Korean Noodle Soup and Garlicky Kimchi Makes Myung Dong Kyo Ja A Great Wilshire Lunch Spot
There are friends in New York who would kill me for saying this (we abandoned them for the West coast in the dead of winter) but the past few days have been soup weather here in L.A., don’t you think? (Uh, it was cloudy the other day. That’s as a bad as it gets, here right?) I’m usually partial to the ramen (hello Daikokuya and Santouka!) but I’m always looking to branch out. So when a good friend offered to take me to his favorite spot for Kal Guk Soo, Korean knife cut noodle soup with ground beef and dumplings, I was all over it.
No banchan insanity at this place. All you get is the most garlicky kimchi you’ve ever had in your life, plus plain pickled napa cabbage (which is necessary as a kimchi chaser). The incredibly strong kimchi could be a good thing or a bad depending what you’re into. I say good, but I didn’t have to deal with co-workers after lunch (also, I’m married.) The kimchi is so garlicky, there is supposedly mouthwash available in the bathroom! Amazing.
The menu is pretty small, and there’s no bulgogi or bibimbap or soondubu. But that’s ok, because like most people who go to Myung Dong Kyo Ja we were there for the dumplings and the kal guk soo (the other dishes on the menu are for when it’s really hot out.)
The pork and leek filled dumplings ($7.99) come ten to an order, and are perfect for sharing. Shared between four people is the only way to keep things under the $10 Midtown Lunch’ing limit… but it kind of has to be done. Make sure to use the soy-based scallion-laced, dipping sauce on the table.
As for the kal guk soo ($7.99) it’s Korean comfort food through and through. The broth has a very mild flavor (I believe it’s chicken stock), with none of the greasiness (or as I call it, delicious fattiness!) that you find in, say, a bowl of tonkotsu ramen. Next time I’m sick, this is the soup I’ll want. The hand cut noodles were good (like a Korean fettuccine), although if you’re looking for a ton of bite you might be disappointed. It also had tasty ground beef and a few flat dumplings (so I guess technically you don’t have to order dumplings as an app to get your dumpling fix.) I was a fan, but half way through the bowl I was ready for a change. Hello kimchi!
A little bit goes a long way with this stuff… turning my mild soup, into a hot garlicky mess! How could that be bad?
The best part is, if you work on Wilshire in the Miracle Mile area this is a pretty great Korean lunch option. You’re no more than a 5-10 minute drive away, you don’t have to mess with the traffic of Western or Vermont, and they have $1 validated parking behind the restaurant (the second outdoor lot going South on Haravard, not the first. Just say you’re eating at Myung Dong Kyoja.)
This is my first taste of kal guk soo, so I can’t make any grand generalizations (best… soup… ever!) But if you’ve got a better suggestion, I’m all ears.
- I love dumplings and noodle soups
- I love places that do one or two things, and do them very well
- When it comes to kimchi, the more garlicky the better!
- The food comes out quick, but if you don’t have time they do package up orders to go
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Where’s the Korean BBQ!? Or the bibimbap!?
- I like kimchi, but going back to work after eating their version is a crime against your co-workers
- The broth is way too mild. I like my soups to be more flavorful.
- This place used to be a lot better… it’s gone downhill recently
Myung Dong Kyoja, 3630 Wilshire Boulevard (on Harvard), 213-385-7789