I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

We shop for hanbok again, but hanbok isn’t all we find! April 26, 2013

Filed under: hanbok — Raven @ 7:14 pm
Tags: , ,

People are still landing on my blog by searching for hanbok (or 한복, although I’m not sure anyone’s ever gotten here by searching for it in Korean). So I owe it to a certain L.A. hanbok shop to put up this post FINALLY. Yes, this post is honestly 2-3 years late (maybe more), and my only excuse is life got in the way (and I’m a bad person :().

So here goes. I was personally invited to visit Lee Hwa Korean Traditional Dress Shop and see their hanbok and take photos. They were looking to get more exposure (clearly I was a bad choice for this). What I first noticed upon entering was the air of peace in the shop, and how beautiful it was.


The photo doesn’t do it justice. Lee Hwa KTDS (yes, I am way too lazy to type out “Korean Traditional Dress Shop” every time) is located on the second floor of a mini-mall on a busy corner, but once you’re inside you’d never know it. You’re surrounded by gorgeous fabrics, and it’s quiet, and there are flowers and plants. It’s like a sanctuary from the bustle of Los Angeles outside.

But the best part is, of course, the hanbok. Lee Hwa KTDS is family-run. Several generations of this family have been making hanbok. When you need to look traditional, they’ve got you covered.


But it doesn’t stop there. Lee Hwa KTDS also offers hanbok-inspired formalwear. It’s just as gorgeous as their traditional styles, and it picks up some of the same bright colors (except when it goes for a pure white), but it’s more modern in appearance, and yet it’s got a little je ne sais quoi (I should be saying that in Korean) that makes you think of hanbok. You could wear this to a formal occasion and look amazing. I’m not someone who needs a lot of formalwear (read: none), but I can appreciate that these dresses would make a splash (I promise Lee Hwa KTDS isn’t paying me to plug their shop). Take a look:


As you can see, I took full advantage of the chance to take photos. 😀

Lee Hwa Korean Traditional Dress Shop
555 S. Western Suite #210
(cross-street: 6th, as I recall)
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Edited to add: I just found out Lee Hwa has a website.


CGV Cinemas Opens in LA June 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Raven @ 5:23 pm

CGV Cinemas, the first US affiliate of Korea’s CJ CGV movie theater chain (owned by CJ Entertainment), is now open in Los Angeles. They’ll be showing  Korean films with English subtitles as well as US films with Korean subtitles. I understand they won’t restrict their Korean offerings to films made by CJ, but will show competitors’ films as well. Currently they’re showing Blades of Blood (Korean), The Karate Kid (US), and Toy Story 3 (US). I’m still trying to figure out why The Karate Kid needed to be remade, but that’s neither here nor there.

CGV Cinemas LA is located at 6th & Western in the new (and only partially rented) Madang mall and is supposedly very nice. It includes a cafe serving Fosselman’s ice cream (yum!). I understand that CGV Cinemas members get a discount at the cafe as well as slight discounts on movie tickets. I don’t know if you have to pay to become a member.

I do know I probably won’t be going to CGV anytime soon. I missed their opening week promotion, when they were offering free movies. Now their regular shows cost $12.50, or you can pay about $3 more for premium seating. I’m not sure if that means the regular folks will be stuck sitting on the sides while the premium folks sit in the middle, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Can you tell I don’t like the idea of premium seating? Sounds like another way to fleece the customer base. In any case, I’m really over paying more than $10 for a movie (which means I’m no longer patronizing most of the theaters in LA… but that’s okay because all the movies suck anyway). I’m not sure if CGV at Madang has matinee prices. I couldn’t check because you can’t buy online tickets for the before-6pm shows. So they may.

Valet parking is off Western. Non-valet is off Manhattan. You get three hours free with theater validation. I understand there’s at least one restaurant open at Madang, so there’s the option of doing dinner-and-a-movie without moving the car.

CGV Cinemas
621 South Western Avenue
(cross-street: 6th)
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 388-9000


Mr. Pizza Factory February 19, 2010

Filed under: restaurants — Raven @ 4:10 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I can’t remember exactly when I went to this place, but I do remember that we ordered a half-and-half pizza. Half Potato Gold, which I’d heard lots of good things about, and half bulgogi, just because there was no way we could go to a Korean pizza place and not try bulgogi as a topping.

Here’s the result:

I wish I’d turned the pizza around before I took this picture, because this way you get an eyeful of the bulgogi half, which was really only okay. The bulgogi wasn’t as flavorful as I’d hoped. It didn’t taste like getting KBBQ on your pizza. The Potato Gold half, on the other hand, was pretty good, but you can’t see it as well. It had bacon, potatoes, mayonnaise, and other tasty stuff.

I admit it sounds a little weird. I’m a fan of bacon on my pizza, but I’d never had mayonnaise before. I don’t think I’ve ever had potatoes on my pizza before either, and to be honest, I can’t really recall what I thought of them. But it didn’t taste like your everyday American pizza.

Now we get to the best part. The crust stuffed with sweet potato mousse was amazing. That crust doesn’t come standard on the bulgogi pizza, so to get it we had to pay as much as if we were buying a whole Potato Gold. I was okay with that. I’d been dying to try the sweet potato crust ever since I heard about it. It lived up to the hype.

I’m told Mr. Pizza Factory has a paid lot, but I found street parking.

