Bud Namu Proves That the Best $10 AYCE Korean BBQ Deal is the Newest AYCE Korean BBQ Deal

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When most people in L.A. talk about loving Korean food, they’re usually talking about Korean BBQ.  And even more specifically than that, all you can eat Korean BBQ.  But not all ayce Korean BBQ lovers are created equal, and opinions can range from the wildly enthusiastic (“I am a fatso… let’s do it!”) to the mildly exuberant (“You know all you can eat Korean BBQ isn’t even that popular in Korea.  It’s totally an American thing.”  ”So you don’t want to go?”  ”What are you talking about!?  Of course I want to go!”) to the reluctantly excited (“I’ll go… but I’m totally not going to eat that much.”) And within that group there is even a smaller subsect of ayce Korean BBQ lovers who will only eat at $9.99 all you can eat Korean BBQ places for lunch. And that’s where you’ll find me.  After all, why pay $16-25 for something you can get during lunch for just $10.  Added bonus?  You have the rest of the day to recover.

My journey to find the best $10 all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurant has taken me through many body sacrificing lunches… from Tahoe Galbi (which now features Brazilian BBQ!?), to the always reliable Choi Gah Neh, which were both blown away by newcomer Don Day, which I raved about back in June.  But after a return visit to Don Day last month left me a bit disappointed, my search for the best $10 ayce Korean BBQ lunch deal began again.  So when I read that a new Korean BBQ place had opened on Ardmore and 8th called Bud Namu, and they were offering a $10 all you can eat lunch option for a limited time only, it wasn’t long before I made it over there to stuff my face.

Just because an all you can eat BBQ place is good for dinner, doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for lunch- especially if it’s $9.99.  Usually they will offer a limited number of meats, and it’s obviously not going to be the good stuff.  Brisket and pork belly are the industry standards of the $10 ayce menu, anything else is just gravy.  What’s great about new places is that they tend to offer more meats (and better meats), at a loss, to entice people like me to come in and try it.   And Bud Namu is no exception.

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For $9.99 you get brisket, pork belly, and beef belly, plus beef bulgogi, and marinated chicken thighs.  There’s also a stomach/tripe option, but unless you love the stuff and have somebody there who is confident cooking it, I’d pass.

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The banchan is fairly minimal, and not too exciting, unless you get super excited about acorn jelly.  They also give you steamed egg custard, salad, and a small bowl of doenjang jjigae (reddish soybean stew).  Apparently they didn’t have the square rice paper wrappers when they first opened (dduk) but now they do, if you ask for them of course.  We also had to ask for doenjang, the soybean paste that most places usually give you automatically.

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And if you’re the kind of sucker that has to ask for rice when you eat at all you can eat Korean BBQ places, you’ll be happy to know it’s the purple kind.  (Delicious!)

In the end it was a good meal for $10, and if you’re a fan of bulgogi it’s an absolute steal. But I’ve learned my lesson from Don Day.  If it only costs $10 it can’t be this good for too long.  The menu also makes it seem like eventually they will be raising the price to $13, so either way the price will go up or the quality will likely go down.  And then it’s off to a newer all you can eat Korean bbq place…

Bud Namu, 809 S Ardmore Ave. 213-385-9292

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