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Naengmyeon from Yu Chun in Koreatown
Naengmyeon from Yu Chun in Koreatown
Matthew Kang

Where to Get the Best Korean Noodles in LA, From Ice Cold to Piping Hot

From cold naengmyeon to steaming hot knife-cut noodles in LA’s Koreatown

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Naengmyeon from Yu Chun in Koreatown
| Matthew Kang

When it comes to noodles from East Asian cultures, Korean cuisine boasts a staggering breadth of flavors and ways to enjoy the starchy staple at prices in Los Angeles that are generally reasonable. From refreshing, vinegary cold flour noodles (dongchimi guksu) to savory, deeply caramelized Korean-Chinese black bean noodles (jjajangmyeon) to knife-cut noodles in piping hot clam-and-green-onion-based broths and more, there's a noodle dish for just about every occasion. Here now, presented from west to east, the best Korean noodles in Los Angeles.

Removed (June 2018): Tofu & Noodles, Ham Ji Park, Chosun Galbee

Added (June 2018): Bukchon, California Market, Yuk Dae Jang, Hong Kong Ban Jum 0410, Ojangdong

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kalguksu at Bukchon

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361 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Don’t let the dodgy strip mall location off Western deceive: Bukchon’s wood-adorned, elegant Old World-style interiors house one of the city’s more unapologetically traditionalist menus. Between the soojaebi (Korean soup with torn pasta) and samgyetang (Korean chicken soup) is a kalguksu that’s gaining serious buzz around town. The clam kalguksu has a refreshing broth and is adorned with buchu, or flat garlic chive, and the anchovy is as worthy a bowl of soup noodles as any in town. Though a relative newcomer, expect the restaurant to become one of the city’s strip mall stalwarts.

2. Kongguksu at Ma Dang Gook Soo

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860 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 487-6008

Chef Danny Lee is still killing the noodle game in Los Angeles, but his chewy noodles are perhaps best in one of the most divisive (and funky) broths this side of the Pacific Ocean: kong-guksu, or soybean broth cold noodles. It's akin to eating noodles steeped in soy milk, except this version of soy milk is made fresh on premises and lends itself well to a pairing with a vinegary, punchy bit of kimchi. It's not only a healthy source of protein, but it's an incredibly popular dish for Koreans in the summer months as an alternative to naengmyeon.

3. Janchi guksu at California Market

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1, 450 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 382-9444
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Korean banquet noodles, or janchi guksu, are proof that Korean flavors aren’t necessarily a dialed-up, in-your-face affair. The noodle and gimbap stand at California Market might adorn their janchi guksu with a generous helping of scallion, but the dish is still a refreshing exercise in finesse — the clean anchovy based broth closely resembles a Japanese dashi broth without the smokiness afforded by bonito. With a helping hand from zucchini, puffy morsels of fried bean curd and zucchini for texture, it’s a slightly unorthodox but delicious rendition of the Korean wedding favorite.

4. Mulnaengmyeon at Ojangdong

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4301 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

This Korean import serves Ham Heung-style mulnaengmyeon, where the noodles are typically made from sweet potato starch. The dish is deceptively simple, but Ojangdong’s refreshing rendition of both bibimnaengmyeon (spicy Korean cold noodles) and mulnaengmyeon merit a try. In the latter dish, Ojangdong’s fantastic, chewy noodles and the depth of flavor in the beef broth align to give Yu Chun a serious run for the city’s best.

5. Chik Naengmyeon at Yu Chun

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3185 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 382-3815

Koreatown cold noodle darling Yu Chun prides itself on the quality of its beef broth enough to dole it out in little complimentary cups — it’s this beef broth that serves as the base for its famous mulnaengmyeon, and Yuchun’s rendition is best enjoyed with the dark kudzu starch noodles, otherwise known as chik naengmyeon. Remember to ease in the mustard and vinegar — there are no refunds for ruined bowls.

6. Kalguksu at Myung Dong Kyoja

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3630 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 385-7789

Myung Dong's kalguksu refers to a posh district in Seoul, north of the Han River (Gangbuk) where there is actually an alley of competing kalguksu spots squeezed into one small area. Though the kalguksu at Myung Dong Kyoja don't quite match up to the noodle shacks in the district it references (by a long shot, actually), it's still a strong rendition of the dish, with a flavorful, thick broth serving as the base for less-than-chewy noodles topped with ground beef. The kimchi here is notoriously garlic-heavy and great for dunking in the soup to give it a little heat and extra flavor.

