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korean restaurant: wow! pigs feet * blood sausage

  • 5

occasionally we make it a point to try random places and last night we found

wah! jokbal * sundae
wow! pigs feet * blood sausage

3557 west 3rd street (at new hampshire)
los angeles, ca 90020
213 386-3231

wow! pigs feet might be hidden to most people, esp if they don't read korean. its a small place, set up just right for maybe 20 people to sit down, but i am sure they do their share of take out too. we saw two take out orders during out half hour stay... it has a run down yet homey feel, is clean and the two people working there were also friendly and efficient.

the two of us were feeling greedy so we got the pigs feet sampler (modeum jokbal) for $20 which includes all five of their pigs feet offerings:

* pigs feet (jokbal) - $10
* pigs feet terrine (jokbal pyeonyuk) - $10
* pigs toes (balgarak) - $10
* five spice pigs feet terrine (o hyang jokbal) - $13
* spicy grilled pigs feet (jokbal yang nyeom gui) - $13

their other specialty is blood sausage and they only sell them in two ways: plain blood sausage (sundae, small and large, $6 and $10) and blood sausage soup (sundae guk) - $6.50. we will have to return to try these.

their other five dishes we probably wont try since its not their specialty (call us odd), but they do offer other comfort dishes like potato soup (gamja tang) and kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae) for those who have been dragged there reluctantly and cant seem to bring themselves to eat either pigs feet or blood sausage.

the sampler came with a kettle of well chilled barley tea (boricha) and small sides of: soybean paste (duenjang), shrimp brine (sae-u jeot), sliced garlic and jalapenos, and pickled radishes and jalapenos.

i went there mentally prepared for freezer burned pigs feet. i have gone to several dimsum establishments where the chicken feet have terrible freezer burn. i cannot abide kamaboko, eomuk, odeng, chikuwa and the like for the same reason. as much as i love the taste of all these dishes, (and i do!) its just gag-inducing awful for me when theres freezer burn, which there is 90% of the time.

but it seems that theres no freezer burn taste to any of the dishes there. and if there was any in evidence, i couldnt taste it! yaay!

and not only was there no freezer burn, but it was ALL delicious!

my favourite was the spicy grilled pigs feet (not too spicy, but just right!), closely followed by the five spice pigs feet terrine. my husband thought the best was the plain pigs feet, with the pigs toes coming in second. there should be something for everyone's taste in the very generous sampler.

half way through dinner, we felt that there should be some rice, which the host provided right away along with some kimchi. neither were very good, but they werent bad either. okay, the kimchi was actually kind of subpar, but we werent there for the kimchi (go to l.a. omogari for that!). we also found out at the end of the meal that the rice and "kimchi" came gratis so i really shouldnt gripe.

we were very full after eating our way through half the sampler and there was still enough to go through for lunch today, with a tiny bit leftover still.

not bad for $20!

HIGHLY recommend.

there are some cons:

1) it is hard to find, esp if you cant read korean.

the place is small and in a tiny strip mall with difficult parking (friday night we had to drive around three times before we found anything nearby). it is also not listed clearly in english. the strip mall does have a sign for "el pollo bailador" -- which is also a good place to get, of all things, korean rotisserie chicken (el pollo bailador is aka dori dori tongdak).

2) i dont think anything in the restaurant is in english (which is why i translated most things and provided prices). and i dont know if the people who work there speak any english. but PLEASE, if you want a treat that cant be easily found outside l.a., dont let this stop you!

3) they dont serve soju or any other kind of drinks other than sodas and boricha. but you can take out and eat and drink at home! :-D

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  1. Amazing post. Thank you.

    1. Now I need to learn to read Korean.

      My goal is to find the most different and challenging foods in the LA area.

      If anyone on this thread has something exciting or weird, let me know--oh yeah, it can't be too expensive. I'm looking for the less expensive things out there.

      Email me at bigtasty@therealbigtasty.com

      I want to know what to get, where to get it, and how much it is.

      1. I was wondering if you know whether the restaurant is still there, and still serving this combination...

        I would really like to try it.

        Also, if I bring the names of the dishes written out in transliteration as above, are they likely to understand, or would I be better off trying to find someone to write it out in Korean?

        2 Replies
        1. re: rufush


          Using the search term wah, you'll see it's still in business:

          WAH JOEK BAL
          3557 W 3RD ST
          LOS ANGELES, CA 90020

          1. re: rufush


            Actually, I drove past there late last night before I saw your post, and confirmed it is still there and in business.

            The Jokbal platter is now $25 but everything else seems as described.

            Note that while the article above refers to pigs feet, the menu on the wall tranlates the dishes as "pork huck" and the cook who was sitting at one of the tables apparently working at picking apart meat for the next day was definitely working on hocks, not feet.

            Looking around online it seems that jokbal (which I have never had) is made with either feet or hocks.

            I will definitely be trying out the sampler platter as soon as I can find someone to join me!