Mr Pizza Factory
3881 Wilshire Blvd
(about two blocks west of Western)
Los Angeles, CA 90010


Korean Film Festival in Los Angeles 2010 February 13, 2010

There’s been a bit of a hiatus since the last one of these, but finally another Korean Film Festival in Los Angeles (KOFFLA) is in the works. It’s gotten bigger, promising to showcase over 70 films (I think the 70 must include the shorts, because I don’t count 70 features on the schedule). Screenings take place in various theaters around town, so you kind of have to look at the schedule and figure out where you’re supposed to go for what. Can anyone tell me where the Beverly Music Hall is? A lot of the screenings are scheduled to be there.

Among the interesting folks on the festival’s advisory board are Park Chan Wook (Oldboy, among others) and Kang Je Gyu (Tae Guk Gi, Shiri). Actors Kim Jeong Eun (Lovers in Paris) and Jin Goo (Mother) are scheduled to attend the opening night film Le Grand Chef II: Kimchi War, in which they also star. No word on whether kimchee will be provided at the screening or whether it’s BYOK… Okay, yes, I’m joking about bringing kimchee, although I can recommend several Korean markets where you can pick some up (starting a kimchee war at the screening is not recommended). 🙂

On Friday, March 5, there’s a surprise screening, and the ActorFest on Saturday the 6th also sounds fun. Actually, most of the events sound pretty cool.

The festival runs from March 4-7, 2010. Its website, including the schedule and info on becoming a sponsor or volunteer or Facebook friend, can be found here. I might consider volunteering, except I don’t speak Korean, and I’m thinking that could be a problem.


Housekeeping February 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Raven @ 9:08 pm

I’ve just finished some housekeeping around here. The number of categories was getting way too huge, so I’ve cut back on those and converted a lot of the categories to tags. You’ll notice a tag cloud to the right. I’m not completely sold on tags, but I needed a more manageable number of categories.

There’s also a new feature where you can sign up for an email subscription. Considering my blogging schedule is erratic, this might be a good idea for anybody who wants to read my posts but doesn’t want to check back all the time.

Also, the search feature now seems to work. It hadn’t in the past, at least not when I tried it.

For those of you who’ve been wondering where I was, let’s just say it hasn’t been the best year I’ve ever had. At this point I do have some new posts planned, including one I promised to someone and am very, very late on, for which I sincerely apologize, and I’ll try to get that post up shortly.


Do Not Watch

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 2:18 pm

Well, I did manage to get my hands on that My Sassy Girl screener I mentioned, oh, a year or more ago. I turned it off halfway through and have no intention of going back to watch the rest. Ever. Seriously, if you have any interest in this movie at all, beg or borrow a copy of the original and watch that. The remake is at best a lesson in how not to execute a remake.

As I’d feared, the emotional story didn’t seem to be there, although a lot of the quirky scenes were. But those scenes don’t work without the emotional content.

Granted, the original is a bit slow in the first half too, so maybe the remake becomes awesome in the second half… but I guess I’ll never know.


Inside Omurice March 12, 2009

Filed under: cuisine — Raven @ 6:26 pm

Since sku was interested in the filling of omurice, here’s a photo of my omurice cut down the middle so you can see what’s inside. I’m not sure the spam is very visible, though.


I’ve since tried omurice at a different restaurant, Kongjinae (located within walking distance of Spoon & Chopsticks, oddly enough, in the shopping center just east of the one where Paris Baguette is). I don’t have a photo, but Kongjinae smothered their omurice in a sweet sauce instead of ketchup. I have to say I much prefer the ketchup. The sweet sauce was okay for the first few bites and then became overpowering, so I found myself eating around it, trying to get just the parts with no sauce (not an easy thing to do). My advice: if you go to Kongjinae, get the katsu.


Omelet + Rice = Omurice January 5, 2009

Filed under: restaurants — Raven @ 8:27 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Omurice is an incredibly simple dish, just a layer of beaten egg cooked and wrapped around rice, veggies, and spam. Pour some ketchup on top and you’re done. Like bibimbap, it falls into the category of Korean dishes I imagine I could successfully recreate at home. It’s total comfort food. Egg, carbs, ketchup… Does it get better than that?


The place where I generally order it is also a very simple place. It’s almost like sitting in someone’s kitchen. The place is called Spoon & Chopsticks, and it’s located on 6th a block or so east of Chapman Plaza in the same strip mall as Ice Kiss and Ham Ji Park, a place Young recommended (which I tried ages ago but haven’t blogged about yet, just so you know, Young).

The food at Spoon & Chopsticks, like the ambiance, is very basic. Besides omurice they have various kinds of fried rice, noodles, some simple meats, kimbap, dumplings and probably a few things I’m forgetting. You don’t go here for a gourmet meal. You do go if you need a cheap and filling bite to eat. You can get their punch card and eventually earn a free meal. They also deliver.



Dumplings and some panchan (the kimbap also made it into the picture again):


The staff is friendly (it helps to speak Korean). They’re not open on Sunday. Parking is street or the valet lot behind the strip mall. The panchan seem to vary from day to day, so if there’s one you particularly like (or dislike) don’t expect it to necessarily be offered next time.

Spoon & Chopsticks
(cross-streets: Kenmore/Catalina)
3417 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90189


Koreatown: 2008’s Best L.A. Neighborhood? December 23, 2008

Filed under: Koreatown & K-town events and shopping — Raven @ 10:29 pm

You decide. Curbed LA is running a competition to vote for the best neighborhood in LA in 2008. Koreatown is currently facing off against Silver Lake, with Koreatown leading by a small margin. To cast your ballot, go here.


Los Angeles Korean Festival 2008 September 25, 2008

Filed under: Koreatown & K-town events and shopping — Raven @ 5:28 pm

The festival runs from today through Sunday. Go here for details.

If you’re not going to the festival, you might want to avoid K-town this weekend. I’m told driving will be a nightmare due to festival-related street closures.