Nak Won House - 1001 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90006, 213-388-8889
(During my little LA vacay last week...) Lucky me to be escorted through Koreatown by such a devoted pal, Mimi (a real Korean born in Korea!). I love her... will drive ANYWHERE to satisfy a craving whether it be the poshest spot in town or the holiest hole in the wall (yo!). We had 45 minutes (typical drive from Malibu, sheesh) to decide on our lunch venue - either a meaty, laborious Korean bbq OR a mostly vegetarian traditional (don't get me wrong, TOTALLY delicious) Korean lunch, equally fab and entirely different.
We agreed it was way too early (not yet 11am) for open flames and do-it-yourself grilling. We went to Nak Won House, a clean friendly Korean diner (with a Korean staff) in a strip-mall with store-front glass, plenty of natural lighting, walls of itemized photos of the dishes. It was PERFECT!
Generous side dishes were brought out asap: bean sprouts, kimchi, potato salad, chili scallion dip, acorn or mungbean jelly, potato salad, sticky rice...and a tall pitcher of ice tea.
Kimchi, the famous (and most common) side dish in Korean cuisine. Typical ingredients are napa cabbage, garlic, ginger, chili, scallion.
A Korean potato salad, nice comfort food, chunky with carrots and red onion.
Nokdumuk, "Mungbean Jelly," (clear white color, made from mungbean starch) with a splash of soy sauce, chili and scallion. Some places serve the brown version, "acorn jelly," made from acorn starch, which is also regarded as a diet food. Yum!
Not sure what this is but it was dense and very good and, of course, spicy.
Sticky rice! The BEST.
Probably my fave, the ultimate vegan pancake. Dip into a spicy sesame scallion sauce.
Soup came out on a sizzling claypot...zucchini, enoki mushrooms, tofu, beef, scallion, egg and awesome spices.
Best girl-talk and bonding times are over fab food. We ate and ate until we could eat NO MORE. This mid-day FEAST fit for kings came to $22.50 before tip. (What value!)Leaving Koreatown...I love LA...
We even drove past a graffiti wall of posters reminiscent of a Mimi painting I started (years ago, never finished)...SAME crime-scene pose (well, only with clothes on) on the floor! We couldn't BELIEVE the likeness. Cool!