The answer is, sweet potato. If you know anything about Korean cuisine, this won't seem strange. Sweet potatoes pop up in lots of Korean dishes including sweet potato porridge, sweet potato noodles and the sweet potato breads and pastries that you see in Korean bakeries in Los Angeles.

Look for sweet potato lattes in Korean coffee shops. Hot or ice cold, they're lightly sweetened and delicately flavored. You definitely won't get the impression that you're sipping a diluted yam.

The hot latte is as mellow and soothing as cocoa. At the Yellow Cafe and Restaurant, located in a house off West Third Street, it's sprinkled with sliced almonds and includes bits of sweet potato.

Hollys Coffee, in a Korean enclave on West Sixth Street, is a branch of a chain so widespread in Korea that it has been called the Korean Starbucks. The Yellow Cafe has only a hot sweet potato latte, but will make an iced latte on request. Hollys has both types. If you want a hot sweet potato drink there, you can choose between a latte or macchiato.

The ice blended version, called a sweet potato Hollyccino, is so super cold that you may want to follow it with an espresso chaser–and Hollys has that too.

Yellow Cafe and Restaurant: 234 S. Oxford Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 365-0082. Hollys Coffee: 3450 W. 6th St. # 111, Los Angeles; (213) 389-4553.

Hollys Cafe in Koreatown; Credit: Barbara Hansen

Hollys Cafe in Koreatown; Credit: Barbara Hansen

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