7. Milmyeon at Hangari Bajirak Kalguksoo

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3470 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Sure, the clam knife-nut noodles are a direct translation of the restaurant's name, but the dish with more relevance for LA residents might be the milmyeon, or Busan-style cold noodles. Similar to naengmyeon, the meaty broth uses more flour in the noodles and comes laced with a healthy dollop of gochujang to spice up the proceedings.

8. Jaengban Jjajangmyeon at Paik’s Noodle House

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3470 W 6th St Ste 11
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 389-0410
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Sure, Paik’s Noodle House’s jaengban jjajangmyeon could look better — it’s a stir-fried mess of black bean sauce, pork, shrimp and vegetables on a plate intended for two — but it’s likely no one cares when it tastes as good as it does. The slightly spicy version of the Korean Chinese classic is cheap, greasy, carbohydrate-laden junk food of the most crave-worthy order.

9. Jjajangmyeon at China Gate Chinese Restaurant

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979 Dewey Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 384-1119

China Gate has been a fixture in Koreatown for decades, and their jjajangmyeon is as delicious as ever. With a chewy bed of flour noodles adorned with nice thick cubes of pork and a sauce that's just the right side of greasy and savory, it's classic Korean-Chinese comfort food served up in no-frill digs a little north of Dewey Ave. and Olympic Blvd.

10. Japchae at Jeon Ju

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2716 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

At every Korean BBQ outing, there is one unscrupulous person at your table who will survey the banchan, grab the dish of japchae and put it near them. They will proceed to eat the whole thing before the grill starts to get warm. Find that person, and take them to Jeon Ju, and order a plate of their perfectly made, Korean-party-ready japchae. Make sure to bring a book or have some reading material on your phone to avoid looking weird eating by yourself.

11. Jjamppong and Jjajangmyeon at Lee's Noodles

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401 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Whether it's jjajangmyeon or jjamppong, you can't really go wrong with the Korean Chinese options at Lee's Noodles. The jjajangmyeon isn't a traditional rendition (it uses the same hand-pulled noodles from the jjamppong, for one), but it's addictive eating if you're a fan of the caramelized black bean sauce being rounded out with a bit of sweetness. Bits of grated sweet potato give it a welcome texture that thwarts some of the usual greasiness and gives the jjajang sauce a texture similar to a fine Bolognese.

12. Jjajangmyeon and Jjampong at The Dragon

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966 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 387-8833
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The jjajangmyeon and jjampong at Yong-Goong (or Dragon) invokes a certain type of nostalgia for Korean Americans who have had the experience of dining here for weddings, first birthdays, or perhaps a certain mom's Korean American Librarians and Information Professionals meetings (don't ask). The jjampong doesn't skimp on the seafood, and the heat from the spices can reach pretty extreme levels. Worthy side dishes include an order of tangsuyuk (Korean sweet and sour pork) or the Dragon's tender Mongolian Beef.

13. Jangban Guksu at Kobawoo House

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698 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 389-7300

Kobawoo's most famous non-bossam dish is the jangban guksu, and with good reason. The cold, chewy acorn-starch noodles are counter-balanced with the crunchy texture of thinly sliced red cabbage, carrots and cucumbers. Mixed together, it's something like a Korean noodle salad, with gochujang spice binding the entire light and refreshing experience with savory and sweet undertones.

14. Dongchimi Guksu at The Corner Place (길목)

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2819 James M Wood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 487-0968
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As long as the recipe doesn't change, few places are as worthy of being a permanent fixture on any "best Korean noodles" list as The Corner Place's dongchimi guksu. Refreshing, acidic, vinegary broth is paired with a bed of flour noodles that are simply gone too soon. Pair it with some solid barbecue for an optimal experience — or just order another bowl.

