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Koreatown recommendations

It was a pleasure meeting rameniac and pirikira at Sushi Zo on Friday. I’ve been checking pirikira’s site regularly and am eagerly awaiting her review!

As promised, here are a few recommendations for k-town. Like I said, most of these places are frequently mentioned but here you go! Enjoy :)

Korean bbq:

Park's Barbecue. Vermont, just north of Olympic. It is a bit pricier than other bbq joints but it's just so good! I get their kobe-style beef, saeng galbi (un-marinated), and pork belly. They also have a good selection of banchan (appetizers), which I think is very important when it comes to a good restaurant.

Honey Pig (8th and Kingsley) Their meat is standard, but I like Honey Pig for the whole experience. First, the tabletop grill is about the size of a manhole cover. They grill bean sprouts and kimchi on the grill for you alongside the meats. They do specialize in mostly pork, but they offer a minimal selection of beef, chicken and seafood. The best part of a Honey Pig meal is when the server throws a big bowl of spicy rice and mixed vegetables onto the grill and voila! You have yourself a delicious spicy fried rice. We like to flatten the rice as much as possible to get nice crispy bits all over.

Korean cold noodles:

For naeng myun, there are two basic types. The traditional naengmyun is a mild beef broth, served ice cold (sometimes slushy), with seasoned radish, thin slices of beef, julienned cucumbers and a hard boiled egg. Chilk (arrowroot) naengmyun broth is a bit more flavorful, served ice cold and slushy,with a dollop of hot sauce on top (same accompaniments). I like both types and it just depends on my mood. Of course, there are spicy non-soupy variations of naeng myun as well – 1) bibim naengmyun = cold noodles served in a spicy hot sauce, 2) hwae naengmyun = cold noodles served in a hot sauce with marinated skate wing.

Naengmyun (traditional) – Chun Ki Wa on Olympic and Arlington?
Naeng myun (chilk) – Yu Chun – 7th and Kenmore

Another cold noodle dish is dong-chi-mi gook soo. Dong chi mi is a type of water kimchee, gook soo just means noodles. Basically, it's somen noodles served in the water kimchee. It's very refreshing in the summer and the place to go for this would be The Corner Place located on James M. Woods and Westmoreland. There is also a Corner Place in Cerritos on South and Gridley.

For soon tofu: Beverly or Sokongdong – they’re both on Olympic, west of Vermont, right across the street from each other. I honestly can’t say which one I like better. They are both great and should never be put into the same category as BCD Tofu House. I personally find BCD’s soon tofu very “watered” down and lacks that “homemade” flavor.

Kobawoo House (northeast corner of Vermont and 7th) is known to have the best dwae ji bossam in Los Angeles. Dwae ji bossam is sliced pork belly served with spicy kimchee, salted shrimp, jalapenos and steamed napa cabbage. The deal is to grab a cabbage, throw on some pork and its accompaniments, roll it up and say, ‘mmmmmmmmm.........’. Naturally, the ‘mmmmmm’ is optional, but I find it an involuntary response. For you garlic lovers, be sure to ask for some and throw a slice on top!

Well, that's all I can think of for now.

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  1. Thanks for the report--my office just moved to Koreatown and i'm enjoying the exploration--will definitely add this to the list. One of my fav places so far is a dumpling house on the corner of Irolo and 7th. Huge dumplings with a spicy sauce that doesn't hit you right away. And the prices are great--about $5 for a plate of 6 monster dumplings. The sign outside says Authentic Korean Dumpling in English--I don't know the Korean name.

    You can see pictures here: http://erinskitchen.blogspot.com/2006...

    1. Have you tried Ham Ji Park, MeowMixx?
      Modernist turned me onto this place for daegi galbi(bbq pork ribs) and I can't stop going.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ciao Bob

        It's been on my list for quite some time now. I will definitely check it out soon and report back :)

        1. What meat did you order at the Honey Pig?

          4 Replies
          1. re: PseudoNerd

            I've ordered their regular sliced pork (samgyupsal), spicy pork (mae woon dwae ji bulgogi), and their galbi.

            1. re: MeowMixx

              I'd suggest giving their heukdwaeji (referred to as kurobuta in "English") samgyupsal a shot-- it's what they're actually known for.

              Aren't marinated meats generally more a miss than a hit in restaurants? I consistently find the marinades to be too sweet despite their "maeoon"-whatever names.

              1. re: PseudoNerd

                I usually order the un-marinated meats when going to korean bbq restaurants for exactly that reason. Saeng galbi, jumuluk, cha dol bae gi and samgyupsal (heuk or otherwise). Plus, the sugars in the marinades end up turning the grill into a black smokey mess.

                1. re: MeowMixx

                  I know!
                  But I've noticed that a couple of places have taken to sending waiters by to clean up the messes with-- of all things-- white bread.

          2. Parks' BBQ is definitely one of my favorites...