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Ready for Koreatown 201

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After 30-odd years with literally no Korean food in my life, I've spent my first year in L.A. learning the basics of Korean food. I've done bimbimbap and Kyochon and BBQ. I've developed opinions on banchan (more places should serve the tiny dried fish). I feel like I've passed Koreatown 101.

Still, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of Korean food, and find the sheer number of joints in Koreatown to be overwhelming. So, help me out. What's next? What are some dishes and places to take my knowledge to the next level?

(I love spicy food, am adventuresome in my eating and am certainly not a vegetarian. I don't mind spending money but love holes-in-the-wall. I know absolutely no Korean.)

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  1. Did you see this prior thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/662762 ? Also, the poster that recommended reading up on Jonathan Gold's Korean reviews is spot on. J Gold on K food is a good way to get ideas for your next level of dining focusing on this area of the world.

    1. Ham Ji Park for pork ribs and pork-neck potaot soup
      Mapo House for hand made noodles called Delicious Soup with Dough Flakes in Stone Pot and grillled makerel
      The soon tofu places

      1. stews. spicy korean stews with chunks of protein.

        i'd start with the most basic and order kimchi jigae. this is stew # 1 in most korean households, and consists of kimchi and bits of meat, usually pork, and is served with rice and some side dishes. pretty much every hole in the wall serves this and should be no more than $10.

        if you like this, you probably will like most other korean stews, since many have a similar spice impact but with a different meat/veg combo.

        1 Reply
        1. re: smssms

          Budae Jigae at Chunju Han-il Kwan is fantastic. Beware, it's very Korean and can be difficult to navigate without a speaker.

        2. Now that you've mastered the basics, try some Korean comfort food. I love the funky braised mackeral and short ribs at Seongbukdong (see this recent LA Times article by our own Thi Nguyen: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...). There's also the excellent oxtail soup with tongue at Hanbat Shul-Lung-Tang at 5th and Western. You didn't mention soon tofu but that's another whole world of things to try.

          1. I went to Soot Bull Jeep (BBQ) last time I was in town and I thought it was great. Apparently it is one of the few places in L.A. where they use real charcoal. If you go there I can really recommend the short ribs.
            http://www.yelp.com/biz/soot-bull-jee...

            -----
            Soot Bull Jeep
            3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

            1. I gotta say, right now I'm really craving the crab feast at Ondal 2. I think that's a great next step for you.

              Also, soondubu (at Beverly Soon and Sokongdong, both across the street from each other) would be fun.

              Bossam pork at Kobawoo House is fun, too, though they're the exception to a general rule that I have that banchan can be used as a measuring stick to how good the restaurant is: their banchan is terrible but the bossam and also the mung bean pancake is delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Sauce, can you recommend some other places that do a good bindaeduk (mung bean pancake)?