Jeonju Hanilkwan

Boodae Jjigae.  It literally means military jjigae.  If I could compare jjigae to anything, it would be a cross between a soup and a stew.  Yet, I feel that’s inaccurate.  Some people call it a casserole, but when I think of a casserole, I think of some baked pasta which jjigae really isn’t.  I don’t like having to give “jjigae” a Westernized name.  It is what it is.  Jjigae is jjigae.  Now that I got that out of the way…

From the stories I’ve heard and from what I can deduce, Boodae Jjigae is a byproduct of the US military occupation in South Korea.  As unappetizing as it may sound, it’s pretty much scrap food if you think about it.  After the Korean War, poverty was rampant and so was hunger.  Poor Koreans scrounged up whatever they could find, leftover, spoiled sausages, spam, vegetables, etc.  Koreans love spam.  I’m no exception.  So this is the humble beginning that was Boodae Jjigae.

What Hanilkwan is known for is apparently their Boodae Jjigae.  I guess that’s why I came too.  And by looking at Yelp, it turns out Hanilkwan is pretty well known.  I guess you really can’t go wrong in making this dish.  It’s simple and it’s good… unless you don’t like spam.  Then I guess that becomes a problem.  The Boodae Jjigae here isn’t the best I’ve had, but it’s still good.  I used to frequent Gonjiam on Beverly Blvd., and I remember them making it really well but it’s been a while.  Hanilkwan is good though.

I also ordered a side of Gamja-jun.  Potato pancake?  I liked the outer parts as it had a nice crisp to it.  This usually takes longer to make.  They got to shred up the potato and that takes time.  For what it is, I thought it was a bit overpriced though.

So when you’re in the mood for some Boodae Jjigae and you’re in Koreatown, you should stop by here.  And it’s in the “happening” part of Koreatown so that’s not that bad either.  And they changed they’re sign too.  There’s English on it.  I don’t ever remember there being English on the sign.  I guess English-only folk were having trouble looking for this place.

Jeonju Hanilkwan
3450 W 6th St #106

Los Angeles, CA 90020
Phone: 213.480.1799

Chunju Han-Il Kwan on Urbanspoon


Dong Il Jang

One question I don’t like is, “What’s a good Korean restaurant?” I kind of dig that I’m being asked that, but to me, that’s such a general question. I like it when it’s specific like “Where can I find good Galbi?” or “Where can I find good Sullung-tang?” or “Where can I find some good (fill in the blank)?” Though a friend did stump me once when he asked “Where can I find good Gamja-tang?” To cut myself some slack, I DID know of a place, but it was so long since I’ve been there to know if they still had good Gamja-tang. Plus, the parking there is horrendous. I digress. Though I find the what’s-a-good-Korean-restaurant question a bit too general for my liking, I’ll probably still respond and I’ll probably respond with this answer: “Dong Il Jang.”

Dong Il Jang is good; they just do a good job overall and it’s very consistent. They might not have the best Galbi in town, but it’s still good Galbi. They might not have the best Chadol-Baegi in town, but it’s still good Chadol-Baegi. They might not have the best Eundaegu-jorim in town (see Jun Won), but it’s still pretty darn good. But I suppose Dong Il Jang has a specialty as well. It’s called “Roast-Gui.” To be honest, I don’t know what cut of cow this is. And the meat isn’t seasoned at all. But I sure do like the taste of meat and that butter on the grill pan sure helps. They do give some sesame oil with salt and pepper in it for you to dip the meat in and also some sort of green onion salad,if you will, to eat along with the meat. I don’t go too crazy over the oil as well as this salad. They do have this other salad made of lettuce that comes as ban-chan (side dish) with some dressing on it and I replace my green onion salad with that. Just simply ask for more of it and they’ll get you some for yourself.

