Where to go for Korean food & kitchenware in Koreatown, L.A.

By Maangchi

I’m in L.A. visiting YouTube this week, so I spent a few days beforehand exploring Koreatown. I’ve been to Los Angeles many times but never spent much time trying the food in Koreatown.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, to find such a wide variety of delicious Korean food! I had a really great time! I’ll be back in LA in early November and I’ll have a potluck party with my readers at that time. If you want to join, keep watching my website, or follow me on Facebook for the announcement and signup.

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Some people asked me to report back on the good places that I found. Usually I don’t recommend Korean restaurants because I really don’t eat out very often: I prefer to make food at home. Also, my opinion of what makes a good restaurant seems to be different than other people’s, especially in New York.

But many people seem to be interested in LA’s Koreatown, so here’s my list. If you go there, these are some places that you gotta try. And if you have any more recommendations please let me know in the comments.

 

Yu Chun Chic Naeng Myun
3185 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Many people recommended this place to me, and it was very busy – every table was full. They have their own style of naengmyeon, made with Korean herbs, which is really delicious. I liked the bibimnaengmyeon the best.

The best part might be the hot meat broth they keep in big tanks in the back – you just serve yourself and take as much as you like. It’s really savory and addicting, but I’m pretty sure they use MSG. What else can I do? It’s ok once in a while. ; )

naengmyeon

yucheon chiknaengmyeon

“yum yum!” : )

 

Palsaik Samgyupsal Korean BBQ (Palsaik grilled porkbelly)
863 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005

This samgyeopsal place was recommended to me by one of my readers on Facebook and it’s awesome! Very very high quality and delicious.

samgyeopsal

It was surprising to me because I’d never seen this kind of presentation before, or tasted flavored samgyeopsal before. Each strip of pork was pressed and tender and had a different flavour – ginseng, herbal, spicy, etc. It was a lot of fun to try the different kinds, and they were all really good! I had a sampler, which was 8 different slabs of samgyeopsal for $45 and good for 3 people.

I really wanted to make a ssam wrap with their samgyeopsal, but they didn’t provide big lettuce leaves. They had shredded salad, garlic, and ssamjang, but no lettuce!

grilled-porkbelly

 

Mandarin House
3074 W 8th St (in Koreatown Plaza)
Los Angeles, CA 90005

This place is in the lower level of the Koreatown Plaza and is well known for it’s jjajjangmyeon and tangsuyuk. People line up waiting for it.

jinheunggak

The owner, calling out “number 5!” Customer number five! To the people waiting.

tangsuyuk

The jjajangmyeon was really good, but not fantastic. I sill prefer my own recipe. But their tangsuyuk was super-tasty and I’m still craving it. I’m going to experiment at home and see if I can figure out how they made such crispy and chewy batter. I’ll let you know if I can do it!

 

Lotte Kitchen World
982 S. Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006

If you are looking for Korean cooking utensils and kitchenware (like ttukbaegi) this is the first place you should come. It’s a restaurant supply store, so all the restaurant owners shop here. It’s cheap and high quality. The owner speaks English and is very nice.

I bought a shabu shabu pot that I’ll bring all the way back to New York!

kitchenworld

 

T Equals Fish 
301 S Western Ave
Ste 201
Los Angeles, CA 90020

I had a major sashimi feast here. The fish was super fresh, the service was friendly and warm, and I’ve never seen sea urchin this big!

The restaurant offers a kind of set menu where you choose the main fish you want and the size of your party. I had a large halibut platter which was more than enough for 4 people. There are so many side dishes and appetizers that by the time the halibut came out we were pretty full!

This restaurant is not cheap, but if you love seafood it’s totally worth it.

raw fish

side dishes: pickled mackerel and spicy salad with raw fish

hoe

sea urchins, sea squirt, oysters, abalone, sea cucumber, eel…

rawfish

Sliced raw halibut

sea-urchine

Bibimbap, made with sea urchin

 

BCD Tofu House
869 S Western Ave #2
Los Angeles, CA 90005

This place was recommended to me by many people and is well known for soondubu. It’s part of a chain, and I’ve been to BCD in New York and Toronto, but this one has the best soondubu. They also give each customer one fried corvina as a side dish, which was a nice touch.

The stew is served hot and bubbling to your table, and they also make nurungi soup from your rice as dessert. Totally delicious and satisfying!

bcdsoondubu

soondubu jjigae

Hot and bubbling!

fan

What a surprise! I met my readers Alina Keum and Howie Keum in the tofu restaurant. They are living in Hong Kong and traveling to LA. Alina said: “I always watch your videos with my Korean friends and make delicious Korean dishes!” You can imagine what an exciting moment this was for me.  : )

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20 Comments:

  1. zorazen Portland joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    I would love to join the meetup in November. Please check out Jeonju, as it’s my favorite restaurant in LA. It’s in a little mall on the corner of Olympic and New Hampshire, across from Beverly Soon Tofu, another must-eat place.

  2. Tifa Los Angeles, CA joined 11/12 & has 1 comment

    I’m really looking forward to your next visit to L.A!

  3. mrscashflow South Bay, CA joined 5/13 & has 4 comments

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip to my city ;-) I really enjoyed your tour and especially where I can find a nice shabu shabu pot I purchased on online size for 2
    but I want a bigger one when we have more guest. I will go stopping by Lotte Kitchen World.

    Since I posted last, I proudly own two dome Korean grilling plate, one square grilling plate, 3 table top stoves, and 2 nice size earth bowls. We cooked Samgyeopsal for Labor Day it was a hit! We decided to repeat for our tailgate next Monday evening.

