Gaju Naengmyeon Out School Food’s School Food
If you had asked me a few months ago where I like to go for kimbap (think: Korean futomaki) in L.A. I would have said School Food. Their massive platters of Korean sushi feature over 10 different kinds of kimbap, a selection that I believe is unparalleled in K-Town. But there are drawbacks to School Food, not least of which is price, its horrible location (on the top floor of a weird Korean mall on Western), and the fact that I’m not a Korean teenager. But now that Squid Ink’s Garrett Snyder has clued me in to Gaju Naengmyeon, I now have a kimbap alternative that doesn’t make me feel like a sketchy old man.
Gaju Naengmyeon has 7 different kinds of rolls, all available behind the counter for $7 each. There’s cheese, tuna, kimchi, sesame leaf, beef, fish cake, or sausage (which turned out to be hot dog.)
Despite being pre-packaged the kimbap is super fresh, corroborating the sign behind the counter that assures you the containers will only sit out for a short amount of time before being replaced with newer creations. Also, it ends up being a ton of food for the price- the equivalent of 3 sushi rolls. (You can’t really tell without looking close, but there is a second layer underneath the 3 face up pieces.)
But kimbap isn’t the only worthwhile lunch at this little spot. They have a full menu of typical after school type meals/snacks.)
Including a solid version of dukkboki (rice cakes in a sweet and spicy gojuchang sauce), that sports a generous amount of fish cake.
And and equally good version of bibim naengmyeon, which I mentioned as one of the 6 cold noodle dishes I’ve come to love this summer.
Even the banchan is solid, and typical for a place like this. Two kinds of kimchi, potato salad, soy sauce jalapenos with ginger, and more fish cake (of course!)
Sure, the mega platter at School Food is still tempting. But Gaju Naengmyeon will definitely make me think twice the next time that kimbap and dukkboki craving hits.
Gaju Naengmyeon, 3839 Wilshire Blvd, Koreatown.