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10 Stellar Korean-Chinese Fusion Restaurants in Los Angeles

Noodles, check. Dumplings, check. And... kebabs?

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Korean-Chinese food is hard to nail down geographically; for one, there's the Korean-Chinese fusion from the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province, China on a border shared with North Korea. Then there's what most Korean folks in Seoul and the diaspora population stateside would consider Korean-Chinese fusion, which is largely derived from Incheon, a port city in South Korea where much of the country's Chinese immigrant population settled in the late 19th-to-early-20th century.

It's the latter where the dishes jjajangmyeon (caramelized black bean sauce noodles) and jjam ppong (spicy seafood noodles) became famous throughout the country to serve a utility that's not unlike its American Chinese counterpart: Quick, cheap, greasy sustenance.

It only stands to reason, then, that Korean Chinese food is a hit with the Korean immigrant communities, and subsequently finding new fans stateside, particularly in Los Angeles. The unique cultural cuisine leans heavily on dumplings with more ginger and scallions, and the aforementioned noodle dishes alongside some other re-invented Chinese favorites. It's to the point that a chain of Korean-Chinese noodle shops has emerged in L.A.'s Koreatown (one that I cannot, in good conscience, recommend). Here are 10 restaurants that Eater can recommend for Korean Chinese food in Los Angeles.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Lee's Noodles

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Though the methods are unorthodox in a way that might turn off purists, Lee’s Noodles dishes one of the best jjajangmyeons and jjam ppongs in the city. Don Shin (formerly General Manager of Lee Man Ku Kyodong Jjam Ppong, also on this list) takes grated sweet potato and gives what’s usually a greasy jjajang sauce some much-needed balance. The finely pureed sauce clings neatly to the restaurant’s thick and chewy hand-pulled noodles. As for the jjam ppong, Shin takes a page out of his former employer’s book (think massive mussels and big heat) but ups the ante with the aforementioned hand pulled noodles, which leads to a more substantive experience overall.

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Young King Chinese Restaurant

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Young King (also pronounced “Yeon Gyeong”) was the original go-to spot for a quick Korean-Chinese fix, and it’s still plenty serviceable with phenomenal old-school, thin-noodled jjajangmyeon. As always, make room for the proteins: Young King’s Korean-style kung pao shrimp is still the standard-bearer, with big, deep-fried shrimp slathered in that familiar spicy-savory sauce.

Lee Mangu Kyodong Jjamppong

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The jjam ppong is the star of the show at Kyodong, and for good reason: Big portions of fresh seafood and serious heat might lend Kyodong’s ambitiosn of opening a scalable franchise operation stateside some serious credibility.

Heung Rae Gak Chinese Restaurant

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A true O.G. in the game, Heung Rae Ghak is rather well-known for its stellar jjajangmyeon, but it’s another dish that might catch your eye. The Korean-Chinese-style mapo tofu (Koreans pronounce it “mappa dooboo”) is a saucy, mouth-watering rendition of the Sichuan favorite that comes served on a plate by itself. Top it over a bed of rice and mix it in to ease the heat.

Dragon Chinese Restaurant (용궁)

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Most Korean folks who’ve lived in Koreatown long enough will have been here at least once. The Dragon is the place for receptions, meetings and, of course, freshly fried tang-su-yook with the sauce poured over tableside for optimal crunchiness. The noodle offerings get a boost from sheer childhood nostalgia, but it’s also a capable (if not slightly gussied up) primer on how Korean-Chinese food actually tastes in South Korea. Make room for a real treat at the end: The Dragon’s sticky candied sweet potatoes, or goguma mattang, are a unique treat.

Pao Jao Dumpling House

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Pao Jao’s noodle offerings are pretty limited, but that’s not why you braved the lunch rush at the Koreatown Plaza food court. The shrimp dumplings are. The wrinkly, tenuously wrapped numbers come eight to an order for about $8. Given how they add a little spicy kick to the minced scallions, shrimp and create a nice crumble, though, it’s hard to complain. If you must (and you want to save money and fill some real estate), the seafood jjajangmyeon looks like a family-sized pasta at Buca di Beppo — and doesn’t taste half bad.

Peking China

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Who says you can’t have everything? Peking China offers the traditional Korean standbys (including the ever-elusive jjam-jja-myeon, or both jjajangmyeon and jjampong in a partitioned bowl for those of us who hate picking and choosing) alongside more traditionally Chinese dishes including xiao long bao. The dry version of the jjajangmyeon, also called gan jjajang, is particularly great here.

Zzamong

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Is it gimmicky? Do the waiters engage in silly tray-twirling stunts? Is there really a “fire jjam ppong challenge” and three-bowls-of-jjajangmyeon in 45 minutes challenge with victims’ Polaroids on the wall? In a pinch, does it get the job done? So, does that make it the Shin Sen Gumi of Korean-Chinese cuisine? Yes.

Feng Mao

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Feng Mao (or as a Korean-Chinese person might pronounce it, “Poong Moo”) is a region on the northern Korean-Chinese border, but Feng Mao Lamb Kebab has been a mainstay in the Koreatown for a white-hot minute. The shenjiangbao (small, bready pork dumplings akin to a miniature baozi with a nice crust on one side) are great, but most patrons will try the house specialty: The eponymous mutton kebabs are grilled over coals on a two-tiered setup that allows for an initial sear before cooking through on the cooler upper tier.

