit Of Seoul: Hyundai Begat A Thriving Korean Community In Montgomery

| March 17, 2017 @ 5:57 am

By Bob Blalock

When Southern Foodways Alliance Executive Director John T. Edge asked Ann Taylor Pittman to write about the Korean community in Montgomery, the project revealed to her the first of its several surprises.

“There is a sizable Korean community in Montgomery, Alabama, an hour and a half down the road from us,” Pittman, executive editor of Cooking Light magazine, told attendees at SFA’s recent Food Media South event in Birmingham. “Who knew? I actually did not until John T. got in touch to see if I’d do this project.”

Pittman took on the story and learned much about Montgomery’s Korean community, and herself.Montgomery has long had a thriving international community because of Maxwell Air Force Base. The South Korean-owned Hyundai auto assembly plant announced in 2002, which began producing vehicles in 2005, revved the Korean population numbers, Pittman said. Add sister company Kia’s auto plant 80 miles east in West Point, Georgia, and more than 70 Korean-owned supplier companies dotting the Interstate 85 corridor between the two plants, and it’s no wonder the number of Koreans took off.

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