    Thank you….you are my go to awesome Korean Chef and information guide, that’s making me a great Korean cook! Korean grilling is so much fun with 2 people or a group, my husband loves the recipes and presentation I didn’t have to request for the last two Korean grilling plates thanks to you ;-D love it!! Okay…got to go surfing for another one of your big flavor dish….Thanks for coming to LA!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      Samgyeopsal gui (Grilled pork belly) on Labor Day! It sounds so fun! I’m very happy to hear that it was a big hit! Congratulations!

      If you want to add more kitchenware stores, please leave them in the comment box so other people can find out about them.

  4. ThomPatrick Seattle joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    Can’t wait for my trip to LA next month, I’m gonna eat my way through Koreatown ;)

  5. mhc121 PA joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi. From my experience & own taste, the Mandarin House in K-town plaza is best for their jjampong. For Jjajangmyun, I would recommend the K-town Galleria chinese food court place (forgot the name) on Olympic & Western. For tangsuyuk, my preference is Young King on Olympic.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      I was there Mandarin house with my mom. She was going to order jjamppong but I said it would be too much food for us. : ) Next time, I will try it out! ok, Jjajangmyeon in Galleria food court! I should remember it. Thank you so much for the suggestions. Your suggestions help not only me but also all those who love to choose best places in LA.

  6. alikim Alhambra, CA joined 9/11 & has 1 comment

    I live very close to LA. Lived my childhood there.
    We are always looking for good Korean sashimi restaurant.

    I have heard of T Equals Fish. Looks really good. If you don’t mind, can you tell me how much was the sashimi set you ate? My husband loves uni and it looks so good. If the price if right, I have to try it. Thank you

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      I don’t mind at all. It costs about $170.00, and including tips, it will cost about $200. The amount of food they serve is enough for more than 4-5 people.

  7. Souavarat Houston, Texas joined 9/10 & has 45 comments

    All of the food looks so delicious! I am so jealous of you right now Maangchi. The tangsuyuk look so yummy, if you figure out the crispy and chewy batter please show us; and the bibimbap sea urchin looks just fantastic! I am wondering what will you be doing with a shabu shabu pot back in New York??? I can only guess but I hope my guess is that it will involve a new video soon :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      yeah I still think about the tangsuyuk! Cheap and very delicious! “I am wondering what will you be doing with a shabu shabu pot back in New York” haha, yes, let’s make shabu shabu video! It may take some time because I filmed a bunch of other recipe videos at YouTube Space LA. Stay tuned!

  8. LolaMatsubara California joined 8/13 & has 15 comments

    When you go to LA Korea Town again, I HIGHLY recommend the restaurant called, “Castle BBQ.” For $10 a person, you get unlimited all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. They bring out your choice of different meat and you cookie yourself in the middle of the table. It also includes side dishes and soondubu. -Lola

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      ok Castle BBQ, I will keep it in mind. $10 a person? It’s super cheap! I found the info about the restaurant on the internet.
      Castle BBQ
      Korean, Barbecue
      473 N Western Ave Ste 1, Los Angeles 90004
      (At Maplewood Ave)
      Phone: (323) 467-3813

      • queenjane joined 6/10 & has 2 comments

        I don’t want to be mean, but Castle BBQ is not very good at all. $10 is cheap, but there’s a reason why it’s $10. :) You’ll never see any Koreans eat at that restaurant… it’s usually just Americans. Palsaik is very popular and so is Kang Hodong Baek Jeong. Soowon Galbi has good yang nyum galbi and Park’s BBQ has really good galbi tang. If you want all you can eat, Choi Ga Nae is okay and Woo Gook is more expensive, but gives you seafood options. I personally prefer Young King (young kyung) for jja jang myun in LA, but I’ve had better in Korea. :P

        • Kendraha Marina Del Rey joined 3/15 & has 1 comment

          Hi queenjane. I agree with your suggestions! I see you made comments about you have had better in Korea…?? Can you please help with suggestions for Korea? I am going to Seoul for 3 days in April23-26 ’15. I am Korean but I do not speak Korean, lost it. I have not been back since I left in ’86. Any other suggestions to to eat and do would be great!!! :)

          • sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 200 comments

            Hi Kendraha,

            It’s five years that we’ve been to Korea, and some of our favorite places may not exist anymore, but here is some general advice:

            Do you read Korean? If not: It takes 20-30 minutes max to learn Hangul. That way, you’ll understand the menu on the wall.
            Picking the best places to eat: Just follow the Korean business-people around noon …
            Restaurants with the national flower are expensive, but not better than the small places around the corner or across the street.
            Gimbap-places are good and cheap.
            And don’t miss the street-vendors and the street-“restaurants” at the markets in the evening and at night!

            But: Get a guide. It’s really tough for a Korean not speaking the language. And learn the manners if you don’t know them yet.

            I remember a young Korean from the USA who left his chop-sticks stuck in a bowl of rice, and his female Korean guide had not the heart to tell him that that’s only for the deceased…
            I told him, he was very thankful and I could see that she was relieved.

            Bye, Sanne.

  9. thomashsu NYC joined 12/10 & has 6 comments

    I’ve been in LA Koreatown this summer – I wish I had run into you! The korean food here is unrivalled anywhere in the world – except Korea itself, and some people say it’s even better than Korea with the abundance of fresh, cheap produce, meat and fish available to the restaurants here. Having lived in NY and Queens for many years, I can say the korean food here is much much better. The korean food within a 10 minute walk of where I’m staying beats all of NY and flushing, and I don’t even live in the real heart of Koreatown.

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