Since we had such a gay ole time at K-Zo, our gang of 3 (Me, Lo-Ma Linda, and Bighead Talksalot) decided to make another dining trip. It was my chance to show Lo-Ma Linda that there is more to Korean food than just tofu and bbq. It was Bighead’s chance to eat something more than tofu and bbq. After listing off all the Korean food I know that did not consist of the aforementioned foods, we decided on Kobawoo House. I know of no other restaurant in Ktown that is as popular as Kobawoo is for bossam. Ssam literally means “wrapped” and refers to a dish where meat (specifically pork at Kobawoo) is wrapped in leafy vegetables traditionally. At Kobawoo, pork is taken to a whole new level.
First, the banchan…
…then 20 minutes of waiting around and seeing everyone else get their food before us, even the parties that came AFTER us. Of course the first thought in our head was, “It’s cuz we’re not Korean!” We dared not complain for fear of retaliation ie: showers of spit raining down into our food. Given the foul odor of many things Korean, how could we ever really tell that our food was violated or not?? The temptation to push “the button” was too much to resist. We pushed it. We were ignored. We pushed it again. Finally, we were told would be, of course, coming soon. We settled for a 2nd round of banchan.
And then came the food! At my encouragement, we decided not to venture to far away from what Kobawoo specializes in which is the bossam. I’ve had some of the stews but was never impressed with any of them. The doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew), which I thoroughly enjoy almost everywhere else, smells especially like stinky gym socks here. The mandoo guk (dumpling soup) tastes especially of MSG.
Bossam steamed pork belly, steamed/chilled napa cabbage, pickled daikon, spicy marinated radish, salted baby shrimp, pickled jalapeno peppers
The star of this dish is the succulent, unctuous slices of pork belly. Though there is very little seasoning on the meat, save some salt at most, every slice is rich in unadulterated flavor. The purity of pork fat flavor runs through every bite and carries this dish successfully through from start to finish. The meat is so delicate and moist and practically indistinguishable from the layered fat around. All of the vegetable accompaniments imparted varying layers of taste. The napa cabbage served as the crunchy cool base from which to build upon. The radish added real spice and kick. The baby shrimps provided the pungent salt. The jalapenos brought a mild heat. I love eating this, but a part of me feels a bit guilty to consume so much darn fat. When Dumpling Man comes, he likes to pick apart the pork belly and all that is left at the end of the night is a pile of fat. Sometimes I’ll do the same just to appease the guilt, but since Lo-Ma Linda and Bighead just chowed down, so did I.
Lo-Ma Linda could NOT stop singing the praises of the bossam. Every 10 minutes was punctuated with variations on “Ooo, this is soo good!” “I like this a lot.” “Good choice! I really like this place!” She couldn’t quite figure out just what was so good. “Something is just really really good. What is it?…[minutes of silence]…I think its the FAT.” She continued to eat and eat and eat, even when I was stuffed. She was completely enamored, to say the least.
…wrapped in cabbage
…wrapped in radish
I was forced to interrupt Lo-Ma Linda’s broken record of praises to remind her not to eat too much because we still had one more dish coming.
Hae Mul Pa Jun seafood pancake, scallops, shrimp, oyster, squid, clam, green onion
I never get to order this with Dumpling Man, so I order it any chance I get. I remembered it being better the last time I was here. It’s probably the wrong way to eat it, but I like a higher pancake to seafood ratio. So if you like seafood, this pancake is packed with it.
If you like pork and you like Korean food, I would recommend coming here. The pork is delicious and all the little accompaniments make a well balanced dish. I’ve taken Dairy Queen, Weeners, Ho Bag, and Dumpling Man here and they were all happy and satisfied. I’ve never dined here with any Koreans but I’ve gotten the seal of approval from a Korean or two in passing. Be prepared for a short wait no matter when you come. I’ve been here over 10x I’ve ALWAYS had to wait ~10-15 minutes on the weekdays. I’ve never dined here on the weekends, but I imagine it’s even worse.
698 S Vermont Ave, Ste 109
Los Angeles, CA 90005