Kobawoo House: (Pork) Bellying Up to Koreatown Strip Mall

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Korean Restaurant Los Angeles

Kobawoo House is a longtime L.A. favorite for Korean comfort food.

A big group got together to greet Cary, a visiting chef from Texas, who was ready to eat an obscene amount of Korean food. I was happy to join him at Steve Kim’s strip mall restaurant, Kobawoo House, named for a cartoon character that was popular in Korea in the ‘60s.

Other Korean restaurants offer a wider variety of banchan, but the Kobawoo House kitchen staff made their four selections count. In addition to a respectable version of kimchi, we received sweet pickled cucumbers with Chinese chives, crispy silverfish and spicy pickled cucumbers.

Kobawoo House has three unique specialties, and we ordered them all at least once during the course of the meal.

Korean Food Los Angeles

Bossam is an interactive Kobawoo House tour de force that centers on boiled pork.

Bossam Large ($24.99) involved tender slices of boiled pork belly, strips of Napa cabbage and “spicy mixture all around.” The idea is to layer crisp slabs of cabbage with pork, discs of sweet marinated radish, and “spicy mixture” – chile-soaked radish strips sprinkled with sesame seeds, marinated jalapeño slices and pungent shrimp paste [a little goes a long way.] Bossam Medium ($15.99) was a smaller but still substantial portion of the terrific pork belly.

Korean Food Los Angeles

Acorn noodles, tossed with a rainbow’s worth of vegetables, temper the meal’s richness.

Jangban Guksoo ($14.99) turned out to be “specially prepared” acorn noodles blanketed with piles of julienned carrot, purple cabbage, cucumbers, red peppers, egg strands, chicken and lettuce. Our waiter mixed everything together, so the dish became better than the sum of its parts, refreshing, tangy and even a little bitter.

Korean Food Los Angeles

The massive sizzling pancake at Kobawoo House incorporates five kinds of sea creatures.

Haemu Pa Jun ($14.99) was a sizzling seafood pancake, crispy on the outside, almost creamy inside, loaded with scallops, shrimp, oysters, squid, clams, and green onions.

Cary seemed pleased with his meal. Then again, why wouldn’t he like massive portions of bacon, big bottles of Hite beer and soju?


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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