Los Angeles is truly a culinary mecca. Whether you want to grab sushi flown first class from Japan or fries loaded with every ingredient found in a hamburger, any appetite can be satiated, any craving filled. I live in Westwood, and within a 10-minute driving range I can get either Toro hand rolls or Chic-fil-a; the possibilities are truly endless. Westwood is great and all, but in between the Postmates deliveries and the occasional green juices my girlfriend tells me to get, I feel a deep longing for something more substantial. Something that hails from the motherland halfway across the globe. Korean Food.
Even though I’ve tried the gamut of foods (I regularly take Trader Joe’s frozen Orange Chicken and wrap it in a tortilla, it’s called a Chinese finger trap), I still crave Korean food almost on weekly basis. Now I know that you guys know a couple spots already, but let me introduce you to my personal favorites where the line doesn’t look like the 405 and the air thick with meat sweats and smells of brisket. KBBQ is Korean Food, but there’s way more than just meat on a grill.
Now, I know what you’re saying—you’ve heard of Oo-kook before, yes yes. However, the lunch menu is what I’m trying to focus on. $23.99 for AYCE (all you can eat), with angus beef that’s better than most of the shops in KTown. A truly industrial producer of KBBQ, this multi-story duplex does get busy but is a solid choice if you tried your luck at Bakjung and saw that the line was dumb long.
Another high-end KBBQ location, Quarters has fire beef and it would be a travesty if I didn’t include the cheese fondue involved. Very heavy stuff over here. Also, the bar-restaurant concept is great if you like drinking beer during your meals, but the real ones know that soju is the ideal drink of choice since carbonation takes space away for more meat.
- Dan Sung Sa
Now we’re moving on to more obscure spots, but you gotta risk it to take the biscuit (or the brisket skewers in this case). One of the few places in KTown that’s open past 1am, this place is loud and it’s smoky. This is a perfect place to enter drunk and leave even drunker and fuller. For all my caucasian friends, the spicy chicken is actually spicy, eat at your own risk.
- Yang San Bak
There are moments in time that change the course of history. The triangle offense. Sliced bread. The Kimchi Moat. The Kimchi Moat is truly some next level shit, but it also provides a level of danger since you risk spilling your meat into that salty lava. However, the moat adds a level of complexity and depth to the kimchi without drying it out, making this spot a definite go to for those that are really about that fermentation life. Fermentation gang we out here.
- Ahgassi Gopchang
Gopchang is Korean for “intestine,” which I know is a freaky concept. I was scared when I first tried it too. However, this place is one of the best spots for it, AND they also have a great selection of meat as well. Servers cook for you, so you can have your hands free to drink, make gestures with your hands (it’s pretty loud in there), and drink more. This is a location I consider expert level, so be prepared.