I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Good Eats, Good Meats January 18, 2008

Filed under: restaurants — Raven @ 7:00 pm
Tags: ,

It feels like ages since I’ve blogged about a restaurant. Okay, it was only six posts ago, but still. And honestly, although there is no limit to the number of times I can enjoy KBBQ, I’m starting to feel there might be a limit to the number of times I can post photos of meat on a grill before they all start looking the same. But anyway, here goes.

Today’s restaurant is Yi Ssi Hwa Ro, located in Chapman Plaza. Before I went to this restaurant I’d never actually been inside Chapman Plaza, and in fact I wasn’t really sure where the entrance was (it’s off Kenmore). Chapman Plaza is strange. It feels like walking into a fortress (or driving, if you use their valet). But inside the thick walls of the fortress, instead of finding knights jousting, peasants working, geese a-laying, lords a-leaping, and ladies dancing, you find an array of Korean restaurants and businesses. Yi Ssi Hwa Ro is located in the northwest corner. It’s a fairly big restaurant, and as far as I could tell the servers seemed to speak pretty good English, although I didn’t interact with them much because the Koreans in our party did the ordering (in Korean).

We got the $15.99 all-you-can-eat option, and I was impressed with the quality of the meat. In fact, that’s what I remember the most. I pretty much forgot what the panchan were like or what else we ordered, although I do remember the kimchee pancake (yum!). But I went to this restaurant the day after I went to Soot Bul Gui Rim 1, and I’d recommend this one over SBGR 1 anytime. In a big way. Yi Ssi Hwa Ro’s meat was impressively tender and flavorful, a much better bargain for the same price.

Here’s the obligatory photo of meat on a grill:


Yi Ssi Hwa Ro
3465 W 6th St
(inside Chapman Plaza; cross-street: Kenmore)
Los Angeles, CA 90020


37 Responses to “Good Eats, Good Meats”

  1. youngkim Says:

    FINALLY, going back to food blogging!

    Who cares about the Korean Film Industry.

  2. Raven Says:

    LOL! You do realize you have your own category on the right of this page under Film Industry Folks.

  3. youngkim Says:

    I aspire to be in the celebrities section someday. btw, i finished my greatest korean epic script ever. 140 pages.

  4. JT Says:

    Forget the food and film… I wanna start reading about Raven’s ravenous amorous adventures with a Korean guy… πŸ˜›

  5. Raven Says:

    Young, wow, yeah, 140 pages is epic. I can give you a note on length without even reading it! What’s it about? If it’s on the order of Jumong or Dae Jang Geum you might have an excuse…

    JT, in order for that to happen there would have to be a Korean guy on the scene… But I suppose I could just invent one. I write fiction, after all. πŸ™‚

  6. youngkim Says:

    I could’ve made it 160 pages long. On page 30, I was like “dang, there’s no way this script’s coming in under 120.” At page 60, “dang, there’s no way this script’s coming in under 130.” At page 150, I said “I better cut 10 pages before I show my peeps.”

    So that’s what happened. It’s a grand epic on a larger scale than Jumong.

  7. Raven Says:

    That sounds like my novel. It was only going to be one book, but I got to 100,000 words and realized I was only a third of the way through, so now it’s a trilogy.

    If it’s an epic, you have an excuse.

  8. JT Says:


    Some years ago, I wrote a very amateurish novel that started out with one main character from 1970, who then took on so much life that two other characters from two completely different time periods (1870 and 2070) had to be incorporated for the first character’s life to make any sense. I couldn’t decide whether to write it as one long novel or as three separate ones. I opted for the former, but being the untalented technical writer I am, I got discouraged. In my mind, it’s still a great Korean epic, but I’m afraid youngkim has beaten me to it!

  9. Raven Says:

    There’s always room for another Korean epic! It’s easy to get discouraged when writing. I know this from personal experience. Your novel sounds complicated, and those are the hardest to write. But it sounds like it could be interesting. if you ever pick it up again and need an unbiased opinion, shoot it my way.

  10. Edward Says:

    Merry belated Christmas….