15. Yuk Dae Jang

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3033 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 352-1331
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Yukgaejang, or Korean-style spicy beef soup, exists in a gray area of “soups with some noodles” alongside seolleongtang and gukbap where the noodles (usually dangmyeon, or glass noodles) are a relatively minor aspect of the dish. Enter Yuk Dae Jang, which takes one of Korea’s most beloved dishes and adds a healthy helping of wheat flour-based, hand-pulled knife-cut noodles. Traditionalist chefs might be given to pearl-clutching to see Korean royal court food sullied with such nonstandard ingredients as knife-cut noodles in a yukgaejang. With the city’s current obsession with thicker, hand-pulled noodles in noodle soups, however, the reimagining feels timely — and it tastes delicious.

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1. Kalguksu at Bukchon

361 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Don’t let the dodgy strip mall location off Western deceive: Bukchon’s wood-adorned, elegant Old World-style interiors house one of the city’s more unapologetically traditionalist menus. Between the soojaebi (Korean soup with torn pasta) and samgyetang (Korean chicken soup) is a kalguksu that’s gaining serious buzz around town. The clam kalguksu has a refreshing broth and is adorned with buchu, or flat garlic chive, and the anchovy is as worthy a bowl of soup noodles as any in town. Though a relative newcomer, expect the restaurant to become one of the city’s strip mall stalwarts.

361 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020

2. Kongguksu at Ma Dang Gook Soo

860 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Chef Danny Lee is still killing the noodle game in Los Angeles, but his chewy noodles are perhaps best in one of the most divisive (and funky) broths this side of the Pacific Ocean: kong-guksu, or soybean broth cold noodles. It's akin to eating noodles steeped in soy milk, except this version of soy milk is made fresh on premises and lends itself well to a pairing with a vinegary, punchy bit of kimchi. It's not only a healthy source of protein, but it's an incredibly popular dish for Koreans in the summer months as an alternative to naengmyeon.

860 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005

3. Janchi guksu at California Market

1, 450 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Korean banquet noodles, or janchi guksu, are proof that Korean flavors aren’t necessarily a dialed-up, in-your-face affair. The noodle and gimbap stand at California Market might adorn their janchi guksu with a generous helping of scallion, but the dish is still a refreshing exercise in finesse — the clean anchovy based broth closely resembles a Japanese dashi broth without the smokiness afforded by bonito. With a helping hand from zucchini, puffy morsels of fried bean curd and zucchini for texture, it’s a slightly unorthodox but delicious rendition of the Korean wedding favorite.

1, 450 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020

4. Mulnaengmyeon at Ojangdong

4301 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

This Korean import serves Ham Heung-style mulnaengmyeon, where the noodles are typically made from sweet potato starch. The dish is deceptively simple, but Ojangdong’s refreshing rendition of both bibimnaengmyeon (spicy Korean cold noodles) and mulnaengmyeon merit a try. In the latter dish, Ojangdong’s fantastic, chewy noodles and the depth of flavor in the beef broth align to give Yu Chun a serious run for the city’s best.

4301 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

5. Chik Naengmyeon at Yu Chun

3185 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

Koreatown cold noodle darling Yu Chun prides itself on the quality of its beef broth enough to dole it out in little complimentary cups — it’s this beef broth that serves as the base for its famous mulnaengmyeon, and Yuchun’s rendition is best enjoyed with the dark kudzu starch noodles, otherwise known as chik naengmyeon. Remember to ease in the mustard and vinegar — there are no refunds for ruined bowls.

3185 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

6. Kalguksu at Myung Dong Kyoja

3630 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Myung Dong's kalguksu refers to a posh district in Seoul, north of the Han River (Gangbuk) where there is actually an alley of competing kalguksu spots squeezed into one small area. Though the kalguksu at Myung Dong Kyoja don't quite match up to the noodle shacks in the district it references (by a long shot, actually), it's still a strong rendition of the dish, with a flavorful, thick broth serving as the base for less-than-chewy noodles topped with ground beef. The kimchi here is notoriously garlic-heavy and great for dunking in the soup to give it a little heat and extra flavor.

3630 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

7. Milmyeon at Hangari Bajirak Kalguksoo

3470 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Sure, the clam knife-nut noodles are a direct translation of the restaurant's name, but the dish with more relevance for LA residents might be the milmyeon, or Busan-style cold noodles. Similar to naengmyeon, the meaty broth uses more flour in the noodles and comes laced with a healthy dollop of gochujang to spice up the proceedings.

