I can’t make a visit to Los Angeles without visiting Koreatown. As much as I hate to admit it, the Bay Area has nothing on LA when it comes to Korean restaurants, and the last time I visited, I checked out Soowon Galbi in the heart of K-town. My colleagues and I were famished, and the intoxicating aroma of barbecued meat and garlicy banchan added to the torture while we waited to be seated.
Once we were seated, the soju was flowing, and meat was ordered. And I mean lots of meat. One beef short rib, pork belly, beef brisket, beef rib eye, and two platters of bulgogi were ordered, along with rice, salad, and radish soup. And banchan. Oh how the banchan overfloweth.
For good measure, we also ordered a seafood pancake, because why not? If you’re gonna go, go all the way.
The meat at Soowon Galbi was without question among the best Korean barbecue I’ve had. Tender, juicy, and flavorful, we sopped up every last bit with rice and palate-cleansing bites of banchan and soup in between. The seafood pancake was chewy and crispy, as it should be.
We walked back to our hotel that evening, trekking an hour from Koreatown to downtown LA. I don’t really want to think about how many calories we consumed that evening, but I do know one thing: it was absolutely worth it.