While describing LA’s sushi scene in a 2010 op-ed in LA Magazine, actor John Cho made a powerful statement about the power of nostalgia and its ability to preserve an immigrant’s culture.
”The generations that immigrated here in the ‘70s and ‘80s are more Korean than Koreans are,” Cho wrote. “They carried this culture and preserved it in a jar in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, back in Korea, the culture did what it does: It evolved. You go back to Korea, and it’s culture shock. So bizarrely enough, this snapshot of Korean culture only exists in America.”
As Koreatown blossoms as a dining destination, it also takes on a character similar to Seoul. Though some of those great old establishments have stood guard for the better part of the last half century, rapidly increasing rents have led to parts of the city being more given to the motherland’s progressive machinations. Further south in Orange County and Southeast LA, however, the heart of an immigrant generation is still beating, steadfast in a commitment to regional cuisines and traditional preparations, undeterred by the whims of change.
It might take a little driving, but the finest Korean food in Orange County doesn’t just rival its Los Angeles counterparts — sometimes it surpasses Koreatown’s offerings entirely. Here are some of the region’s standouts.
Added: Han Nam Udon & Sushi, Ye Dang, So Moon Nan Wang Jokbal, Gaenari Bon Ga
Removed: Hamjipark, BBQ Chicken, Bonchon, Kang Ho Dong BaekjeongRead More