Korean Cuisine

5 Koreatown Restaurants Open 24 Hours: Hangover Soup

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Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 10:02 AM

click to enlarge BCD Tofu House on Western Avenue - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • BCD Tofu House on Western Avenue
There is a segment of the population whose late-night cravings consist not of bacon and eggs or burgers and fries, but of sizzling grilled short ribs and flaming hot soups and comforting porridge. That segment of the population is the one you'll find after last call in Koreatown.

There are so many people out past the midnight hour, in fact, that the neighborhood seems to be just as alive at 2 in the morning as it is at 2 in the afternoon. Here are five of our favorite late-night spots in Koreatown, where you can wind down after a night out or nosh on a fourth meal after burning the midnight oil.

click to enlarge Jajangmyunat Al Bae Ne - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Jajangmyunat Al Bae Ne
5. Al Bae Ne

There's a "hangover soup" on the menu at Al Bae Ne, which gives you a pretty good idea of who comes in here, and when. The portions are sized appropriately for the late-night crowd that prioritizes comforting quantity over quality. The jajangmyun -- an enormous plate of noodles hiding under a thick slick of black bean sauce -- is popular here, both before and after last call. The seafood soup, the color of a burnt orange Crayola, is served in an enormous bowl that will easily feed a table. Or two. 3470 W. Sixth St.; (213) 388-1105.

click to enlarge Noodles and dumplings at Myung Dong Kyoja - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Noodles and dumplings at Myung Dong Kyoja
4. Myung Dong Kyoja

Los Angeles is home to one of the largest Korean populations outside Seoul; fitting, then, that one of the most popular restaurants in Seoul, Myung Dong Kyoja, has an L.A. outpost at Wilshire and Harvard. Located in a brick building, its interior reminds you of an old classroom, if your third-grade classroom had flat-screen televisions tuned in to the Korean equivalent of MTV. Unlike other late-night Koreatown restaurants, the menu here is relatively short, to better focus on the kal gook soo, a soup of knife-cut noodles and ground beef in a hot, clear broth. Every table also has at least one order of the pork mandoo (dumplings) to round out those cravings. 3630 Wilshire Blvd.; (213) 385-7789.

click to enlarge Midnight at Hodori - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Midnight at Hodori
3. Hodori

Most late-night Koreatown restaurants aren't as busy as you would expect them to be after the local bars and clubs close, likely because at least half of the partying population is at Hodori, or waiting outside Hodori, or just leaving Hodori. This is the Denny's of Koreatown, which, like America's diner, is always open. The restaurant's giant pictorial menu will help you construct your own Grand Slam: kimchi pancakes, say, and an omelette with rice. As with all Grand Slams, it tastes best when eaten sometime during the hazy stretch between dinner and breakfast. 1001 S. Vermont Ave.; (213) 383-3554.

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