Chunju Han-il Kwan

3450 W. Sixth St.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
213-480-1799
Chunju Han-il Kwan

Photo by Anne Fishbein

Details

  • Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • $$
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • Beer/Wine
  • Family Style, Takeout
  • Valet Parking
  • Reservations Accepted
The repertoire of Korean cooking includes many, many refined jjigae, thick, chili-dosed soups made with kimchi, homemade tofu or sparkling-fresh fish, shellfish or octopus, choice bits of pork or cattle innards. Budae jjigae, the legendary specialty of Koreatown restaurant Chunju Han-il Kwan, is oddly tasty, but it is the furthest thing from refined. Leaves of cabbage careen across the glowing, red maelstrom like so many whirling rafts of the damned. Those lozenges of pink meat? Sliced Spam, straight from the can. That familiar-looking square of curly noodles? Packaged instant ramen, unless I miss my guess. I suppose we should be thankful that the Chunju Han-il Kwan version omits the customary dollop of canned pork 'n' beans. The restaurant is well known in Koreatown for its enormous array of panchan, small, cool, free appetizers that appear here in battalions of 10 tiny dishes. The herb-laced beef soup with delicate mandu (dumplings) is first-rate, and the noodles for the guksu are handmade. The pancakes are also worthy: lacy potato pancakes that taste like thin, scallion-laced latkes; tart, crunchy kimchi pancakes; ultracrisp seafood pancakes studded with bits of chopped octopus. But for the non-Koreans who have made Chunju Han-il Kwan their home, it's all about the budae jjigae. See full review.

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