While we’re on the topic of Koreatown, let’s discuss the awesomeness of Mapo Kkak Doo Gee!
I was first introduced to this gem while researching The Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles a few years back. In a neighborhood full of stellar restaurants, I keep returning here time and again for the dependably delicious cooking.
As you can likely deduce from the facade, Mapo Kkak Doo Gee is a no-frills kind of place. The menu features homey Korean fare, and seats are easy to come by at both lunch and dinner.
One of the perks of dining in Koreatown is the free and refillable banchan served alongside every meal. While it’s always nice to receive something for nothing, it’s rarely the case that these pickled and marinated nibbles are as memorable as the main course. At Mapo, however, the banchan are so remarkably good that my chopsticks can’t help but reach for more.
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POT is addictive. After my first hit last Tuesday night, I was jonesing for more this past weekend. Two visits in less than the span of a week, and the restaurant isn’t even officially open yet! Like I said, POT is addictive.
Tucked inside The Line Hotel in Koreatown, POT is the latest, greatest restaurant from Chef Roy Choi.
After years of innovating bold flavor mash-ups aboard the Kogi Truck and at Chego, A-Frame, and Sunny Spot, Roy is drawing upon the traditional dishes that he grew up eating at home, as well as at his parents’ now-closed restaurant Silver Garden, at POT.
Koreatown and Korean food through the eyes of an American with Korean blood.
Printed on tabloid-size newspaper, the menu here is spectacular both in form and function. There are plenty of signature hotpots, of course, as well “Other Things” and “Other Other Things” to round out a proper K-Town feast. Come here with a crowd that likes to share and doesn’t mind a whole lot of double dipping.
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Best known for its bountiful banchan and ganjang gaejang (marinated raw crab), Soban has been on my list of Koreatown haunts to test drive for quite some time. The Astronomer and I, along with our friends Diep and Tien, finally came in for dinner a few weeks back. It was about time.
As soon as we made our selections from the plastic-bound menu, three dishes for four persons, a parade of banchan made its way to our table. While the spread was as plentiful as anticipated, the contents left a lot to be desired.
Mostly comprised of stalks, stems, and leafy greens, the banchan tasted muted somehow, missing the punchy flavors of fermentation and spice that I was really looking forward to. We didn’t request seconds of any of ‘em, not even the pancake. For me, the best banchan in town has got to be at Mapo Kkak Doo Gee.
The whole raw crab marinated in herb-infused soy sauce arrived soon after. It smelled so strongly of the sea that this table full of seafood lovers was a little hesitant to dig in. Now, that is a first.
The crab’s jellied flesh was pretty awesome, but the marinade’s bitter tones and the crab’s questionable freshness kept all swoonage in check. Our table was crestfallen, to say the least.
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In honor of the Olympic Games, I present to you Olympic Noodle: the homiest of restaurants serving the homiest of foods.
In addition to notable noodles and delightful dumplings, Olympic Noodle is home to the best kimchi I’ve ever tasted. While I’d normally be pretty bummed with just one lowly radish banchan, the kimchi’s unparalleled excellence made up for it. So crisp, so well balanced, so moreish.
The Astronomer and I were joined by our friend Alex this afternoon, which meant we could order three dishes—the portions here are huge. Fresh-from-the-steamer mandu was the first to arrive.
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