Welcome to Koreatown, one of Los Angeles’s most vibrant and delicious neighborhoods.
When Los Angelenos are hungry for authentic Korean cuisine (think buckwheat noodles, fresh seafood, barbecue beef, hot pot, and an array of fermented foods such as kimchi), they head to the heart of the largest Korean community outside of the Korean peninsula itself: Koreatown. We’re here to tell visitors to Los Angeles to do the same, for a delicious taste of an incredible culinary tradition, not to mention a fascinating neighborhood packed with cool shops (watch our video, above).
HOW TO GET TO KOREATOWN
Koreatown, sometimes referred to locally as “K-Town,” is located in central Los Angeles, a relatively convenient drive from almost any angle. Of course we mean “relatively” in that Los Angeles traffic sort of way, and if you’d prefer not to deal with driving, the Metro’s purple line connects downtown L.A. with Koreatown.
However long it takes you to get there, it will have been worth the trip if you eat at Western Doma Noodle (429 Western Avenue #10, 323-871-1955), owned by Miok Baek. Baek arrived in the US in 1980, honed her skills in restaurants and then opened her own in 2001. Her food is a wonder. One native Korean customer described eating at Baek’s as akin to eating at his grandmother’s - the food is authentic home cooking taken to an extravagant level. The meal begins with a gazillion small dishes of pickled and lightly dressed vegetables to snack on or add to your main dishes as they arrive (in Korean dining, fermented and pickled foods can show up at any stage of the meal). As far as what to order, bring a crowd so you can try as many dishes as possible. Not to be missed is the hot pot pork and the cold noodle soup (served with ice cubes!).
A VIBRANT NEIGHBORHOOD
While you’re visiting Koreatown, don’t miss the chance to drive around the neighborhood a bit - you can almost forget you are in Los Angeles because so many of the signs are in Korean, but the palm trees and beautiful Art Deco buildings that abound in this part of L.A. will give your location away in the end.
BRING HOME A TASTE OF KOREATOWN
As good as the fresh restaurant food here is, it’s also worth stopping in at the Koreatown Plaza, an indoor mall with stores on the top floors and a food court and grocery store for stocking up on Korean specialties to take home. Pro tip: The kimchi aisle alone is worth a tour!