Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

The 5-plus best Korean restaurants in LA

by KPCC staff | Take Two®

Banchan, small side dishes in Korean cuisine. Wikimedia Commons

What should you look for in a good Korean restaurant? Matthew Kang knows. He grew up in Koreatown, and he's put together an official list of the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles. He spoke to "Take Two" co-host Alex Cohen about his picks and why you should be eating more banchan.

Check out some of his favorites: 

1. The best Korean restaurant in L.A. is worthy as his last meal

The Corner Place: Kang has been eating here since he was a baby, and it's his favorite Korean restaurant in L.A. The BBQ is delicious, but it's the dong chi mi gook soo that keeps him coming back. The cold noodles in the fermented vegetable broth is meant to be slurped in conjunction with the hot rice, hot meat and savory banchan. Matthew describes the noodles as cold, refreshing, tangy and sweet. Originally from North Korea, he hasn't found the dish done as well anywhere else.

2. The best banchan

Soban Korean Restaurant: Their focus is seafood, but they also have some of the best banchan in the city. Other suggestions:

  • Kobawoo House: Get the pork belly and some of the most piquant and delicious kimchee in L.A.
  • Jun Won: Their banchan is so sought after that this mom-and-pop shop has a separate business that just serves banchan.

3. The next big trend in L.A. Korean food

It's table-top shellfish cooking. There are fire pits in the middle of the table on which you can throw shellfish to cook. For that, Matthew recommends Jae Bu Do.

4. Korean comfort food to celebrate the new year

It's all about the Korean comfort food for the New Year's. Ma Dang Gook Soo and Myung Dong Kyoja both serve tteokguk, a traditional Korean dish eaten to celebrate the new year. It's small slivers of rice cakes in an anchovy or beef broth with dumplings. If you do have to satisfy your late night munchies craving, Myung Dong Kyoja is open until 4 in the morning.

5. An ambiance straight out of the old country

Kang Ho Dong Baek Jeong: Top to bottom, some of the best Korean BBQ he's had. Great meat and an ambiance lifted straight out of Korea.

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