A quick Google search for Korean restaurants in Artesia turned up an article by Linda Burum in the Los Angeles Times on Hwang Hae Do. She wrote about their dumplings and how they were the best around. Hmm. I've never had any mandu that really knocked my socks off, so if these were the best, I had to try.
The article was in 2004, so I called to confirm that the restaurant was still in business and tried to ask what else they served besides dumplings, but couldn't really understand what the person on the phone said. So it was quite a surprise when I pulled up and saw the Korean BBQ sign. It was an even better surprise when we were told there were three tiers on the all-you-can-eat menu.
The $9.99 option included beef brisket, pork belly, and Daeji Bulgogi (Korean Spicy Pork). Add marinated chicken for $11.99. And six meats including Galbi (Korean Marinated and Barbecued Beef Short Ribs) is $14.99.
$9.99 Korean barbecue? For dinner? Pretty awesome deal, yeah?
We opted for the $9.99 all-you-can-eat menu since none of us had to have kalbi.
Half a dozen panchan (Korean side dishes), salad, steamed egg, dipping sauces, rice noodle sheets, and daikon sheets.
Since we got the cheapest all-you-can-eat option, we also got one order of the beef and Baechu Kimchee (Korean Pickled Napa Cabbage) mandoo for $7.99. The dumplings were huge. The skin soft and pliable.
Filled with shredded beef and kimchi. These really were the best Korean dumplings I've ever eaten.
If you eat at San Gabriel Valley dumpling houses, then they're nothing new. There's a freezer by the door and the restaurant does pretty brisk business with people buying frozen dumplings to-go.
Still, it was a great deal for the barbecue and afterward we stopped off for dessert at Saffron Spot - Artesia (Little India) for Indian ice cream. So my friend and her cousin satisfied their craving for Indian food after all, and she was even able to enjoy Indian cuisine since the ice creams weren't too spicy for her.
Later, I returned with my Korean barbecue posse - lil' sis, her best friend, and the oldest '87.
Some of the side dishes varied this time, but they've always been fresh and frequently refilled.
And even though you supposedly only get three kinds of meat for $9.99, they've often given me more.
Sometimes bulgogi and this other cut of beef that I think of as a substitute for unmarinated kalbi.
The steamed egg is nice and fluffy.
Once, we even got a nice short rib stew.
The middle '87 wanted to try naeng myeon (Korean cold noodles) so we went last summer when the hot weather made a bowl of cold noodle soup sound just perfect. Cheapest naeng myeon I've found at $4.99. Which isn't to say it's cheap in quality. Pretty good and even better at such a price.
So yes, when I'm feeling poor, I hit up Hwang Hae Do. The waitstaff have always been pleasant, the panchan are refilled, the quality is alright, and best of all, the restaurant is clean and definitely not "sticky." Even if you get the most expensive all-you-can-eat option at $14.99, it's still a pretty good deal. Sometimes, it's worth it not to fight with Koreatown traffic.
Other Korean barbecue restaurants:
Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Feedable BBQ Buffet - Rowland Heights
Gui Il Bun Ji BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Hwa Ro Korean BBQ and Tofu -San Gabriel
Light Town House Korean BBQ - Garden Grove (Korean Business District)
Manna Korean BBQ - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Ong Ga Nae Korean BBQ - Rowland Heights
San Ya Restaurant Korean BBQ & Noodle - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Seol Ak San - Stanton
Soot Bul Gui Rim 2 Korean BBQ - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Tahoe Galbi Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Hwang Hae Do Korean BBQ
11746 E. Artesia Blvd.
Artesia, CA 90701
11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
1 year ago today, let's talk turkey!
2 years ago today, Punjab Indian Grocery Store - Alhambra.