This month, a rather designer-cute Korean food blog birthed in (presumably) LA. This post is to counter that entire blog, past and future, by demonstrating how much Korean food, especially the monotonous humdrum often served in Koreatown, sucks pink donkey anus.

Korean cuisine is a 2 trick donkey. Inevitably, if you go to a Ktown restaurant (not bar/pojangmacha), if you’re lucky, you’ll be offered 2 things: big red bowls of sop looking like neon afterbirth, or plates of self grill flesh*. That’s it. If interrogated, even Koreans will admit that is all they eat, at least in America. Anecdotal evidence provides panchan as not entrees, hence do not count in this culinary math equation of “bloody bowl + raw meat plate = 2 dishes in every Korean Menu”. A side of greens by the KBBQ grill negates this law, you say? Nope, that’s just an accoutrement to the 50% of all Korean dishes. What about dduk, the smart Korean kid from UCLA asks. Not even close. It’s a meat vehicle which a Korean deploys as to not appear a Neanderthal when grappling blackened meat.

Ttu Rak, the restaurant touted for its excellent galbi jiim, is a prime proof of the 2 dish K-menu theorem. Here, galbi jiim (stewed beef short rib) is the star, and the mae-un (spicy) galbi jiim is the fame whore in the all girls pop group (think YoonA of SNSD). Every other entree at Ttu Rak is one ingredient away from galbi jiim. That’s it, that’s all you get from the 2 page menu. There’s concise, and there’s shameful.



But that’s not where the stupidity ends. Koreans are bad with math, or rather, they’re so good at math, the clientele (at least those any decent with numbers) inevitable feeling violated every time after dining in K-soup hole-in the wall. Ttu Rak exemplifies this use of fuzzy logic. One order of galbi jiim comes in a dolsot stonepot and is nearly filling for one despite being rather stingy on the protein. A double order of galbi jiim is served in a deep pan with a large footprint, and is obviously meant for 3. God forbid a “problematic” situation of a boyfriend/girlfriend twofer decides to dine at Tttu Rak. They’d be met with an insane $32++ bill after ordering only 1 entree, and pile of fried rice to go. Yes, Ttu-rak also performs the K-fried rice postscript dance. A double order of galbi jiim comes with a beefy jus infused kimchi fried riced at meal’s end; single order gets squat. A double order gets to slowly simmer on top of a portable butane stove; single order forces speed eating. A mentally sound person, capable of any analytical thought, is forced by restaurant regime into ordering double portions.

As if the situation isn’t bad enough, there’s the offensive issue of gastro-monotony. With every table attracted to the glamor of tabletop fire, no one (save at lunch time) orders single portions. The entire table is forced to eat one item, and one item alone. While the mae-un galbi jiim is packed with addictive glutamates and spice, any avid fan of Asian cuisine would be saddened by the ennui caused by a Ttu Rak meal. Argumentative types will immediately point out the plethora of complimentary pancha plates in Korean restaurants — and Ttu Rak differs not — but the key point is this: If I’m paying for the food and I selected the restaurant, I want to order. Half of all panchan at every Korean restaurant suck pink donkey balls, and I resent paying for them. I resent having the costs built into an supersized and awkwardly portioned pot of puerile stew.

Ttu Rak isn’t the only nutter doing this 1+1=3 arithmetic, nearly every Korean stew-on-burner restaurant offends the same, e.g. Mirak (black goat stew), Mapo (spicy dalk kalbi), ad nauseam. The uber nice ajuma at Mapo, a 2 decade old restaurant, straight up offered: “Why do you eat here, it’s so expensive. This is stir fried chicken”. Word, grandma, word.

Ttu-Rak
125 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Ttu-Rak on Urbanspoon

* Ovioiusly there are random houses of carbs and soondae joints in Ktown, but statistically, that’s the anomaly.

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  • http://burpandslurp.com Sophia

    Korean food is good. But some Korean restaurants do rip you off. And Korean food is not just BBQ and kimchi. It pains me that that’s all people seem to know about Korean food. There’s more to it than effing grilled short ribs.

    I don’t really go out to eat Korean food, unless it’s with a friend who knows s**t about Korean food and I want her to try tteokbokki, or hotteok, or my favorite sulnungtang. But I am lucky enough to have a Korean mother who cooks everything yummier and healthier and best of all, free.

  • Anonymous

    I found your blog because I saw mean comments you’d written on some other peoples’ blogs. Why are you so mean to people? Do you really want to be an internet bully?

  • Anonymous

    And I just saw the City’s Best profile of you where you claim you’ve “stopped reading amateur food blogs”.. ha! Clearly you still do read them and feel the need to comment at length!

  • Anonymous

    Haha! Of course there’s more than just a stewed pot and grilling. But really, the majority of the dishes, even served at K-home, are focused on stews and grilled meat. Please note I purposely did not jab kimchi, because it is truly awesome.

