Eating My Way Through LA: Koreatown

This article is a part of a series documenting all of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles! The link to the first chapter can be found here

As we all know, because I won't stop talking about it, I interned in LA last summer and did a ton of exploring and eating! I could be biased because I am Asian American but my favorite part of Los Angeles is Koreatown! There is delicious food everywhere you turn. You are inundated with options and restaurants, and it can be hard to make the most of your time there. I spent much of my time in LA this past summer eating, so I was able to try many of those restaurants. After many calories and many dollars spent, I was able to compile a list of must visit restaurants for those that have a limited amount of time to get the most out of Koreatown!

Yup Dduk LA 

Yup Dduk is a famous Korean brand of restaurants known for their spicy tteokbokki (stir fried rice cakes) and chicken feet dishes. If you are an adventurous foodie and a lover of spicy Korean food, YOU MUST EAT HERE when you’re in LA. I have eaten a lot of tteokbokki from a lot of places in my life, but so far this is the best that I have had in the United States. The taste, flavor, and quality of the rice cakes is perfect and completely unrivaled. Don’t forget the cheese for the tteokbokki. You will be dreaming about that cheese pull for months on end. Keep in mind that the spice levels are different from normal restaurants. The medium spicy even had me sweating a bit! So, if you’re not good with spicy, stick to the extra mild. The portions are also really huge so bring a friend or two or be prepared to bring home large amounts of leftovers. 

Spicy stir-fried rice cakes with mozzarella cheese 

The Slurpin’ Ramen Bar

This was the best ramen that I had in LA! What was so special about this ramen was the broth that the noodles were drenched in. The broth was absolutely divine. It was uniquely thick, smooth, and savory. It tastes just as creamy and delicious as it looks in the photo below. Also, you can choose the spice level. I recommend getting it just a big spicy. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! The noodles were delicious and tasted perfect with fatty chashu pork, a soft-boiled egg, and laver. Just make sure to check in on Yelp about 30 min – 45 min before your arrival time during the dinner rush. 

Ramen with chasu pork and soft boiled egg  

Hae Jang Chon

This all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurant is so good that I waited in line for 2 and a half hours. There is no way to make a reservation or join the wait ahead of time, but I truly believe that the food was absolutely worth the wait. The variety and quality of meat and side dishes available on the all you can eat menu was better than any other restaurant that I have been to. You have two hours to eat so I recommend coming with an empty stomach to get the most bang for your buck. You absolutely must order galbi (beef short ribs), marinated pork belly, and the small octopus. Also make sure to order a steamed egg, kimchi jeon (kimchi pancake), and soybean paste soup to complement the meat. Most importantly, remember to save room at the end of your meal for their delicious kimchi fried rice. Believe it or not, all of these items are included in the all you can eat menu!

 

BCD Tofu House

I love BCD Tofu House. This is a chain Korean restaurant that you can find in many large cities in the US, but I never get tired of eating here. I always order the seafood soon tofu (soft tofu), and it never disappoints. The tofu is so soft and melts in your mouth. You can customize the spiciness of the tofu soup, but I personally think that the broth is more delicious with a bit of spice. It is so thick, savory, and delicious especially when mixed with the steamed rice. Additionally, the fried fish that comes before your entrée is served is to die for. It is perfectly fried and a perfect start to your spicy meal. 

Soft tofu soup with side dishes