It know it’s hard to believe, but a lot of people are starting to come around to the idea that Los Angeles’ Koreatown might have better food than Korea itself. All you can eat barbecue places, which Koreans will tell you are as Korean as sushi is Japanese, act as a magnet for meat lovers all over the city, but it’s the spaces in between that make K-Town truly special. Combine the highest population density in the city with a culture that likes going out to eat its own food, and the result is a seemingly endless wishlist of quality lunches waiting to be explored.
The most recent development in K-Town’s ongoing evolution is that it’s not even enough to just have a speciality anymore. You’ve got to do your specialty well enough (or some sort of gimmick) to attract people away from the other 5 places that specialize in the same thing. Take seolleongtang, the cloudy ox bone noodle soup that comes to the table bland, and requires the diner to add salt and scallions to taste. Hat Bat has long been considered the go to place of choice, but Young Dong has carved out their own fan base from those looking for a cleaner, less murky broth. Technically they serve the same dish, but it be impossible to say which is better. Both are great in their own way, both are extremely popular.
So how does a new place like Sun Nong Dan make headway against these two established soup specialists? Funny enough, with head, actually. And feet. And a surprisingly spectacular version of braised Korean short ribs.