Bon Vivant's written and pictorial diary of her culinary adventures that will amuse and excite your virtual taste buds...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Koreatown Plaza Food(ie) Court

Here, Dear Reader, is a new feature: Guest Blogger! I want to thank Hiking Gourtmet T for writing this review:

Bon Vivant, Raven and I hit the Koreatown Plaza at Western and 9th Street at noon on a Sunday, ready to sample what its food court had to offer. Like those at most other malls, the food court was full of hustle and bustle and lacked much atmosphere. However, the food choices more than made up for it. Of the 10 or so food vendors in the food court, the primary dishes offered were Korean soups and stews, noodles and meat dishes.

After surveying the various choices, we each decided to get one dish and share. Bon Vivant had had her eye on Chew Young Roo’s dumplings since her last visit. Her order of the steamed dumplings, or mandu, consisted of four large dumplings, which resembled bao. Inside the warm, plump buns were a mixture of vegetables, including leeks and onions, sautéed in garlic, ginger and other flavors. The dough was fresh (you can watch them make the dumplings) and light, contrasting nicely with the flavorful vegetables and crunchy celery. The dish comes with a dipping sauce that tastes like soy sauce and vinegar. Four buns would be more than enough for a filling lunch.

At Gamja Bawi, which specializes in bibimbap, Raven ignored the cashier, who tried, yet again, to steer her toward the less interesting #1 bibimbap, and ordered the beef dolsot bibimbap. A mix of rice, vegetables, meat and a freshly cracked egg in a stone pot, the dish is filling and comforting. Like the dumplings, the mix of the soft rice and crunchy bean sprouts (with the bean) stood out. Richly flavored bits of beef add texture and flavor. It came with a variety of traditional Korean side dishes (panchan), as well as radish soup and seaweed soup, which are basically light broths.

I ordered cold noodles (neng myung) from Plaza. The thin noodles are served in a tin bowl, floating in a clear, thick, faintly sweet liquid, with cucumbers, a boiled egg and bean sprouts on top. The nest of noodles can be a little hard to untangle for the inexperienced. Both the noodles and the soup have a delicate flavor. While I enjoyed the noodles (I love noodles), the lack of a strong flavor in either the liquid or noodles left me feeling like something was missing. However, this was the third dish we sampled and thus the stronger flavors of the first two may have made noodles pale in contrast. I can also see how on a hot day, one would not want strong flavors drowning out the cool noodles.

Each dish was around $7, quite a bargain. I highly recommend a visit to Koreatown Plaza’s food court as well as a stroll around mall, especially some browsing time at The Plaza Market.

Editors Note: After Hiking Gourtmet T left, Raven and I went to get some pot bing soo:

Koreatown Plaza Food(ie) Court
928 S. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90006

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice guest review, T.! I love the Koreatown Plaza food court.

7:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually you add vinegar and hot mustard to the naeng myun (cold noodles. They give it to you bland so you can add to your liking. Galleria Food Court has lots to offer too.

3:42 PM

Blogger Heidi said...

Very nice!

11:45 PM

Blogger Bon Vivant said...

Hi, anon, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I actually like the broth the way it is but certainly wouldn't mind trying your suggestion, it could only improve it.

Heidi! When are you going to be the Guest Blogger?

Raven: looks like we'll have to check out the Galleria's food(ie) court.

5:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in!

(When it's Korean food, I'm always in!)

9:10 PM


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