I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Move over, Gamja Bawi July 16, 2007

I’ll be the first to admit that bibimbap without hot sauce can potentially be kind of bland. However, since I don’t eat spicy food (yes, yes, and I’m a kblogger, what can I say?), I always eat my bibimbap without hot sauce. The advantage to doing this is that you get a better chance to taste the various flavors of the vegetables and meat and that delicious crispy rice from the bottom of the stone pot (I have yet to try non-dolsot bibimbap, the kind out of a stone pot).

So yesterday we moseyed (well, okay, we drove) over to Jeon Ju, which is located on Olympic near Vermont. I initially drove into the wrong parking lot, where I chatted up a security guard (or tried to, although his English was about as good as my Korean, i.e. rudimentary) who tried to point me toward Hodori. But I finally gave up and found Jeon Ju on my own (it was in the next shopping center over). It’s a moderate-sized restaurant, nothing fancy, but you don’t go there for the ambiance. You go for the bibimbap!

Both of us ordered the kalbi dolsot bibimbap, and we also ordered a smoked fish of some sort, I forget what it was exactly. We had a hard time getting across to the server that we wanted two orders of the bibimbap in addition to the fish. I totally could’ve explained it in broken Korean, but I chickened out. Why am I so shy about this language stuff? Maybe I need to have a couple drinks to loosen up my tongue before I walk into a Korean locale. That might take care of the problem.

Anyway, back to the bibimbap. It was huge and had the works: bean sprouts, kimchee, egg on top, mushrooms, I think some other veggies, and of course the kalbi (beef), which had a delicious kind of smoky, meaty flavor (don’t anyone dare say, “duh, it’s meat”) but didn’t overpower the rest of the dish at all. I was initially a little wary of the kimchee since, as mentioned above, I don’t do spicy, but it had been cooked, so it was mild. I thought there was more meat than we got at Gamja Bawi (that’s the bibimbap place in the Koreatown Plaza food court), plus nobody tried to make us order what they thought non-Koreans should order! Always a plus! (I blogged about my Gamja Bawi experience here.)

The panchan were okay. There was some delicious silky tofu and some yummy kimchee pancakes (slightly spicy, but tolerable). Pretty much everything else was so red with spices that I figured I’d better avoid it. We also got radish soup and kelp soup. I had been craving kelp soup, so I was happy. The reason I was craving it is because it was mentioned in A Love to Kill, and that put the thought of it in my mind. It seems to come up fairly often in kdramas, maybe because it’s traditional for birthdays and birthdays come up fairly often in kdramas. So they talked about it, and I thought, Hmm, it would be nice to have some.

I didn’t try the fish that we ordered, for two reasons: (1) There was too much bibimbap (I was actually full for the rest of the day) and (2) I didn’t feel like wrestling with the bones. But I’m told it was tasty. However, if you object to having your fish arrive at your table with the head still attached, you probably don’t want to order this.

I would go back to Jeon Ju for their bibimbap and maybe to try some of the many chigae listed on their menu.

P.S. In terms of variety Gamja Bawi still comes out ahead.

Jeon Ju
2716 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles , CA 90006
(213) 383-4133

 

Revenge on the bibimbap lady May 7, 2007

Filed under: cuisine,restaurants — Raven @ 2:48 am
Tags: , , , ,

Dear Bibimbap Lady,

Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I want to order #1 (i.e., bibimbap for non-Koreans), especially when you’ve just heard me tell you I want to order #14.

Thanks.

P.S. Just wait till I can order in Korean! That’ll show you!

Well, actually I probably could order in Korean now. The problem would arise when I got a response, since I almost certainly wouldn’t understand it. I’d be fine as long as all I had to do was say “I’d like this” and then pay.

The bibimbap lady who has earned the honor of being featured on my blog runs a place called Gamja Bawi in the Koreatown Plaza food court. For those of you who have been there, it’s the one on the south wall with the biggest variety of bibimbap (some of you know this because you were there with me). I’m sure the lady means well and is concerned for my taste buds, but I don’t like being restricted to one variety of bibimbap just because I don’t happen to be Korean.

Also, her bibimbap is tasty, but when you order a kind that’s supposed to have a lot of meat in it, it would be nice if you could find the meat. Okay, so I exaggerate a little, but it really was skimpy.

The cold noodles from the place on the west wall, however, were awesome, especially on a hot day like today when we needed something refreshing.

As of today I’ve also become a fan of papingsu, specifically the variety we ordered, which was actually nokcha pingsu (I love green tea ice cream). I was also very impressed with myself because Bon V. and I were sitting at our table chatting and waiting for our order to be up, and suddenly I hear the lady behind the counter call, “녹차 빙수!” And I said to Bon V., “That’s us.” Processing time: instantaneous. Now keep in mind I hadn’t known the Korean name for what we ordered until a few minutes earlier, when I read it on the posted menu. And I thought I’d forgotten it again right away. And it wasn’t in front of me at the time. So I have no idea how I understood this. But I was very pleased. Yes, I take pleasure in small things.

In addition to a lot of good food, this trip to the K-town Plaza also yielded a script idea (actually several, but only one I remember).

And then I got home and found a tree branch had fallen on the exact spot where I parked my car last night. I’m really glad I went out today!

 

 
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