    Free Korean dramas and movies WITH subtitles…

  11. Raven Says:

    Ooooh, awesome! I’ll add the link in the sidebar.

    Voice of conscience: “I wonder if it’s legal.”

    Merry belated to you too! πŸ™‚

  12. youngkim Says:

    Wait, did you just add an additional layer of name/password for us to post?

    JT, what’s this 1970 epic about? I’d imagine that if it’s an epic, it has to deal at least on a tangential level with Park Chung Hee administration.

  13. youngkim Says:

    Oh, nevermind, I was logged out.

  14. Raven Says:

    The system logged me out tonight too, and then I couldn’t remember my password to log back in. Grrr.

  15. JT Says:

    youngkim… you asked… here goes… (with apologies to Raven) When I lived in Korea, I used to live in an apartment that overlooked a lone burial mound. For six years, I wondered who was buried in it. To the west of the burial mound was an orphanage. My novel is about the relationships between one of those orphans (the 1970 character), the young noble buried in the mound (the 1880 character), and the ginseng scientist who lives in the apartment (the 2070 character).

    The “epic” narrative comes from the life of the 1880 character. As you may know, this was a time of upheaval in Korea. American missionaries. Japanese invasion in the 1890s. Korean peasant rebellions. Korean nobility facing demise.

    The 1970 character is an orphan adopted by wealthy Americans. He returns to Korea when his American parents die; tries to build a new life; searches for a “brother” who cared for him at the orphanage.

    The 2070 character is a depressed scientist. Every day he sees the orphanage and the burial mound. He comes to meet an orphan girl; learns something strange about the 1970 character; and ends up making a promise he’s not sure he can keep.

    In a nutshell, that is it! I still think about these characters from time. I should. I wrote about them for years… Thanks Raven for bringing this part of me out again…

  16. JT Says:


    this is a new website… stop by and say hi!

  17. JT Says:

    oops… one letter off… this is the site

  18. Raven Says:

    JT, no need to apologize. It sounds like a fascinating story. Are you sure you don’t want to take it up again?

    I’m gonna blogroll your new site in a sec, as soon as I finish this comment!

  19. JT Says:

    Hey Raven,

    Thanks for the blogroll! And thanks for the encouragement on the story. I have a feeling I will take it up again. Life has a funny way of bringing you back to the crossroads you’ve seen over and over again.

  20. Raven Says:

    Life does have a way of doing that. I guess we have to keep treading the same ground until we’ve done what we’re supposed to do or learned the lesson we’re supposed to learn.

    *waxing philosophical here*

  21. youngkim Says:

    It sounds like an ambitious undertaking to tackle three different time periods. I don’t quite understand the thematic unity of the three characters of the three time periods. Also, it will confuse the heck out of the audience. No?

  22. JT Says:

    What unifies the story is the physical proximity–the tomb, the apartment and the orphanage form a geographical triangle, all within clear sight of each other. On a more philosophical level, the states of consciousness of each character are meant to inform and be variations of one another. The noble in the grave relates his story from the burial mound. He is dead, but only in a physical sense. The Korean-American orphan tells his story from a hospital bed, in a coma. Is he alive or dead? That was the whole Terri Schiavo debate. The scientist is depressed, and the quality of his consciousness is questionable. I had tentatively named the novel A Tumbling of Consciousness if that’s any help.

    You are right in thinking there might be confusion, which is why I think the story is better written as a trilogy, although I know a very talented writer could negotiate the different time periods. After all, it has been done before.

  23. Raven Says:

    Well, without having read any of it, I have the following thoughts. The three stories should somehow echo or reflect one another, each picking up on the same storylines or mirroring the events in the others without becoming repetitive. And my guess is a single book would be more effective in terms of emotional connectivity and thematic unity, not to mention easier to work with (take it from me, I’m on draft #2 of my trilogy right now). The integration isn’t really that hard, just a matter of alternating chapters. I don’t know if you’re going for a first- or third-person viewpoint, sounds like it might be first, but it’s also possible to switch first-person viewpoints from chapter to chapter as long as each character has a distinctive voice.

