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Okay folks, I’ve decided to take the plunge ... Korean food. Where to begin?

It's not like I've been avoiding Korean cuisine but it's not something I've come across during my meanderings here in the SF Valley.

Sure, I’ve read about it, been to A-Frame, hit the Kogi Truck and am fairly certain I’ll totally love it but what do I need to know (does and don'ts), which LA restaurants do I need to visit and what should I order? I am in your capable hands.

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  1. Park's BBQ is wonderful. Great grilled meats Korean style. Wonderful staff that will help you order and cook the food at your table. Not only some of the best cuts of meat in Los Angeles but also one of the best restaurants in our city.. Their boneless short ribs are incredible. Food critic Jonathan Gold said of the short ribs... " the marinated galbi — short ribs, L.A.'s own signature cut — is magnificent here, the makings of a meat coma." A great place to dive in to some delicious Korean food for the first time. Open late on weekends.

    http://www.parksbbq.com/

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    Park's BBQ
    955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

    2 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      +1 on Parks. And they are very kid friendly there.

      1. re: Phurstluv

        ...and they will assist you with everything...just ask!
        +2 for Parks!

    2. korean bbq is the most popular style of korean food but they types of korean food is pretty vast and most korean restaurants specialize in one item. with that said, i think midtown lunch does a good job of going to a variety of korean restaurants as does j. gold.

      parks is a good choice if you want bbq but i'd recommend trying many more places such as kobawoo, yu chun, sokongdong, etc...+

      1. If you're willing to try Korean tofu stew (soondubu chigae), my vote is for Beverly Tofu on near Olympic and Vermont.

        4 Replies
        1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

          Ooh, I'm willing to try Korean tofu stew.

          If I just walk into Beverly Tofu and order soondubu chigae, am I going to get the real deal? Or will I need to do some convincing in order to not get whited?

          Anything else I should order there?

          1. re: Bjartmarr

            There's a fairly diverse clientele that visits the place. The only way I would think you'll get "whited" is maybe spice levels; I usually order the spiciest anyway. They are very consistent and offer a great array of banchan (Korean side dishes).

            I usually just get one of the tofu stews; there's 10 different types I believe. If I'm really hungry, I get one of the combos which combines a smaller serving of soon dubu with a grilled meat like galbi(short ribs), bulgogi(sliced beef) or my personal favorite, whole grilled squid. Their bibimbap (mixed vegetable and meat bowl with rice) isn't bad either.

            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

              I'd like to add to your comment by saying they've somewhat recently added the dolsot bibimbap (with the hot stone bowl). Some places don't do this right-- either the rice is too wet or the bowl isn't hot enough to ensure that the bottom layer of rice gets a nice crispy brownness. But both of the times I've ordered it at Beverly it's been perfect.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                I did not notice that the last time I was there. Perhaps a trip in the near future is in the works...

        2. A-Frame and Kogi count as Korean? Really?

          But whatever.

          For BBQ I would *start* with Soot Bull Jeep then work your way up to Park's and Don Dae Gam.

          For noodles, esp. kalgooksoo, go to MIari or Olympic Noodle or Doma where you can get some good mandu as well.

          Then to top it off go to The Prince or Masan for sannakji (the latter is probably a better choice).

          6 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            ips- I don't count them as Korean but there's acknowledgement of significant Korean influence. Through those brief tastes, I realized I hadn't experienced the cuisine in any significant, respectable way.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Disagree with the rec for Soot Bull Jeep; I took my family once and they were dissapointed in the quality of their banchan.

              For home cooking, try this place:

              Seong Buk Dong
              3303 West 6th Street
              Los Angeles, CA 90020-2202
              (213) 738-8977

              For some great pork ribs, you can't go wrong with:

              Ham Ji Park
              4135 West Pico Boulevard,
              Los Angeles, CA 90019
              (323) 733-3635 () ‎

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

              Seong Buk Dong
              3303 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

              Ham Ji Park
              3407 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

              1. re: ChewUrFood

                Soot Bull Jeep was my very first experience with Korean food. I knew nothing about it when I stumbled in, and it began my decade-long love affair with the cuisine.

                It doesn't matter that Soot Bull Jeep's panchan are not up to snuff with others in LA. (There's plenty of time for Steve to explore all the varieties and come to his own conclusions about which ones he likes best).

                With SBJ's gruff service, wonderful marinades, and real lump charcoal, it's a decidedly delicious trial by fire (and smoke) and an experience well worth building upon as Steve gains exposure to and learns more about this fine, unique cuisine.

                Mr Taster

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

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    I love the atmosphere there, you feel like you are at a backyard korean BBQ and end up smelling like smoke. It's fun introduction to Korean food.

                  2. re: ChewUrFood

                    I just went to Seong Buk Dong last night... and wow was it good! I've had a lot of Korean bbq and soontofu but haven't really branched out beyond what's available at those types of restaurants. The waitress was very patient with us (none of us spoke Korean) and gave us recommendations on what to order. Their steamed short ribs (galbi jim) were amazingly tender and delicious. That and the braised mackerel are their 2 most popular dishes.

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                    Seong Buk Dong
                    3303 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                1. If you want a big and free, no valet lot and good Korean BBQ (I'm partial to their bulgogi and the spicy pork myself) with maybe some glass noodles stir fried with vegetables and beef (chap jae) then I recommend Dong il Jang on 8th Street just east of Western about 3 blocks.

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                  Dong Il Jang Restaurant
                  3455 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005