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A plate of reddish hued fried chicken.
Korean fried chicken at OB Bear
Cathy Chaplin

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7 Delicious Things to Eat in LA’s Koreatown

Eater editors’ favorite dishes in LA’s dynamic neighborhood

Welcome to a new series about the best dishes to eat in various neighborhoods across Los Angeles. Today we’re heading to Koreatown, a dynamic part of the city that never seems to sleep. From roasted Peruvian chicken to the finest spicy braised cod, here now are Eater editors’ favorites in the neighborhood.


Ganjang gejang at Soban

A plate of raw marinated crab surrounded by smaller dishes.
Ganjang gejang at Soban
Cathy Chaplin

Korean cuisine has a lot of incredible dishes, but perhaps none is greater in complexity and astounding quality than ganjang gejang. The raw, marinated, ever-so-slightly fermented crab splayed out on a white bowl sitting in a shallow pool of its own marinade. The sauce is rich, textured with soy, white wine, aromatics, and other magical Korean ingredients that amplify the natural sweetness of the crab. Its flesh tastes like cold marrow, multiplied in deliciousness thanks to a two-day marinating process. Spoon some of the meat over warm rice, and lap on some of the bright orange innards and enjoy one of the most incredible bites of Korean food. 4001 W Olympic Blvd. —Matthew Kang

Peruvian roasted chicken at Pollo Ala Brasa

Roasted chicken with French fries and salad on a tray.
Peruvian chicken at Pollo Ala Brasa

After two decades operating in a rickety shack at the corner of Eighth and Western, Pollo Ala Brasa invested in new digs at the same Koreatown strip mall. Everything’s shinier at the new spot, but thankfully the signature Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken has remained the same old bird that Los Angeles fell in love with years ago. The secret to Pollo Ala Brasa’s superior specimen lies in its wine-based marinade and wood-fired treatment. The restaurant’s Okinawan-born owner rustled the rotisserie from Peru and feeds it a steady diet of oak, hickory, and eucalyptus, which results in a beautifully browned chicken with a crispy, smoky cloak for skin. 764 South Western Ave. —Cathy Chaplin

Patty melt at Cassell’s Hamburgers

Patty melt on a plate.
Patty melt at Cassell’s Hamburgers
Wonho Frank Lee

Even though the patty melt originated in Southern California many decades ago, it’s taken on new life recently. Cassell’s, an eye-catching restaurant on the corner of Normandie and 6th, transformed and perfected the iconic dish using great techniques and ingredients. Cassell’s patty melt, which is neither a burger or a sandwich, begins with ground brisket and chuck. The thick, marbled patty is cooked medium-rare and served with slightly crispy Swiss cheese and beautifully caramelized onions on toasted rye bread. Chef Christian Page’s masterful touches makes Casell’s patty melt a juicy, decadent, and messy throwback. Be sure to wear clothes you don’t care about. 3600 W. 6th Street. —Mona Holmes

Hamachi collar at Here’s Looking At You

Hamachi collar with sauce and herbs.
Hamachi collar at Here’s Looking At You
[Official Photo]

It’s hard to pinpoint something that Here’s Looking At You, Koreatown’s effortlessly global three-year-old restaurant on 6th Street, can’t excel at. The restaurant does classic cocktails and tiki drinks with ease, while also hosting a weekend taco stand out front, celebrating Saturday brunch with Jerusalem-style bagels, and pulling in flavors from Japan to Mexico to Los Angeles and beyond. One great example of this is the hamachi collar, which has, with some tweaks over the years, been a staple on the HLAY menu since day one. Expect a light yet rich bone-on fish, easy for flecking off in big, slightly spicy chunks. It’s bright, herby, light, and packed with flavor — no wonder it’s one of chef Jonathan Whitener’s favorite things to cook. 3901 W. 6th St. —Farley Elliott

Black cod joorim at Park’s BBQ

A claypot full of red broth and fish.
Black cod joorim at Park’s BBQ
Matthew Kang

Park’s Barbeque is well known for its top-quality Korean grilled meat, but the secret stars of the show are the other dishes from chef Jenee Kim’s repertoire. Perhaps none is more compelling than the eundaegoo joorim, or spicy braised black cod, which she jazzes up with tofu, rice cakes, and fresh enoki mushrooms. The preparation isn’t traditional, but the sauce remains true to the essence of this Korean classic. The fish doesn’t get lost in the numerous ingredients, with the flaky white fish doing a nice job of soaking up all the flavors. Come during lunch, pick up one of these big shareable bowls, and enjoy over warm rice. 955 S. Vermont Ave. —Matthew Kang

Spicy Korean fried chicken at OB Bear

A plate of reddish hued fried chicken.
Korean fried chicken at O.B. Bear
Cathy Chaplin

Named after a Seoul-based professional baseball team that was once sponsored by Oriental Brewery (OB), OB Bear is a festive pub that’s perfect for big groups with even bigger appetites. A soft spot for Korean grub paired with light beer is also a requirement. After ordering a pitcher or two of OB or Hite, settle into a platter of the spicy chicken wings. Twice-fried and lacquered in a sweet chili sauce, the wings bring on a sensational and addictive burn. A pub grub feast would not be complete without a plate of dukboki, Korean rice cakes with zucchini, onions, and fried fish cakes in a wildly spicy sauce. 3002 West 7th St. —Cathy Chaplin

Lamb skewers at Feng Mao

Skewers of grilled meat on a plate.
Lamb skewers at Feng Mao
[Official Photo]

Koreatown’s endless dumplings, big bowls of noodles, and sizzling stone platters of short rib are great and all, but the tight-knit neighborhood really excels in the arena of meat over flame. There are countless Korean barbecue joints across the Wilshire corridor, while down on Olympic it’s all about the cumin-drenched lamb skewers at stalwart Feng Mao. Each individually-crafted skewer gets laid over a charcoal grill with two different zones for cooking and keeping warm, while pillowy wisps of smoke imbue the whole meal with a primal sense of fire. Order the lamb skewers in batches along with a few drinks. For maximum effectiveness, don’t plan on going to any important meetings afterwards because the post-meal meat coma is very, very real. 3901 W. Olympic Blvd. —Farley Elliott

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