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May 21, 2009 12:27 PM

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
Tahoe Galbi
Beverly Soontofu
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:
Park's BBQ

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

Mr Taster

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    1. Maybe you can take her to Gui Il Bun Ji. It's an AYCE spot and it's $16.99pp since I last went. The food is good and difficult to communicate without taking someone who speaks Korean.

      1. 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.

        5 Replies
        1. re: soniabegonia

          The ho duk truck is in the California Market parking lot!

          1. re: crystaw

            Ho Duk Truck isn't there anymore.

          2. re: soniabegonia

            Park's supposedly has great bibim naeg myun, too. Really curious to try the bibimbap at K-Town plaza. Which place would you suggest in the food court?

            PS: Skip YongSusan.

            1. re: a_and_w

              They have great mul naengmyon... not a huge fan of their bibim naengmyon and I can't put my finger on why.

              1. re: a_and_w

                bibimbap at Gamja Bawi. Be sure to get it in dol sot. it's my go-to for dolsot bibimbap. I'm also fond of their black cod dish (eun dae gu jo rim).

            2. 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.

              2 Replies
              1. re: andytseng

                Koreans do indeed eat bbq at home. The main difference I remember growing up is that all the kalbi we ate was "LA style," meaning rib-eye cuts.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  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.

              2. Hi Taster
                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.