LA’s Koreatown is a place of legend, filled with all-you-can-eat BBQ, karaoke spots, and seedy places you’ll never know about unless you know about them. It also covers the area seemingly as big as Manhattan. New York’s Koreatown, on the other hand, covers just more than a city block and is built vertically like much of the rest of Manhattan. It is there that I went to dinner at Jongro BBQ.
All you can eat Korean BBQ is one of the greatest things (not just food things) ever created. It’s meaty, it’s flamey and it is interactive-y. Yet, not all KBBQ spots are created equally, with some charging a bit more than others. Oo Kook in Koreatown is one of those places that goes beyond the $20 mark, but I was hoping it would be worth it.
While Pittsburgh is not devoid of Korean food, there is no city on earth outside of Korea that serves up Korean food like LA. With that in mind, I made my way to Road to Seoul in Koreatown for a final meal before catching a red-eye back to Pittsburgh. Hey, if I can’t give myself the meat sweats on a flight, why even sleep?
After the ill-fated sojourn to Koji BBQ Buffet, I was in need of some good Korean BBQ to wash the bad taste out of my mouth. Fortunately, my friends were more than willing to join me and we ended up at Star BBQ in Koreatown, partly because we had heard great things, but also because it was the easiest place to pronounce. Upon arrival the place was empty, which meant we got personal service that meant not only faster meat, but a waitress to help us with the cooking of it.
Sometimes the craving for Korean BBQ is so strong it doesn’t matter that you are in Torrance and not Koreatown. When this happens you find yourself at Koji BBQ Buffet, a Korean BBQ unlike any I had ever been to before. Here, the meat seemed to sit out rather than sitting in a fridge or freezer waiting to be served.
Once upon a time, Koreatown boasted an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ joint called Manna and long before I had my own meat blog, I made my way to Manna for a protein-fest. The memory of this visit stuck with me as I visited the inferior Manna outpost in the Fox Hills mall. Granted, I wasn’t too disappointed, because you can’t really be disappointed with so much meat, but I knew there was something better out there. By the time I made it back to Manna in Koreatown, it was no longer Manna, but had become Meat, which is a far more appropriate name.
EDIT: This location is closed, but miraculously Sorabol lives on elsewhere.
Since Korean BBQ has never let me down and the Century City food court has also never let me down, I decided to check out Sorabol, the Korean BBQ place in the Century City food court. At the time it seemed like a great idea. I walked up to their stand and saw a few different food items hanging out in heating trays, so I chose their beef short ribs. They looked a bit dry, but the woman behind the counter ladled some sort of Korean sauce over them. They came with noodles, rice and some vegetable sides. I dismissed the vegetable sides and paid my 10 bucks, which I thought was a pretty good deal. I was wrong.
On Saturday, my friends and I headed down to Koreatown for the Korean BBQ Festival and Cook-Off. Korean BBQ is known to be heavy in meat, so I felt this would be a great opportunity to tackle my daily meat intake.
The festival ran from 12:00-5:00 and although we arrived around 1:00, the lines were already getting pretty long. I wasn’t too surprised by the long lines since the event was free, plus $10 per plate.
Assuming the longest lines had the best food, I jumped into one of the lines without
even knowing what it was.