Recently opened in the very back of Koreatown's Zion Market is the lastest U.S. branch of Cocohodo, a boutique bakery that specializes in the little walnut pastries (there's also another store in Buena Park that's been open since February).
As a snack food, these tiny bites are extremely addictive -- like most Korean desserts, they aren't too sugary -- but boast a creamy rich filling and a crisp outer pastry shell, along with the crunch of a hot walnut. They're also made on the premises -- so they arrive piping, mouth-scaldingly hot. Go ahead, try not to burn you mouth.
In the back of the space, a woman operates an elaborate machine that bakes, fills and wraps the hodo kwaja in paper (you can watch a video of it in action here). Customers can order snack-sized bags or have their pastries packed into fancy gift boxes that look an awful lot like something from See's Candy. 12 pieces for $5 is a pretty fantastic deal for these high-end baked goods, even if we're not exactly experiencing a freezing Korean winter right now. Next time you're looking for a way to round out your KBBQ dinner (and don't feel like shaved ice) then stop by Cocohodo and pick up a bag.
Cocohodo: 3500 W 6th St., Ste. 3, Los Angeles; (213) 382-8943.