Yan Bian Restaurant

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Yan Bian Korean Autonomous Prefecture is (you guessed it) on the northern Korean-Chinese border, and the dishes are an interesting mash-up of Korean dishes with Chinese influences or vice-versa. For one, there’s ma la tang, which plays out kind of like your standard budae jjigae (spicy spam and tofu casserole) except there’s bok choy thrown in, and the Jilin japchae, a duochromatic number that takes the familiar stir fried glass noodles and throws in garlic and julienned chinese broccoli.

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Lee's Noodles

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Though the methods are unorthodox in a way that might turn off purists, Lee’s Noodles dishes one of the best jjajangmyeons and jjam ppongs in the city. Don Shin (formerly General Manager of Lee Man Ku Kyodong Jjam Ppong, also on this list) takes grated sweet potato and gives what’s usually a greasy jjajang sauce some much-needed balance. The finely pureed sauce clings neatly to the restaurant’s thick and chewy hand-pulled noodles. As for the jjam ppong, Shin takes a page out of his former employer’s book (think massive mussels and big heat) but ups the ante with the aforementioned hand pulled noodles, which leads to a more substantive experience overall.

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Young King Chinese Restaurant

Young King (also pronounced “Yeon Gyeong”) was the original go-to spot for a quick Korean-Chinese fix, and it’s still plenty serviceable with phenomenal old-school, thin-noodled jjajangmyeon. As always, make room for the proteins: Young King’s Korean-style kung pao shrimp is still the standard-bearer, with big, deep-fried shrimp slathered in that familiar spicy-savory sauce.

Lee Mangu Kyodong Jjamppong

The jjam ppong is the star of the show at Kyodong, and for good reason: Big portions of fresh seafood and serious heat might lend Kyodong’s ambitiosn of opening a scalable franchise operation stateside some serious credibility.

Heung Rae Gak Chinese Restaurant

A true O.G. in the game, Heung Rae Ghak is rather well-known for its stellar jjajangmyeon, but it’s another dish that might catch your eye. The Korean-Chinese-style mapo tofu (Koreans pronounce it “mappa dooboo”) is a saucy, mouth-watering rendition of the Sichuan favorite that comes served on a plate by itself. Top it over a bed of rice and mix it in to ease the heat.

Dragon Chinese Restaurant (용궁)

Most Korean folks who’ve lived in Koreatown long enough will have been here at least once. The Dragon is the place for receptions, meetings and, of course, freshly fried tang-su-yook with the sauce poured over tableside for optimal crunchiness. The noodle offerings get a boost from sheer childhood nostalgia, but it’s also a capable (if not slightly gussied up) primer on how Korean-Chinese food actually tastes in South Korea. Make room for a real treat at the end: The Dragon’s sticky candied sweet potatoes, or goguma mattang, are a unique treat.

Pao Jao Dumpling House

Pao Jao’s noodle offerings are pretty limited, but that’s not why you braved the lunch rush at the Koreatown Plaza food court. The shrimp dumplings are. The wrinkly, tenuously wrapped numbers come eight to an order for about $8. Given how they add a little spicy kick to the minced scallions, shrimp and create a nice crumble, though, it’s hard to complain. If you must (and you want to save money and fill some real estate), the seafood jjajangmyeon looks like a family-sized pasta at Buca di Beppo — and doesn’t taste half bad.

Peking China

Who says you can’t have everything? Peking China offers the traditional Korean standbys (including the ever-elusive jjam-jja-myeon, or both jjajangmyeon and jjampong in a partitioned bowl for those of us who hate picking and choosing) alongside more traditionally Chinese dishes including xiao long bao. The dry version of the jjajangmyeon, also called gan jjajang, is particularly great here.

Zzamong

Is it gimmicky? Do the waiters engage in silly tray-twirling stunts? Is there really a “fire jjam ppong challenge” and three-bowls-of-jjajangmyeon in 45 minutes challenge with victims’ Polaroids on the wall? In a pinch, does it get the job done? So, does that make it the Shin Sen Gumi of Korean-Chinese cuisine? Yes.

Feng Mao

Feng Mao (or as a Korean-Chinese person might pronounce it, “Poong Moo”) is a region on the northern Korean-Chinese border, but Feng Mao Lamb Kebab has been a mainstay in the Koreatown for a white-hot minute. The shenjiangbao (small, bready pork dumplings akin to a miniature baozi with a nice crust on one side) are great, but most patrons will try the house specialty: The eponymous mutton kebabs are grilled over coals on a two-tiered setup that allows for an initial sear before cooking through on the cooler upper tier.

Yan Bian Restaurant

Yan Bian Korean Autonomous Prefecture is (you guessed it) on the northern Korean-Chinese border, and the dishes are an interesting mash-up of Korean dishes with Chinese influences or vice-versa. For one, there’s ma la tang, which plays out kind of like your standard budae jjigae (spicy spam and tofu casserole) except there’s bok choy thrown in, and the Jilin japchae, a duochromatic number that takes the familiar stir fried glass noodles and throws in garlic and julienned chinese broccoli.

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