Yu Chun Naeng Myun (Ktown)

Yu Chun Neang MyunYu Chun Naeng Myun was brought to my attention by this post on delicious coma. The restaurant specializes in those toothsome cold Korean noodles, which made it the perfect choice for lunch one hot day last week.

The restaurant, located in the heart of Korea town, is on one leg of an L-shaped strip mall sharing a parking lot with some other businesses. The lot is small and there were no vacancies, so I just parked at an open spot on the street. Most of the servers only speak Korean with very rudimentary understanding of English, so either take a Korean-speaker with you if you want to ask questions, or just point and nod at menu. I did the latter.

The menu is limited, but it does have English translations under most choices. Since it was my first time there, I wanted to eat what the restaurant’s known for, so I ordered the spicy beef and raw fish cold noodles ($10).

The bowl of noodles and toppings came out along with a smaller bowl of iced soup, almost like a savory slushy. After the waitress cut my noddles with some scissors, I dumped the soup into the bowl and mixed, mixed, mixed.

One slurp and I was glad I braved the LA traffic to lunch at Yu Chun. The noodles were thin, chewy, and perfect. The soup was a healthy balance of tang and a little spice and had a savory richness that I can only guess comes from some sort of meat broth. The couple slices of beef in the soup were quickly devoured and I was left chewing on bite after bite of noodles with some raw fish and pickled veggies thrown in — not that I minded. The raw fish was hardly noticeable covered in the ample red chili paste. They didn’t taste fishy at all. The pickled veggies and red chili paste are a little pungent, like all good Korean pickles are, so don’t eat here if you’re going to meet a client afterward.

Yu Chun has a couple variations of the cold noodles, but what also caught my eye were the large dumplings on the menu. I’m definitely going to have to drag a friend with me next time so I can have my noodles and order the dumplings.

Yu Chun Naeng Myun
3185 W Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Yu Chun Naeng Myun in Los Angeles

Ma Dang Gook Su

Ma Dang Gook Su sits in a ubiquitous strip mall in K-town. If it didn’t have an unintentionally funny name, I wouldn’t have noticed it the couple times I drove by on Western. But because of that, it stuck in my head for a few months until I finally went to try it last night.

Ma Dang Gook Su

Like any decent Korean restaurant, we were presented with a couple plates of panchan as soon as we ordered. The kimchi was good and fermented, but not overly spicy or sour. There were also two shallow bowls of dongchimi: one with cabbage and carrots, the other with thin slices of radish and ice. The cabbage and carrots dongchimi was refreshing with that slightly carbonated taste that comes from fermentation.

Ma Dang Gook Su

For the vegan, we ordered thin noodles in a soy-bean broth. Originally, we wanted the handmade noodles, but it turned out those noodles had egg in them so they offered to make it with thin noodles. These were the chewy yam-flour noodles, I believe.

The soy-bean broth was incredibly creamy and had a strong nutty flavor, probably from sesame seeds. The broth was so creamy that we both thought there was milk in it, but since neither the vegan nor I had any ill side-effects after dinner, it’s possible that it’s dairy-free. I liked the creamy broth and chewy noodles, but the vegan thought the whole bowl was too bland.

Ma Dang Gook Su

I ordered a bowl of their house-made noodles with broth and clams. The noodles were chewy, but the outside was slightly soggy, as if they cooked their noodles at too high of a temperature. The broth was rich and thick, probably from the starch of the noodles. The clams weren’t anything special. As a whole, the bowl of noodles were simple and comforting.

Ma Dang Gook SuAfter I started digging into my bowl of noodles, the vegan noticed that some tables had a little jar of sauce that we didn’t have. I asked the waitress for some and she plopped down this jar of chili sauce. I put a couple healthy spoonfuls into my bowl and the soup instantly transformed into something ten times better. The sauce was salty, savory, spicy, and oniony all at the same time. I’m going to make sure to ask for this first thing the next time I come here.

Ma Dang Gook Su isn’t somewhere I’d go out of the way to eat at, but it was a good option that night because we were in the neighborhood. The hand-made noodles taste better than store-bought noodles, but I’ve had better. The waitresses speak very little English, which might be a hindrance to some, but they were nice and tried to answer our questions about the menu (which does come in English). The place seemed to have strictly a Korean clientele while I was there, which I guess means it has some authenticity. They’re cash only and our meal turned out to be $16 and some change sans tip.

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Ma Dang Gook Su
869 S Western Ave
Ste 1
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 487-6008

Dinner: Dduk Soup

Dduk soupI was craving something simple and comfy, which prompted me to make dduk soup tonight for dinner. It’s just dduk (Korean for pounded rice-ovals), napa cabbage, seaweed, silken tofu, cremini mushrooms, green onions, carrots, and swirled eggs. I just seasoned it with salt to taste and then topped each bowl off with sesame oil. The starchiness of the rice gave the broth a nicely thick mouth-feel.

The whole meal was quick to make. It took maybe half an hour. It’s an easy one-pot meal and I like that it has all of the food groups covered.

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a simple, slightly-bland meal to reset your palate after eating too much rich stuff.