I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Red Mango Arrives in Miracle Mile December 29, 2007

Filed under: bakeries, cafes, & fro-yo — Raven @ 3:52 pm
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It’s true. Red Mango continues to expand across the Los Angeles area. They’re already in Westwood (land of really bad parking) and Northridge (incredibly far away). Now they’ve finally made it to a location I’ll actually go to. I noticed the new shop the other day as I was driving by on Wilshire. I haven’t been there yet (I’ll go soon), but I’m delighted to have them so close. They’re open 11am-10pm daily.

It’s beyond me why they didn’t choose to open in K-town first (a K-town shop opens in 2008), but maybe they figured they’d try to make inroads with the Pinkberry crowd before invading an area already full of Korean-style fro-yo shops.

Red Mango USA has a website here. Be warned, it’s incredibly Flash-intensive. Seriously, guys (by “guys” I mean the programmers who designed the site and – perhaps more importantly – the execs who paid for it), it may be pretty but it’s not user-friendly.

Red Mango
5115 Wilshire Blvd, Unit C
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Where Do Rice Wrappers Come From? December 27, 2007

Filed under: restaurants — Raven @ 2:30 pm

I honestly never thought about where the rice wrappers for KBBQ come from. Turns out somebody has to cut them to size (I still have no idea who makes them). Thank goodness I’m not the one cutting them, because they would be sure to turn out crooked and all different shapes. I can’t cut a straight line or make uniform sets of anything to save my life. Luckily the person working at the station below didn’t have that problem (judging by the wrappers we used, at least).


I got this photo at Soot Bul Gui Rim 1, the one on 6th. I have to say, I liked SBGR 2 (the Vermont one) better. I thought the quality of the meat was higher. At SBGR 1 the heart ended up tough, and I don’t remember it being that way at 2. However, SBGR 1 has the distinction of being the first KBBQ place where I’ve ordered chicken. Although it takes longer to cook than the other meats, here it grilled up nice and tender. Below is the chicken before:


And here’s the chicken after. It got a little blackened, as you can see, but the taste was there.


My verdict: If you want to try a Soot Bul Gui Rim, go to the Vermont one, which I blogged about here. They’re both all-you-can-eat for the same price. The ambiance at 1 may be slightly more upscale than at 2 (I said slightly), but I preferred the meat at 2 (although I can’t speak for the chicken at 2, which I didn’t order, and I do have to admit the chicken was good at 1).

Folks are probably shocked that I’ve finally updated this blog. And some of you are probably wondering what happened to the DARI Awards. I honestly didn’t realize it had been two weeks since my last post, and the DARI Awards are coming soon, I promise.

Soot Bul Gui Rim 1
3977 W 6th St
(6th & Western)
Los Angeles, CA 90020


Secret Sunshine Still Secret December 13, 2007

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 6:38 pm

I really tried to get up in time to see this movie this morning, I swear I did. But after I’d hit snooze about six times I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. I was up really late last night working. That’s my excuse. My apologies to the Korean film industry for not supporting a film that was actually showing at a theater in this country, and not a Korean theater either.


Secret Sunshine

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 1:43 am
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In case anybody is up late or gets up really early and doesn’t have to go to work tomorrow (I guess it’s really today now: Thursday Dec. 13), you should know that the Korean film Secret Sunshine (Milyang) is playing at the Laemmle Sunset 5 at 11am. It’s been there since last Friday, and I really should have posted this waaaay earlier, especially since the 13th is the last day the film will be there. I haven’t managed to see it yet, and I’m not sure if I’m going to make it or not. So far this week I haven’t been up as early as 11am even once. But if I don’t go I’ll feel I’m letting down the Korean film industry, which I’m sure could use the support. Why does Laemmle have to show the film in the morning? Let me guess. Because they don’t think many people are going to show up, and they figure the ones who do will be dedicated enough to get there for it.

I guess we’ll find out how dedicated I am.

Here’s an interesting article about the film, which showed at Cannes, and its director, Lee Chang Dong, former minister of culture in Korea. Song Kang Ho*, one of the few Korean actors whose name some average Americans may recognize, is also in this film.

*Who am I kidding, most people probably either don’t know Song Kang Ho at all or else know him as “that guy who was in that Korean monster movie.” 🙂


The Korea of Old December 5, 2007

Filed under: kdramas — Raven @ 4:46 pm

Historicals seem to be my thing lately, at least where kdramas are concerned. Wait, let me clarify. I haven’t had a whole lot of time recently, so I’m only averaging about one new drama per month. And since my most recent new drama was the wildly popular Dae Jang Geum, which comes in three volumes, I feel as if I’ve been watching historicals for a long time, but it’s all the same drama.

Dae Jang Geum is so popular that apparently there’s a theme park dedicated to it in Korea. There you can tour some of the set and try on some of the costumes. If you ever wanted to look like a Korean palace kitchen lady, here’s your chance! In all seriousness, the sets and costumes in Dae Jang Geum are awesome. But even more interesting is the glimpse into the palace kitchens. An acquaintance pointed out that this portrayal may not be the way the kitchens actually were at all, but I’m choosing to believe it is. It’s partly the kitchen setting that makes this drama fascinating for me. The story is okay, but a bit slow and episodic, and if this were set in modern-day Korea I might sometimes be yelling at the screen in frustration. But in the historical setting it works.

I love the dynamics of the kitchen ladies and the royals. I love watching the food prep, and I’m just waiting for Jang Geum to get in major trouble for getting friendly with one of the royal guards. How dare she? All palace ladies must preserve themselves for the king, although in fact most of them don’t end up as his concubines.

I’m not even halfway through the three volumes, so I’m sure I’ll be blogging about Dae Jang Geum again.


Jeon Ju: Repeat Visit December 1, 2007

Filed under: restaurants — Raven @ 6:54 pm
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On this visit to Jeon Ju I learned that they stay open late. A couple friends and I arranged to go there after a movie at the film festival, and on the way I started wondering if this place was actually going to be open at 8:30-9:00 at night. But it was.

I also realized that they have some really good panchan, particularly a fish dish (prominently displayed in the photo below). Oddly, I don’t remember this dish from my first visit at all, although I remembered the silky tofu, visible in the upper left (impossible to eat with chopsticks). I may have skipped the fish the first time, expecting it to be spicy, which it’s not.


I didn’t order a bibimbap. After all, I got that last time, and I’d been wanting to go back and try something else. So this time I went with 떡만두, the dduk mandu (I can’t for the life of me remember whether there was a 국/guk on the end of that or not; I’m thinking there’s supposed to be, but I don’t think there was). This is a rice cake and dumpling soup, beautifully warm and comforting.


It’s hard to go wrong with anything dumpling. The inventor of the dumpling, whoever he or she may have been, is my foodie hero.