For the nominal price of $17.99 per person, Hae Jang Chon provided my cousins, The Astronomer, and me with an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue feast that was so stupendous that it left our clothes and pores imbued with smoke and meat for days.
According to the restaurant’s website, the stone grill is ”nature’s best cooking surface.” It “produces various healthy minerals,” “absorbs and decomposes heavy metal ions,” and best of all, “absorbs excessive oil to bring out the exquisite taste of pork.” I don’t know if any of these claims are actually true, but I am sold nevertheless.
Another one of the restaurant’s notable touches was the homey tablescape that was neatly set before we were seated. Each place setting included an array of condiments in addition to silverware and plates. I went through two dishes of the fermented bean paste during the meal because meat just tastes better with a hit of salty funk.
Also on hand for garnishing were slick rice papers, slices of daikon radish, a romaine salad, and two types of kimchi. We took advantage of the unlimited supply of rice papers, because aside from fermented bean taste, nothing pairs better with sizzling hot meat than cool rice papers.
The banchan spread wasn’t extensive, but the fish cakes, potato salad, sesame-marinated greens, and julienned radish were fine enough additions to our meaty meal.
To keep diners from over-ordering and overwhelming staffers, the restaurant limits each table to three types of meat from the 19 available per order. For round one, we chose beef tongue, bulgogi, and thick slices of “Canadian Fresh Pork Belly.”
The beef tongue was a hit with me, while the sweet and savory bulgogi was a crowd-pleaser. In addition to the proteins, our waiter slapped a kimchi pancake on to the grill. Grease-soaked spicy pancake? Yes, please.
Round two brought fiery red barbecue pork, chewy honeycomb tripe, and little baby octopi. The octopus wasn’t the freshest, thus making it the sole loser of the trio.
We selected Black Angus beef brisket, marinated beef short ribs, and pork shoulder for round three. Even though all of the meats more or less tasted the same by this point in the meal, I couldn’t stop the deliciously addicting cycle of rice paper, plus crisp green salad, plus fermented bean paste, plus tender meat. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
There might’ve been a fourth and quite possibly a fifth round of grilling, but I was too high on meat fumes to photograph them.
After we completed the protein portion of the meal, our waiter made some kimchi fried rice in the dredges of our meat drippings. All that was missing was a fried egg on top.
And finally, we were treated to steaming bowls of bean paste soup with soft cubes of tofu and zucchini.
I like the way they work it at Hae Jang Chon. Aside from serving very good food in an efficient and friendly manner, they create an ambiance that feels festive and fun. The next time Cousin Timmy needs a Korean barbecue fix, we’re coming back for more.
Hae Jang Chon
3821 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020
There’s more to eat in Koreatown on Gastronomy:
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- Chicken Day – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Don Dae Gam – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- DonDay – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Dwit Gol Mok (DGM) – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Fat Fish – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Hite Kwang-Jang – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
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- Jeon Ju Restaurant – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Kobawoo House – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- KyoChon – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Miljip House of Noodles – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Mirak – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- OB Bear – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Shoubo Izakaya – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Tahoe Galbi Restaurant – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
- Tofu Village – Los Angeles (Koreatown)