A crazy eatery in this post earned itself the following shiny awards:
[Insert apology and excuse for a month’s absence from blogging.] And now we can move on.
One benefit of USC’s location is a proximity to K-Town, and its diversity of business, from restaurants to pharmacies to a store called, directly, “PUPPIES!!!” Not to make an awkward segue into eating, but our little group hopped in the car and headed to Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ on 6th street.
Having arrived at around 5:30, we had to valet our car. In a strip mall. That should have been the first warning, but we sidled up and accepted our 30 minute wait.
Waiting 30 minutes when you haven’t eaten all day is bad. Waiting 30 minutes in front of a façade actively pumping out meat fumes is pretty much torture (but more on that smell later).
Finally, after much salivating and glaring at other parties, we were sat and my friend explained how it worked: you sit. They bring out little bowls of sides, and then you order massive bowls of raw meat. They throw it on a smoking hot plate in front of you, you cook it up, and shove that meat in your face to the point of explosion.
Need anything, like perhaps water, more buckets of meat, or a hunky Korean man with strong forearms to cut your squid? You ring a little doorbell next to your table.
And I recommend for newbies, you abuse the hell out of that little doorbell. Cutting strips of scalding meat with a pair of shears (no knives here) takes skill a white girl from rural Maryland does not have.
We ate. And ate. And ate. The sides were plentiful and tasty, from a fermented bean sauce that funked me out a bit to mashed potatoes with apples in them to a spicy fish cake that was awesome. And we ordered a kimchi pancake that was salty sweet and rich.
But naturally, the meat was the star. We started with kogi, beef and pork belly; the latter two were my favorites. We then went all adventurous and got squid. Which wasn’t nice calamari strips, but a huge, whole, giant squid. Worth it for novelty’s sake, but definitely not on my return list. Our final bucket of meat was chicken, a return of beef, and pork shoulder. Surprisingly, the chicken we steered clear of initially was damn good and packed the most flavor of the bunch.
Now, at this point, there were little piles of uneaten squid and beef accumulating around our table. Our pace had slowed from a pack of famished hyenas to something better illustrated by a Monty Python skit (just one little mint?). By the time we cleared space on the plate for fried rice to be made, we were groaning. And those odorous clouds of meat-scent that were so alluring at the beginning of the night? Nauseating. Y
We payed our AYCE price, waddled out, and bemoaned that we all had to dry clean the suits we were wearing. The place was JAMMED, with an hour wait at 7pm, and we were glad we were heading out. I came home and shoved my arm into my boyfriends face: “What do I smell like?!” “Steak!” was the answer, more chipper than I expected.
All in all, I loved it. AYCE meat, a little on-demand doorbell, free perfume that works on both men and wild dogs—it was an absolute blast. My advice: go soon, wear clothes you can bury in the bottom of a hamper, and get there early.
So, without further ado: The Breakdown for KBBQ at Hae Jang Chon!
It’s been a while since the tentacle badge was broken out, but man. These were some tentacles.Hae Jang Chon 3821 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020 (213) 389-8777