alright i am going to be honest i have never had korean food before but i am ready to venture out and explore the world of korean food. where do people recommend i start off and what sort of dishes should i get? thanks!
hi- i'm korean! :)
1) the corner place (james m wood): they're famous for their dongchimi gooksoo- chilled noodles. they use a secret recipe that only the chef- not even teh restaurant owners- know. get that with bbq (kalbi and bulgogi)
2) BCD soondubu: it's like a spicy tofu soup. they're open 24 hours. you can get that paired with kalbi
3) chosun kalbi: a korean bbq place in a kinduv an upscale place.
4) manna: all you can eat korean bbq for like $15. pretty good quality meat for an excellent price. famous for their "ddukbossam"- you wrap the meat in these little ricecake patty thingies.
5) koreatown plaza food court: yeah, it's a food court but it's a good starting point with lots of pictures and small-ish portions to try different things.
6) hodori or nagwon: popular 24 hour places that also show pictures and serve more home-cooking type dishes like omelette rice, kimchi fried rice, and ddukboki (spicy rice cake).
7) olympic kalgoogsu: or i think it's called olympic noodle. famous for their knife cut noodles.
8) seoul haegwon (on olympic): best dolsot bibimbap i've had. rice, veggies, and meat cooked in a hot stone pot. their other dishes are quite good, esp their lunch specials.
9) mr coffee: great place for dessert. try their patbingsoo, aka "shaved ice" with different toppings
such as ice cream, rice cake, and red bean.
10) you should definitely try chinese-korean food at some point. china gate is pretty good (and another one with a pond in the front, but i can't remember the name) koreans call it chinese food but chinese call it korean food...but mostly korean food eat it. you should order chachangmyun (noodle dish), sweet fried pork (ttangsuyook), jjampong (seafood soup)
ok, that should be good for now. sorry, i'm not very good with addresses and stuff.
sorry, i'm not too familiar with that area. but as far as i know, good korean restaurants tend to cluster around either ktown or garden grove. :) i can't believe not one good korean restaurant has yet to take hold of west la- there is a huge market for korean american yuppies with too much money and home cooking cravings.
Just had lunch at Olympic Noodle. Yum. No sign in English, though. The sign is red with yellow letters, and it's on Olympic just west of Norton.
I also second Corner Place (Gil Mok in Korean, and I'm not sure they have a sign in English), which I believe is at James Wood and Westmoreland. They also have delicious house-made pickled peppers in a sweet soy-based sauce.
BCD is notable mainly for its convenience at odd hours. The best soontubu, I think, is at So Kong Dong - in the same minimall as Jeon Ju, on the SW side of Olympic and Vermont.
Seoul Haegwon sounds really good, I haven't found a place I like for dolsot bibimbap.
I recommend two places. First there's Da Rae Oak, which is in my opinion by far the best Korean restaurant in the city. Really nice people too. It's on Western a block or two south of Olympic. Then there's Sa Rit Gol, often mentioned here for its interesting spread of banchan (little appetizers that come for free with most entrees), nearby on Olympic. More of a rustic vibe. Either way, proceed afterward to the gleeming newish Koreatown Galleria, where there is a cool sweet shop and a big Korean supermarket on the first floor.
Try Chosun Galbi on Olympic just West of Western.
Go with 4 people if you can.
Get 2 Bul go gi (marinated beef), 1 Beef tongue and 2 Gal bi (short ribs) With the short ribs, take the lettuce and place some rice, some onion salad, some miso paste and some meat and wrap it all up like a fajita thing.
Order Pa Jyang (Sp?) (seafood pancake thing) soy dipping sauce provided.
Lastly, get the Dol sot Pibimbap? It's this sizzling rice dish that comes in a stone pot. They'll mix it up for you at the table. Fantastic!
That should be pretty basic and good for your first dining experience. I suggest this place bc it's pretty clean, the servers aren't too mean if you're not Korean and most speak some English. There are also English descriptions next to the menu so you should be able to navigate ok. Also, the servers pretty much do everything for you as far as cooking. Just watch the meat so it doesn't get overcooked. Maybe a little pricier than other places but if you've never had Korean food, this is the most comfortable place I can think of for the first timer. I'd suggest other places after you get yourself acclimated to the basics.
And last thing. Whatever you do, don't get any chicken! It'd be like going to a sushi bar and ordering chicken teriyaki. Just don't do it.
Anyway, I've blabbed on long enough. Bored with not much to do on MLK day at work you know...
Here is a link to my post this morning regarding having dinner last night at Chosun Galbee on Olympic one block west of Western Ave.
For the 3 entrees we had for 3 people, we left food as we were stuffed. If you order a soup, you become filled sooner, yet it was the best of the 3 entrees ordered in my estimation. Would order it again.
Most people who are unfamiliar with Korean food (and love meat) go for Korean barbecue. The places already mentioned are good; if you want something a bit more casual and authentic, try Soot Bull Jeep (3136 W. Eighth St). You'll also be able to experience "panchan," which are little side dishes, and get an idea of Korean flavors.
If you can't round up a posse for bbq, go for bi bim bap - it's just a bowl of rice topped with meat and vegetables. You add chile paste to your taste and, if you like, an egg which may come raw or fried. I'm still looking for my favorite place, but a lot of people like Jeon Ju (on Olympic at Vermont, SW side), which serves the "dol sot" version - in a hot stone pot that crisps the rice.
Someone else mentioned Ktown Plaza, I think; either that mall or the one at Koreatown Galleria would be a good place to just wander around and check out the food-court options, which span a variety of styles. I like the cold noodles (naeng myun) at Kang Seo Myun Oak. Both malls are at Olympic and Western - the Plaza is a bit north of Olympic, I think.
Another good "beginner's" place is Kobawoo, on Vermont south of Wilshire. Their food is good (especially the "bossam" pork, which you eat as sort of a lettuce wrap), and the menu is in English and Korean, with pictures.
for a beginner i'd recommend these dishes:
black goat stew at chin goo gae on 8th and berendo (sort of a substitute for dog meat that one cant get in LA, which by the way is quite delicious, especially while eating it on a mountaintop in korea)
sun dae at any supermarket(blood sausage - like korean morcilla but with jap chae noodles)
mudfish soup place on pico and fourth, no name on sign
pork neck bone spicy soup (gamja tang) on 7th and shatto no english name, korean name "no da ji"
silk worm cocoons (bun dae gi) at any of the pubs (po jang ma cha's)
live octopus at a korean owned seafood/sushi restaurant
cooked octopus at "my secret recipe"
okay im kidding, but i actually do love all these dishes. go get yourself some galbi and a dolsut bibimbap from chosun galbi maybe even though in a cold noodle (naeng myun) with not too much vinegar.
re: Mr. Bokum
i think there are around 3 or 4 things on the menu.
its probably the number one, or at least the thing that everyone orders. its on the north side of the street in a mini mall (surprise surprise...) i believe theres some louisiana seafood place in the same mall. close to the elbow of the mini mall.
the mudfish stew is quite a funky affair. and there are some condiments that you throw in as well. its got a flavor that i've never encountered in any other korean dish. dont exactly know how to explain it.