One of the most famous areas for good Korean food in Los Angeles is… Koreatown. Duh. But seriously, if you’re hankering for good Korean BBQ, this is your spot. We’d been driving around all day and were pretty exhausted and not even hungry by this point (roughly 9pm).
Nothing came up on Zomato or Yelp and we’d pretty much given up hope. We were one bad GPS instruction away from pulling into a McDonald’s and ordering a basic bitch burger. When all of a sudden, we pulled into a random strip mall/plaza thing and wandered into To Dam Gol.
We made short work of the menu and placed our orders pretty quick. Like any legit Korean restaurant, you get a bunch of banchan, or appies, before your meal comes. These are small tapa-like dishes with (often spicy) veggies to whet your appetite. Ours tonight consisted of bean sprouts, potato, assorted veggies, and kim chi OF COURSE.
We decided the best course of action was to order a variety and share everything since this was our first venture into “Asian” food in LA. The Vancouverites spearheaded the choices with some of our favourites.
In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t tried bibimbap yet, you need to get on that shiz. Even Earls Vancouver offer this popular dish on their features menu, among others like tuna poké. (G: Seriously? Are all the chain restaurants in Vancouver having an identity crisis or something?)
Bibimbap is served in a sizzling stone bowl with rice, seasonal veggies, gochujang (chilli pepper paste), beef, soy sauce or doenjang (bean paste) and topped with a raw or fried egg.
This hot dish is stirred just before eating to cook the raw egg and mix all the spices together. Did someone say COMFORT FOOD?
The Norwegians had never had japchae before—sweet potato noodles or dangmyeon, sliced veggies, usually some type of seasoned meat (ours came with chicken), and topped with sesame seeds. It can be served hot or cold and it’s usually cooked with sesame oil.
This was some yummy shit. Easily comparable to the best japchae we’ve had in Vancouver, if not better. The mix of sweet and savoury flavours here, with that hint of sesame oil, just rocked our world.
Because we were a little light on meat, we got some grilled chicken on a sizzling plate. We didn’t know how long they marinated the meat, but it was singing with flavour, as you might be able to tell from the light char marks.
Nelson and Grace also insisted we try seafood pancake, or pajeon. (Pa means green onions, and jeon means anything dipped in batter and pan-fried… so there you go, that’s basically the dish lol.) If this photo reminds you of its Japanese cousin, okonomiyaki, then DAMN, you got a good eye.
With a base of eggs, flour, rice flour, and lots of green onions, pajeon can be made with seafood or other types of meat. This was perfectly fried—the outside was crispy, and the inside was soft and almost gooey. On. Point.
Stumbling upon To Dam Gol for delish late night eats was more than what we could’ve asked for. Each plate came at random from the kitchen as soon as it was ready and we even had some leftovers to take home which Jojo ate the next day (hungover, of course).
This was also one of the few meals we ate without gettin’ boozy. But ya know. Right after dinner…