If you love Korean food but aren't as conversant in the intricacies of either L.A.'s Koreatown neighborhood or, well, Korean, the folks at the Korean Food Foundation have engineered a terrific guidebook for you. Just published in a handy, square, cornflower-blue paperback, The Korean Restaurant Guide: Los Angeles details 40 of the Korean restaurants in the Los Angeles area you might want to try — or return to.
The book is beautifully laid out, with terrific photography, bilingual in English and Korean, with relevant facts about each restaurant, and with fun quotes from notable Korean food lovers. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Joseph Hahn of Linkin Park. Jrue Holiday, All-Star Philadelphia 76ers point guard and native Angeleno. The Korean Food Foundation tapped local food critic and longtime food writer Barbara Hansen to write the entries. (Full disclosure: Hansen has written for this food blog since its debut. Hi Barbara!)
Hansen says she didn't choose the restaurants for the guide but was brought in to visit them — with a translator — and write them up. “The work was intense, and I gave up everything, including gym workouts, to do this,” Hansen emailed us this morning. “People asked me if I would be glad when it was over so I no longer had to eat nothing but Korean food. Oddly, the answer was no. I became so interested that I kept right on eating, trying additional places that aren't in the book.” For anyone who knows Hansen, who has covered food in Los Angeles for longer than most of you have been eating solid food, this will not be a surprise.
If you want a copy of the book itself, you can't get it at any bookstore — the guidebooks are not for sale. They've instead been distributed around town, to cultural centers and libraries. It's also available as an app and an e-book.
The Korean Food Foundation is a nonprofit, non-government organization in Korea created for the sole purpose of the promotion and expansion of Korean cuisine.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.