August 14, 2015
Ah yes the age old questions: is food made outside of the motherland legit food? I’m not sure this is actually an age old question…it just felt right to ask it that way…hahahah! So seriously, there are a lot of K-Towns in the world. We even have one in Toronto but the big question is always if the food tastes the same as food found in Korea. It’s not that there is anything wrong with food being fusion or having a twist on it, but it can be difficult for someone to judge whether they like a new food if they try something that isn’t actually legit. I’ve heard many stories of my friends trying Korean food and not enjoying it but when I asked them what was in it, it sounded nothing like actual Korean food! In that case, it seems like an unfair representation of a countries food right? So while in LA, we asked two of our good friends David Choi and Jen to take us to their favourite K-Town food locations.
Jen recommended her favourite 냉면 cold noodle restaurant which turned out to be fantastic. We were very sceptical because I love love love cold noodles, and so I knew I was going to be especially harsh when reviewing it, but this place didn’t screw up anything! You can overcook the delicate noodles, not rinse them long enough in cold water which causes them to clump together, or even just have weak tasting broth, but this place suffered from none of that. Everything was great! If you’re new to eating 냉면 make sure you check out our video on what makes a good 냉면, and if you’re in LA, you can try out the place we went to by going to Yu Chun at
3185 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, 90006.
David took us to a popular drunk food hang out which had a lot to offer on the menu, but in the end it fell pretty flat. David got the pork donkatsu which wasn’t terrible, but the sauce on it was for the Japanese style tonkatsu, and the cutlet itself was a bit too floppy. You can tell because it had a more BBQ style twang to it while Korean donkatsu sauce is more like a gravy. So -10 points for Gryffindor. Simon’s meal wasn’t bad even though the pork had a different taste, but my meal was AWFUL. I didn’t get into it in detail but the huge hunk of kimchi at the bottom of the stone bowl just got all burnt and yucky and there was no crisping of the rice whatsoever. It was like a subpar kimchi fried rice that cost way too much. And it’s weird because Bibimbap is getting to be so trendy now that you’d think they wouldn’t mess that up! David the next time you’re drunk, call Mama Martina and I’ll come to your house and make you an amazing kimchi fried rice with spam, eggs, and crispy seaweed okay? Okay. In the meantime, you can see what Korea’s best bibimbap looks like over here.
Last up was BCD Tofu House in K-Town, which we were the most excited about because we went to their Korean chain in Bucheon for our first meal ever in Korea. Yes: we went to Korea’s version of this LA place. I’m not sure which one came first, but oddly I think that BCD in LA came first and then it became popular in Korea. At least, that’s the vibe I was getting from people. Anyhow, I will say the atmosphere is totally right and the soondubu broth itself was super yummy. We ordered “danger” level spice and I can honestly say I’ve never had soondubu that spicy in Korea before. So that was fantastic! Korean spice is never spicy for us, except on rare occasions.
But when it came to the Ham Cheese one that Simon ordered it was pretty disappointing in that it didn’t come with spam. That’s a serious issue! NO SPAM?! WHAT!?? Also you couldn’t taste any cheese at all. I want chunks of spam and a liquified processed cheese slice in my soondubu if I order the Ham Cheese variety! However, despite this outrageous lack of spam, the broth itself was pretty yummy and I would go there again if I had a hankering. It’s definitely legit Soondubu if you’re looking for it, so don’t be discouraged, but its special offshoot that we’re used to in Korea isn’t the same here. So, overall, good choice David and Jen! Check out BCD Tofu House at 3575 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 90010.
Last up, we made a new friend that night: Arden Cho (who you might know as Kira Yukimura on Teen Wolf) and she gave us a list of her favourite K-Town locations that she wished we had time to try. She was mad at David for recommending Hodori as good Korean food hahahahahah! We couldn’t go to check out these places because by the time we were done eating it was almost 3AM, so we can’t tell you if they’re legit or not, but the death stare Arden gave us makes me think that these places are legit. She recommends Ham Ji Park for pork bone soup at 3407 W 6th St #101c, Los Angeles, 90020. We haven’t been there so we can’t vet it ourselves, but she seemed pretty serious about it, so we’re trusting her!
Lastly, let us know if you have any Korean food restaurants outside of Korea that you’d recommend. We’re always excited when we see people posting pictures of trying Korean food for the first time, so we’d love to keep that going with more recommendations!
And, of course, no Food Video is complete without extra scenes. Check it out!