    If I had 2 K-Mom’s (ie, if I was adopted by a lesbian Korean couple who each owned a different restaurant), I’m pretty sure Korean home cooking would rock my socks. In its present state, mark me unconvinced.

    PS: sullungtang tastes, and looks, like dish water. It is summarily the saddest of all the Asian beef stews. ;)

  • http://www.protocolsnow.com/ Protocol Snow

    Out of curiosity, mind posting the URL of that new Korean food blog? 

  • http://twitter.com/midtownlunchLA Zach Brooks

    That’s strange… you loved Bibigo, and last time I checked that was Korean food. 

    Or, right.  You got that meal for free.

  • Mathew Kishimoto

     of all the korean food i’ve ever eaten, there’s so many here i’ve never tried. ZOMG.  this place sounds amazing. great tip!

  • SinoSoul

    No doubt the dish is absolutely fantastic, just wish it wasn’t $30+.

  • http://twitter.com/the_nomster Marilyn Chiu

    Yikes! You talking about Korean Food Gallery? I see where you’re coming from though. I wouldn’t go back to Chuncheon galbi, but it was good to experience once. Paid $13 for it. I  do think that people gravitate towards KBBQ for the hands-on stuff-yourself-silly experience as opposed to the food itself though. But! One thing I can never get enough of is kimchi pancakes hahaha. so you’re making me some dakgalbi?

  • SinoSoul

    Will make dalk galbi if you do the dishes. Hell I’ll cook it on the porta burner just so you can look at the pretty dancing flames. For $13, I think Chuncheon cooks the dalk kalbi in the kitchen, no? That plate of stir fried chicken is worth like.. uhm, $5. Tops. Just gochujang and dark meat. Incredible rip off IMO.

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  • Anonymous

    oo LOOORD Marilyn. Thanks (and no thanks) for pointing KFG out. Under Appetizers: http://koreanfoodgallery.com/category/appetizer kim bap is shown thrice, dduk bok ki, twice, japchae twice, pajeon twice. It’s like.. REALLY? Kim bap? That’s not even “Korean”.

    yes, I’ll make you dalk galbi if you come over. It will be the best spicy stir fried chicken you’ll ever have in yo LIFE. You know why? Cuz there’ll actually be shit in it beyond gochujang, sugar, and sesame oil.

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  • Anonymous

    하연씨,

    왜 이런 사가지 없는 중국 쓰레기랑 결혼했습니까? 한국 음식이 쓰레기라고요? 한국 사람들은 수학을 잘 못한다고요? 한국 음식/사람/문화를 이렇게 무시하면 하연씨를 어떻게 생각하겠습니까? 뜨락에 대한 비판 좀 읽어보세요. 하연씨의 남편이 한국 사람을 얼마나 무시하는가.

    토니 챈,


    모욕이 그렇게 자랑스럽냐? Ask your Korean wife if you don’t understand. 한국 여자랑
    결혼했으면, 그녀의 문화를 존경할 줄 알아야지. 니가 누군데 한국 음식/문화/사람을 모욕하는 거야?. . . 대만 사람이라고? .
    . . 오. . . 설명이 되네. . . 통과 브로커라고? 니가 어떻게 생겼는지 잘 알고 있으니까 한국 식당에 다시 오지마. .
    . 잘난 척하면서 누가 니 얼굴을 모르겠냐? 그래 니가 잘났다. 니가 잘났어. 중국이 그렇게 대단하면. . .음식/문화/사람. .
    왜 한국 여자랑 결혼했을까? 중국 트롤들은 원래 이래. 한국을 비판하면서 속으로 한국을 질투하는거야. 그 꼴 밖의 될수 없는
    놈이 운이 좋으네. 한국 여자랑 결혼하고. 나이젤라는 아들도 가지고. 오토바이를 타는 것을 즐기고. 참 자랑스러운 한국 여자의
    남편이네. $500,000짜리 집도 사고. 니가 한국 음식 전문가라고? . . 착각하지마. 너는 LA 한이타운에 있는 여러 식당만
    다니면서 뭘 알아? 니 자랑이 니 몰락이 될거야. . . 사가지 없는 놈. . .

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  • Anonymous

    There’s a facebook society for people like Sinosoul who likes to bash other cuisines.

    “I hate Chinese food” Facebook group

    Antoine Yasmine

    I love sushi and japanese food ,yesterday i was in a chinese restaurant :

    1-the smell is horrible
    2-weird food (sweet chicken ??)
    3-ice cream with green beans ??

    Everything was horribleee never eating chinese food again !!!
    March 18 at 1:37am

    Sibel Kurt 

    ı was saw many videos on you tube.they cuts and dogs,cats for eat.my god ….nasty actions…..ı prefer be hungry forever.

    July 23 at 12:33am

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/i-hate-chinese-food/483038320113

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the link. Yes, we’ve all read that piece. Welcome to July.

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