Angelenos in tune with Korean food inevitable tout their love for Myung Dun, Kobawoo, Olympic Noodle, Seong Buk Dong, Han Bat Sul Lung Tang (GAAAAG), Ham Ji Pak and Western Doma. During summer time, the same folks will no doubt mouth off about Chil Bo, Yu Chun, and Ham Hung. Partying kiddies used to 3am wantoness will scream their love for Nak-Won, Omma Jip, ad nausea. Some deep end hacks may even proclaim themselves regulars of Feng Mao or Western/8th Street Soondae.
Whatever. All the above restaurants more or less suck, as previously discussed.. They all produce overpriced, unrefined and single-faceted cuisine only a mother (or a jingoist) can love. So what’s a man to do as a gastronome forced to entertain that spectacularly whiny Korean Venus? Do as the Korean boys do: find the closest po jang mah cha, get sloshed on soju and chase all that slag liquor with robust anju.
After all, we’ve been told by Koreans that they don’t drink without eating (and really, don’t eat without drinking — have you watched K-drama lately? With the guy falling over the side of the road after getting up from the food shack’s wooden bench?) To eat, and pay for, Korean restaurant food sober is such a grim prospect, of course everyone has to be absolutely blitzed to enjoy the process. Po chang ma chas (“small tented restaurants”) are the perfect vehicle to the relieve oneself the burdens of Korean eating, and Hanshin is a Ktown fave.
Is the food particularly good? Well… The sumo sized bowls of meats in mixed greens drenched in “Korean” marinade are rather pleasing, as are the various poor man’s soups (o dang tang, bu dae ji gae, etc.). Really though, Hanshin represents that other po chang ma cha feature so loved by Koreans: cheap food. Happy hour translates to 50% of all food (with alcohol purchase) everyday from 5-9pm. Read that again: NINE O’CLOCK, EVERYDAY. Every thing here, of course, is devastatingly potent. There’s too much gochujang, too much dressing, too much sodium choloride; the portions are too big, the plates are lengths of a man’s arm, the soups in pots big enough to beauty steam your face, the projector screen size of the LA Times building edifice, and the makkeoli comes in army rationed tin cups meant to slurp gruel.
Order a butterflied & grill fish, chose some room animal protein (the chok pal is pleasing enough), pick a spicy soup, and finish off with a seemingly never ending plate of spicy carbs (o jin uh bokkeum – stir fried squid with spicy thin rice noodles) and you have the perfect beginning for a night of puke infested partying for 4.
Warning: do you order the plate of fried chix gizzards. Just like Hite Kwang-Jang, 4 pieces of the overly breaded fried gizzards will make you hurl. This dish is obviously better suited executed in the fashion of food-on-a-stick, but Koreans can’t be bothered to shown finesse.
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