Soowon Galbi

I haven’t traveled the world. I have barely even traveled the country, but I’m just gonna put it out there.  Where is there better Korean food, or at least as wide a selection of Korean food, than LA?  Of course, I’m excluding Korea obviously.  Good food is born out of fierce competition to be the best.  There is a lot of that going in LA’s Koreatown.   Korean bbq joints are a dime a dozen in Ktown.  You’ll find one on every block.  I always wonder how any of them stay afloat.  I guess one could say the same about Pho restaurants in Little Saigon.  They’re everywhere!  I guess everyone just has their personal favorite.  My favorite Korean bbq joints are Soowon Galbi and Shik Do Rak.  I haven’t been to Shik Do Rak in a while, favoring the newer cleaner Soowon Galbi.  I’m pretty sure there are better bbq places, but I haven’t been motivated to find any new ones.  Once you eat the galbi here, you’ll be satisfied to make this place your own too.

It was an occasion to dine here, because Zhu Zhu Hamster was in town.  I called up The Communist to make it a girl’s night out.  By that, I mean eating till we drop, not drinking or partying because I’m so boring like that.  The Communist invited Soprano Man.  I was like, “Oh fine, I see how it is!”  So then I called out Wontuan who begrudgingly drove his pale ass up from the LBC.  It turns out Zhu Zhu Hamster called out #1 Fan to join as well.  What started out as a private 3 person affair turned out to be a mish mosh group of 6.  Anymore and I would have been annoyed.  I do not dine in groups large than 6 when I intend to enjoy the food and specific company of the people around me.  In any case, it turned out to be a really fun night and I’m glad everyone brought a date.

The spread…

Hae Mul Pa Jun seafood pancake

Pretty standard.  Packed with seafood, onions, and crispy goodness.


I’ve never actually ordered this as a dish.  It’s always come as part of the ban chan.   Soprano Man had to have his japchae.  It was pretty good, better than any ban chan version.   The noodles were slippery and well seasoned and the veggies were plentiful.

Combo A unseasoned large beef short rib, rib eye steak, sliced rib eye, pork neck, seasoned beef rib eye, beef brisket

Every bit of meat was so wonderfully marbled.  I don’t think you can go wrong with anything with the words, “rib eye” or “short rib” in the name.  The brisket had a disappointingly large strip of fat on it that I still ate.  The pork neck was not so good because we cooked it extra well to crisp up the very large strip of fat.  In the end, the meat was just dry.   I don’t think many people liked it.  Wontuan for sure did not.

Soo Won Wang Galbi

This is the house specialty that you HAVE to get.  They replace the normal table top grill with a special small meshed grilled and put the heat on very low.  The seasoned galbi cooks slowly, and it drives you crazy just waiting.  But trust me, it is worth the wait.  The meat is amazingly tender and flavorful.  The seasoning is well balanced, with just the right amount of sweetness.  Sometimes the marinated meats are too sugary for me.  Here, they just know how to marinate meat!  The tenderness comes from the well marbled meat and not some artificial tenderizing.

It’s always difficult to take pictures of meals where you do the cooking.  It’s too hectic to eat and take good pictures.  So unfortunately this the only good picture I have of any of the cooked meats.  You’ll just have to use your imagination for everything else.

Soowon Galbi is excellent for Korean BBQ.  They serve high quality meat that is fresh and perfectly marbled.  You can really taste this with the unmarinated cuts of meat.  There are no distractions.  Just you and the meat.  I usually don’t get the marinated meats at other Korean BBQ places, but here, you’ve done yourself a disservice if you don’t order their special galbi.  It’s not low quality meat covered up in sauce and seasoning like at some other places.  It represents everything that is delicious about Korean BBQ!

Soowon Galbi Korean BBQ

856 S Vermont Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90005

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