  24. JT Says:

    LMAO Raven!! You are a real writer, and you completely know what’s going on in my novel… scary! The novel is exactly as you said… the three stories do echo each other, there are motifs common to all three characters, and the chapters alternated… AND it is all written in first person… but that’s where things got a bit confusing for the people who read parts of it.

  25. youngkim Says:

    I should write a novel like the cool kids. Unrelated but sorta. My current project deals with Russian history and art.

  26. Raven Says:

    JT, three thoughts re: confusing. (1) You could change it to third person (third is my personal preference, so I’m prejudiced here). (2) As the chapter title you could use the name of the person whose viewpoint the chapter will be from. (3) You may need to distinguish their voices more. Verbal tics, word choices that reflect their worldview, their education, their place of origin, etc.

    Young, Russian history? You MUST tell me more about this project!!! Please say you’re allowed to!

  27. youngkim Says:

    Hm, it’s more fun to keep you in suspense. I’m outlining it right now. It’ll be another month or so before I commence writing of it.

  28. Raven Says:

    EVIL! At least tell me what period of Russian history. I’m dying of curiosity!

  29. JT Says:

    I love the people here!!! Youngkim, I wrote my college thesis on the Russian Revolution. Have you read the book Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie? A must read if you’re interested in the life of the last tsar. Raven, add that book to your Amazon cart. I promise another great reading experience!

    Your advice on chapaters… duly noted…

  30. Raven Says:

    I don’t read much nonfiction, but I think I’ve read that one. I know I read a Massie book about the royal family at some point. What was your take on the revolution? I don’t share the commonly accepted bad opinion of Nicholas II, although I think there were instances when he could have made better choices.

    One of the few photos on display in my apartment is a small framed print of him in his royal regalia. They were selling them in one of the churches I visited in Russia. Come to think of it, I have the tsar but I’m not sure I have a photo of my parents on display. I wonder what that says about me.

  31. JT Says:

    Raven, I had no idea of the Russian connection. Well, Massie is clearly sympathetic to the last royal family. He had a son who was a hemophiliac and wanted others to know how hard it must have been for Nicholas and Alexandra to have a son with the same condition. The book argues that given enough time, Nicholas could have capitulated and relinquished absolute monarchy in favor of a constitutional monarchy like Britain. But he didn’t have time on his side, nor very good advisors. Russia should not have gone to war with Japan in 1904. That was the beginning of the end.

    Whatever you feel about Nicholas personally, you can’t deny that he ruled during a time of cultural renaissance. I love Chagall, the innocence, the mysticism, the colors. And the jewelry that Faberge produced during that time is craftsmanship you just don’t find anywhere anymore.

    lol… this post was originally about meat…

  32. Raven Says:

    Yeah, the comments have gone off on a major tangent! On the other hand, I think we’ve set a record for number of comments.

    I was a Russian major in college, actually have an M.A. in it, and there’s a family connection too: my parents met in a Russian class. I lived in Moscow for a short while and still have friends over there that I talk to now and then.

  33. youngkim Says:

    There are many Russians who live in Korea. Especially around Pusan where Russians outnumber all other non-Korean ethnicities.

    And Pusan has a lot of seafood.

  34. Raven Says:

    So if I make it to Korea at some point, I should go to Pusan and pretend to be Russian, and nobody will bat an eye at me. Wait, how do the Koreans feel about the Russians?

  35. youngkim Says:

    I can’t speak for all the Koreans but I like Maria Sharapova and Ana Kornikova.

  36. Edward Says:

    Koreans are ambivalent about Russia in general, but many Russians in Korea are stereotyped as: prostitutes, gangsters and/or migrant workers (a prostitute would be defined as a migrant worker, I guess…). It’s not exactly the Moscow urbanites that make their way to Korea. It’s the poorer people from Siberia and the Russian Far East that stumble their way in.

    If I was a betting man… your better off being “mistaken” as an American… hahahaha.

  37. Raven Says:

    Being American wouldn’t be too much of a stretch!


Comments are closed.