LA Weekly: Koreatown's Top 40

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      A really great article by Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Gold on the best restaurants and bars in Koreatown. I know it’s old (2004), but I was surprised at the depth of his knowledge of Korean food, the entertaining way he writes about it, and his startlingly original puns:

      His intro to a bibimbap restaurant packs more commentary and knowledge into a few sentences than most bloggers get in to a whole week:

      Bibimbap, a dish of rice mixed at the table with vegetables, chile paste and perhaps a fried egg, is reputed to be the Korean staple most suited to the Western palate, the dish that may someday be as popular among Californians as the pizza or the teriyaki stick. Yet some of the worst Asian meals I have ever eaten have come from Koreatown bibimbap specialists, including the mall restaurant whose 20-item bibimbap tasted like leftovers scraped from a fast-food salad bar, and a popular bibimbap chain whose gooey specialty proved uniquely inedible. The kitchen-sink aspect of the dish tends to play into the worst tendencies of a particular type of cook. But in the right restaurant, bibimbap can be fairly spectacular, the flavors of the vegetables heightened and melded by the heat of the chile paste, the different intensities of crunch becoming almost contrapuntal under the teeth.

      The restaurants are almost besides the point.

      Some of the spots he writes about have closed, but many of these places still exist. Someone has mapped them all out in Google maps, if you want to follow along:

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