Once you’re done with the meat, the waitresses come along with this mixture of kimchi and some cut up pieces of the Roast-gui. They dump it on to that grill pan you were cooking your meat on. By this time you’d have all sorts of oily goodness on the grill pan and they start making kimchi fried rice once that kimchi mixture gets cooked somewhat. Mmm Mmm Mmm~! That fried rice is freaking awesome. What’s more awesome is when you start scraping off the scorched rice from the grill. We Koreans call that “noo-roong-ji.” There’s a technique to this. Get your spoon and drag the grill pan into the corner of the grill pit(?). You’ll know it when you see it. This will hold the grill pan steady and scrape away with the spoon. For me it’s a gold mine. That rice is good but that stuff on the bottom is better.

My goodness, I love this place.

Dong Il Jang
3455 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone: 213.383.5757

Dong Il Jang on Urbanspoon

Jun Won

I am the self-proclaimed Mr. Koreatown. In all my modesty, I like to say, I KNOW Koreatown. In all my humbleness, I know everything there is to know about Koreatown. Okay, I was joking. But I do feel I know Koreatown pretty well and I can suggest places for a handful of things. I have confidence in knowing Koreatown well enough for my needs. I suppose getting random calls from friends asking about where they can find good so-and-so helps pad my ego; too bad I can’t answer their questions all the time. But my heyday was a while ago and the dining scene in Koreatown has changed some.

With that said, I decided I wanted to go to Jun Won today. This restaurant has mostly fish dishes, good fish dishes I must say. I thought it would be my first time, but as I was approaching the place, I realized I had been there before. It was long ago when I did not like fish all too much. But some fish is good now. I wanted to come to Jun Won because on Olympic and… somewhere near Serrano, or maybe it is Serrano, this restaurant just opened a very small store where all they make is ban-chan (side dishes) and sell it. You have to have a lot of confidence if you’re a small restaurant and you are willing to pay rent in Los Angeles to just sell ban-chan, and only your ban-chan. And I have to say, their confidence is justified because I keep coming back for more, well my mom does, not me, but you get the point.

So I thought, if their ban-chan is this good, then the food this place makes must be good as well. If you’re looking for some Korean Barbeque then back off; there’s none of that unless you consider Bulgogi barbeque. Like I said before, fish.

We had the Dong-tae-jjigae (“Pollack casserole”) and the Eun-dae-gu-jorim (“Steamed cod fish”). I honestly don’t know why it’s translated into a casserole and I’m not too certain if “jorim” means steamed. I’m sure there’s another word out there for jorim but that’s not important. Casserole on the other hand, does not sit well with me. Jjigae is jjigae. It’s somewhere in between a soup and a stew, yet those aren’t good descriptions. Go eat a jjigae and you will know what a jjigae is. Damn English translations.

Anyway, the Dong-tae-jjigae is jjigae with it’s main ingredient being pollack (go figure). You can taste the fish in the jjigae and I guess you’re supposed to since it is the main ingredient. It tastes nice and it has a nice kick of spiciness to it. It is sure to clear your throat if it is in need of clearing. With most jjigaes of this type, you can taste the water and the red pepper flakes but the flavors are more distinct. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be like that but the dong-tae-jjigae here seemed to have a more unified taste. Maybe it’s just me. I usually don’t enjoy this jjigae; I eat some of the soup and that’s it. I have to say, I enjoyed it more here.

The other main dish we had was the Eun-dae-gu-jorim. Now this is a fish dish I like very much. It’s “simmered” in this marinade of which I have no idea what it’s made of. You have this cod cooked in the marinade with huge radishes. The marinade itself has some spices in it, and for the most part, is sweet. The fish itself is moist. Umm, don’t let the sauce go to waste. Make sure your portion of the fish is covered in this sauce.

I have to say, I liked it at Jun Won. It’s a small cozy place with good Korean food. Nothing fancy, but what can I say, ahjoomas make good Korean food. There is plenty of parking to find in the back but this place will not accommodate huge groups. It isn’t too big and Jun Won filled up pretty fast. I believe they close from 3:00pm to 5:30pm. Other than that, I do not know their hours. It’s on 8th Street in between Catalina and Berendo. It’s easy to miss and I guess the sign being in Korean does not help my non-Korean readers. It’s on the south end of 8th Street and the parking lot is on the Southwest corner of 8th Street and Berendo.

Jun Won
3100 W 8th St #101
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone: 213.383.8855

Jun Won on Urbanspoon

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