If you’re close by in downtown LA, make sure you leave some time to visit Koreatown and grab yourself some Korean BBQ at the multiple all-you-can-eat (AYCE) restaurants that line the street. Which ever one you choose, I’m sure it’s a win. It’s a whack load of meats and Korean side dishes, how can you lose?
After extensive research on multiple foodie sites, Hae Jang Chon seemed like a good choice, mentioned multiple times, and had a whopping 19 items on their AYCE menu for $17.99. Um… sold?
I had been to Korean BBQ’s before but who knows if those are authentic, I haven’t been to Korea… yet. When we were seated, there was already banchan (Korean side dishes) ready on our table and the built-in stone grill fired up. The cute little dishes consisted of beansprouts, kimchi, an apple salad (mimicking as a potato salad), and assorted vegetables. Thinly sliced radish sheets and rice cakes were also available to make wraps with our meats later. On the other side of our table, there was a large bowl of salad dressed in a light soy-based dressing as well. One of the dish included with the AYCE menu is a marinated rice cake that’s super spicy! Loved it! The kimchi had nothing on it in terms of spice level.
Four dipping sauces were given with handy instructions for beginners like us! My favorite was the Korean pickled soy sauce with a little bit of the sesame oil sauce.
Our server came around so quickly that we panicked and ordered the first four meats on the menu (a limit of 4 meats can be ordered at a time per table). Thinking the portions were small, we order the four right away. Boy, were we wrong… Warning: Massive amounts of meats below.
When the meats arrived, they were placed on the grill for us. Black Angus beef brisket thinly sliced and thicker sliced Canadian (yay!) fresh pork belly were up first.
Looking over at the meats that couldn’t fit the grill, we realized how much we had ordered. We still had a mound of beef bulgogi and marinated beef short ribs to go!
Not to mention other side dishes that come along with it! While we waited for our meats to cook, we munched on a kimchi pancake (not spicy), and a steamed egg dish.
If you’re overwhelmed with cooking the meats, just sit back and relax! They have plenty of servers that walk around to make sure your meats are being properly cooked and not burning. At first we thought it was just our table: did we look so foreign that they feel sorry for us? Nope! Just good service! They walked around to every table and as soon as there’s space on your grill, they’ll come fill it right up with your plate of uncooked meats. We couldn’t even eat as fast as the meats were cooking and the servers kept coming around to add more to the grill for us! It was absolutely delicious though! We didn’t even order more than our original four meats, already stuffed to the max. And there was rice to come!
We chose the kimchi fried rice, served and cooked at the end of your meat orders. Makes sense, you don’t want carbs filling you up before eating the BBQ! A mixture of rice, kimchi, green onion, seaweed, and marinades, the dish sits on your grill and gets nice and crispy on the bottom. Yummy! They advertise that they have the best kimchi fried rice in town. I’ll believe it when I get a chance to try other dishes in town (will take me another trip though!) but the seaweed was a nice touch, although a bit much in some bites than others.
Tip: Like Chinese hot pot, make sure you’re wearing clothes that you don’t mind smelling like the food after! The restaurant has vents above each table but the smell of Korean BBQ-y goodness will still latch on to you.
Another good, cheap eat! My favorite kind of eat.Hae Jang Chon
3821 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA