That’s how long Mirak has been battling Chin Go Gae (or however the Romanization goes ) to be the goaty best in Los Angeles’ Koreatown.
Why is Mi-Rak of interest at this particular moment? Cuz Americans have decided it’s cool to goat it up all the sudden — check out The Atlantic’s coverage of goat flesh last week. What better time to root for the underdog?
Chin Go Gae is the more well know option thanks to Yelp. It’s more spacious, in a bigger plaza, with more parking and a positively visible sign.
Mirak, OTOH, has less than a dozen tables. From the parking to the actual seating, everything screams claustrophobia, though the food & drink routine here is nearly the same as Chin Go Gae. Mirak, a mom & pop shop, only betters Chin Go Gae with its affable service & with equally
affable affordable $5.99 soju.
Is there any depth to this spicy stew of tender shredded goat, thickened by boiled down cartilage & fat, topped with perilla seeds & piles of perilla leaves ? Uhm, is there any sophistication in AYCE KBBQ? Despite all the published Korean literature (which I have obviously NOT read) stating the omnipotency of this dark odoriferous meat, deep down inside, every man knows eating a cute goat won’t make the pen0r bigger or provide more stamina during bedroom tangos. Nevertheless, a casual survey of the strip mall dining room yields a healthy 9:1 man:woman ratio. Out of the 9, 8 are shitfaced on $6 soju. Out of the 8, 7 are trying to prove goat’s shamanistic powers true. Out of the 7, I am one.
Evidence of Coreanas with red faces:
Though the goat may be powerless beyond providing tasty proteins, the deulkkae & kaenip, “wild sesame” and “shiso leaves” are proven medicinal herbs. The Chinese have used perilla seed oil to fight off colds, the leaves to stop nosebleeds, for hundreds of years.
In ’06, I wrote this of deulkkae :
is full omega3, improves memory, and is good for joints as well as vision.
Perhaps the medicinal property of this dish is simply misinterpreted by the Koreans, perhaps ancient Koreans were simply awed by goat sex. Who knows.
Finally, it behooves Angelenos to understand how fortunate we all are. Maangchi herself said she’s never had black goat stew as of summer of ’08! I didn’t discover this particular dish until June of ’06, per this post on LTHforum.com. Since then, we’ve eaten it all over Los Angeles. LA grubbers are lucky to not only have 1, or 2, but half a dozen restaurants serving this homely yet potent dish.
PS: Lest I forget, some will say the fried rice made with remainder goat stock is the best of the meal. For me, it’s simply signifies the end of the meal, so here it is, at the bottom. Don’t touch the rice before the bottom crisps, you will be berated by the ajuma:
- « Burmese Food “Nibban Zay Festival” June 27, S. El Monte
- » Extravaganza for the Senses benefiting Saban Free Clinic