Korean food for visiting Koreans who have been starved of good Korean food the last 4 months
Here's the scenario................
We will be hosting a Korean exchange student who has been stuck in South Dakota for the last 4 months. She's flying to LA on June 2 and is eagerly anticipating a taste of home.
I know that I could take her to any place on my regular Korean rotation, which for the record includes:
Soot Bull Jeep
That other soontufu place across from BST with the raw crab panchan
That dolsot bibimbap place next to the place with the raw crab
Sa Rit Gol
and my not-so-regular rotation:
She claims to love all Korean food, and at this point is so desperate for anything vaguely kimchi flavored that she'd probably scarf down Woo Lae Oak and proclaim it delectable.
However, I would really love to show her a wonderful experience that will not just satisfy her palate but leave her feeling as if she's been back home.
My gut reaction is Sa Rit Gol (for the extremely Korean ambiance as much as for the black cod jigae, bbq, glorious panchan, etc). I the fact that SRG has a large, diverse menu that she could pick her favorites from (though I realize that the best Korean restaurants tend to specialize).
I'm extremely open to suggestions as this would be a great experience for me also, to break out of my old standbys and try something different. (Though it doesn't have to be...)
Thanks for your ideas and opinions, 'hounds
Kang Nam on Olympic and Crenshaw. Most of the clientale there are Korean. I know for a fact that Korean politicians and diplomats go to that place when they are in LA, that's gotta say something about the place.
Kang Nam Restaurant
4103 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
some of many good choices :) altho i think tahoe isn't very good and would do woo lae oak over it anyday (woo lae ok may be a bit americanized for the non-korean palette, but it's still "authentic" in wat matters and it's pretty good... (altho things may have changed as i haven't been since the ktown loc closed down years ago)...that and cho sun actually used to be my faves wen i was lil but then cho sun grew 10fold and the taste that i loved back then is now nowhere near. watever u do, don't take her to a food court or AYCE spot (unless she specifically requests so).. there's just a plethora of yummy korean places in LA and of so many diff specialties.. no need for a food court or AYCE place where the quality isn't up to par. have fun, mr. taster!! i'm sure she'll love the taste of home~
So Kong Dong over Beverly for soon dubu
Chin go gae - goat stew, at the end before the broth sizzles away make sure you get the waiter to add the rice and the gim to make the most amazing fried rice
Ham ji park - gam ja tang -potato pork neck soup, ribs are good too
Yoo chun- it's getting hot and some nice chik mool neng myun (cold noodle soup) would be perfect on hot summer day
Dansungsa - for soju and anju
kobawoo - bossam (pork belly wrapped in cabbage amongst other things), also good pajun (korean pancakes)
Corner place - another cold noodle tangy soup (dong chi mi gook so) with some decent DIY bbq. Complements each other perfectly. be careful of the portions of the dong chi mi b/c the large bowl is ginormous
a-won - hwae do bap (mixed sashimi salad rice) - yum
Parks would be the only place i would want to go for bbq. Make sure it's on a weekend where they won't skimp on the banchan
My favorites in addition to some you have mentioned are:
Ham Ji Park (pork ribs, soup of pork neck and potato)
Kabawoo House (Bossam and seafood pancakes).
For the longest time I have been meaning to go to
the Goat Stew/Soup/Fried rice place, CHin Go Gae.
I'm not Korean, and this could be straight blasphemous for all I know, but if I wanted to give someone that just like home feeling, I would probably do it at Beverly Soontofu.
Do Koreans really eat that BBQ kinda stuff at home? It's like, foreigners might associate American food with hamburgers and hot dogs, but when was the last time you ate that at home?
Sorry, nothing much to add other than that... my regular Korean rotation is pretty much the same as yours. Maybe for a taste-of-home experience, you could take her to OB Bear or Prince later on.
While Koreans living in Korea do eat some bbq at home, it's not all that frequent, as they tend to eat a lot of fish and pork.
Most Korean kitchens are small and don't have ovens so you have to pan-fry or use a tabletop cooking stove with grill pan. As such, bulgogi is probably more common than kalbi when cooking at home.
Beef in Korea is expensive, so it usually just cheaper and more convenient to go out to bbq that do it at home.
Many Koreans who come to the States can't believe how cheap beef can be in a non-regulated market and go nuts when they realize it's cheap and easy to do at home. Especially when you live in LA and can grill 90% of the year.
Ditch Soot Bull Jeep for Park's or Shik Do Rak or Cham Sut Gol (in that order)
That tofu place is So Kong Dong and I'd pick that over Beverly
The bibimbap place is Jeon Ju - I'd go to KT plaza over Jeon Ju
Ham Hung for bibim naeng myun
Ho Won Dang in KT Galleria for some precious (expensive) Korean rice cakes
For a quick dessert - there's a truck in the HK market parking lot (or is it the California Market parking lot) that sells ho dduk (sweet rice pancakes with sugary filling)
Or take her to the Koreatown Plaza and let her pick... Chew Young Roo has great comforting Korean buns and Gamja Bawi has a good selection of many Korean classics.