3470 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

8. Jaengban Jjajangmyeon at Paik’s Noodle House

3470 W 6th St Ste 11, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Sure, Paik’s Noodle House’s jaengban jjajangmyeon could look better — it’s a stir-fried mess of black bean sauce, pork, shrimp and vegetables on a plate intended for two — but it’s likely no one cares when it tastes as good as it does. The slightly spicy version of the Korean Chinese classic is cheap, greasy, carbohydrate-laden junk food of the most crave-worthy order.

3470 W 6th St Ste 11
Los Angeles, CA 90020

9. Jjajangmyeon at China Gate Chinese Restaurant

979 Dewey Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006

China Gate has been a fixture in Koreatown for decades, and their jjajangmyeon is as delicious as ever. With a chewy bed of flour noodles adorned with nice thick cubes of pork and a sauce that's just the right side of greasy and savory, it's classic Korean-Chinese comfort food served up in no-frill digs a little north of Dewey Ave. and Olympic Blvd.

979 Dewey Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006

10. Japchae at Jeon Ju

2716 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

At every Korean BBQ outing, there is one unscrupulous person at your table who will survey the banchan, grab the dish of japchae and put it near them. They will proceed to eat the whole thing before the grill starts to get warm. Find that person, and take them to Jeon Ju, and order a plate of their perfectly made, Korean-party-ready japchae. Make sure to bring a book or have some reading material on your phone to avoid looking weird eating by yourself.

2716 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

11. Jjamppong and Jjajangmyeon at Lee's Noodles

401 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Whether it's jjajangmyeon or jjamppong, you can't really go wrong with the Korean Chinese options at Lee's Noodles. The jjajangmyeon isn't a traditional rendition (it uses the same hand-pulled noodles from the jjamppong, for one), but it's addictive eating if you're a fan of the caramelized black bean sauce being rounded out with a bit of sweetness. Bits of grated sweet potato give it a welcome texture that thwarts some of the usual greasiness and gives the jjajang sauce a texture similar to a fine Bolognese.

401 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020

12. Jjajangmyeon and Jjampong at The Dragon

966 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006

The jjajangmyeon and jjampong at Yong-Goong (or Dragon) invokes a certain type of nostalgia for Korean Americans who have had the experience of dining here for weddings, first birthdays, or perhaps a certain mom's Korean American Librarians and Information Professionals meetings (don't ask). The jjampong doesn't skimp on the seafood, and the heat from the spices can reach pretty extreme levels. Worthy side dishes include an order of tangsuyuk (Korean sweet and sour pork) or the Dragon's tender Mongolian Beef.

966 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006

13. Jangban Guksu at Kobawoo House

698 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Kobawoo's most famous non-bossam dish is the jangban guksu, and with good reason. The cold, chewy acorn-starch noodles are counter-balanced with the crunchy texture of thinly sliced red cabbage, carrots and cucumbers. Mixed together, it's something like a Korean noodle salad, with gochujang spice binding the entire light and refreshing experience with savory and sweet undertones.

698 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005

14. Dongchimi Guksu at The Corner Place (길목)

2819 James M Wood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

As long as the recipe doesn't change, few places are as worthy of being a permanent fixture on any "best Korean noodles" list as The Corner Place's dongchimi guksu. Refreshing, acidic, vinegary broth is paired with a bed of flour noodles that are simply gone too soon. Pair it with some solid barbecue for an optimal experience — or just order another bowl.

2819 James M Wood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

15. Yuk Dae Jang

3033 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Yukgaejang, or Korean-style spicy beef soup, exists in a gray area of “soups with some noodles” alongside seolleongtang and gukbap where the noodles (usually dangmyeon, or glass noodles) are a relatively minor aspect of the dish. Enter Yuk Dae Jang, which takes one of Korea’s most beloved dishes and adds a healthy helping of wheat flour-based, hand-pulled knife-cut noodles. Traditionalist chefs might be given to pearl-clutching to see Korean royal court food sullied with such nonstandard ingredients as knife-cut noodles in a yukgaejang. With the city’s current obsession with thicker, hand-pulled noodles in noodle soups, however, the reimagining feels timely — and it tastes delicious.

3033 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

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