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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 1

I think the above picture is enough to convince you why Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant is one of my favorites in Koreatown. (My favorite in Orange County is still Seol Ak San in Stanton for the cooking on a rock slab, kimchee fried rice, and tofu soup.) This is the reason why I said for my money, instead of the all-you-can eat price tag at Manna Korean BBQ, I'd rather head a few blocks west and go here. How much do you think this all cost? I'll save the bill for the end and you tell me if you think it's worth it.

One of the main considerations in choosing a Korean barbecue restaurant is quality of the meat. As you can see here, Chung Kiwa serves black Angus beef.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 2

In case this wasn't clear, Chung Kiwa serves black Angus beef. :)

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On this particular night, I and three of my cousins were seated in a private room with only one other table. So quiet and not smoky since we were away from the hub of the main room.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 4

Cold barley tea. Most places serve this, you just have to ask. But I like it when they bring it out automatically.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 5

Panchan (side dishes). Now this is what I'm talking about. No measly half dozen selection for us. Actually, when served like this, I'm a bigger fan of the panchan than I am of the meat.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 6

And then comes the lettuce salad, daikon and rice noodle sheets, and dipping sauces. I get excited just looking at the food.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 7

Here's close-ups of all the panchan. In case you've never eaten Korean barbecue before, these are all refillable. I usually try to eat everything and only request extras of my favorites so I don't waste food.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 8

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 9

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 10

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 11

I like that they provide both daikon slices and dduk bok sam (rice noodle sheets) to wrap around the meat. And the dduk bok sam were all pre-separated so I don't have to manually do it, but can just pick them up with my chopsticks.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 12

Sauces along with bean paste and raw garlic and jalapenos.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 13

We ordered a plate of bulgogi.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 14

The kalbi (Korean marinated short ribs) are already on the grill. The wait staff cuts it up for you, puts it on the grill, and checks up so you don't actually have to do much cooking yourself.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 15

The dduk bok sam wrapped around a piece of kalbi.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 16

Those of you who wish to cut down your carbs can use daikon slices to wrap around your meat.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 17

Now the bulgogi goes on the grill. I like how they add some onion and mushrooms to the mix. Sooo good once they combine with the meat juices from the grill.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 18

Finished off with a bowl of chik naengmyun (Korean cold arrowroot noodle soup). The noodles are chewy. The broth is a bit vinegary and very flavorful. Really, the best naengmyun I've ever had. There's slices of various meats, half a hard-boiled egg, cucumber, and slices of Japanese pear. The crunch and the sweetness of the pear totally works here. This soup is an awesome finish to the meal.

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown) 19

So how much do you think this all cost?

The black Angus kalbi was $24.99. The bulgogi was $20.99. And the naengmyun was $8.31. Total of $54.29. That's substantially cheaper than either of the two all-you-can-eat places I just featured. And even though we only had two orders of meat, this fed 4 people full to stuffing.

So let's recap shall we? Meat quality is excellent. Decor is clean with a nice ambiance. Panchan selection is varied and of good quality. Service was just attentive enough. Of course, I haven't eaten at every Korean barbecue restaurant in Koreatown yet, but I've always left here with a happy belly. Now, if only I can find a Koreatown restaurant that grills the meat on a rock slab and throws in kimchee fried rice...

March 29, 2008 Update: The black Angus kalbi is now $29.99. To see pictures of the $22.99 choice galbi and daeji bulgogi (Korean spicy pork), $18.99, and another Chung Kiwa revisit.

Other Korean barbecue restaurants:
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
Hwang Hae Do Korean BBQ - Artesia
Light Town House Korean BBQ - Garden Grove (Korean Business District)
Manna Korean BBQ - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Miga Korean BBQ Restaurant - Rowland Heights
Ong Ga Nae Korean BBQ - Rowland Heights
San Ya Restaurant Korean BBQ & Noodle - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Seol Ak San - Stanton
Tahoe Galbi Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant
3545 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019


  1. OK. I remember - BLACK ANGUS BEEF!
    Sometimes, ordering off the menu is better than all-you-can-eat. Likewise, set menus are usually not as good as ala-carte. :)

  2. You certainly got a deal out of this. Your table ate like kings! Everything looks delicious and the spread is quite impressive.

  3. can I get one of those bbq grills installed in my home?

    my house has 4 bathrooms. i'd gladly give up a bathroom for a bbq room. who the hell needs 4 bathrooms?

  4. Wow thats quite the spread! They just don't make Korean BBQs like that up here in Seattle. This place looks loads better than the all-you-can-eat place!

  5. Hey WC - Man, you've been on a Korean BBQ "roll" recently...with some yogurt in between to clear you palate! LOL!

  6. Tigerfishy,
    Did I tell you this place has black Angus beef? :P

    Well, I don't know about a deal, but I certainly got my money's worth.

    Hehe, after seeing these pictures, I had a craving for Korean BBQ all over again.

    4 bathrooms? Indeed woman! Convert one into something! But actually you can get a portable burner and a portable grill. I used to see the grills sold for like $10.

    I don't think the Korean BBQ places in Portland do a spread like this either.

    Actually except for Manna, the Feedable and Chung Kiwa photos are from April! I have a large backlog.


  7. Man you've been on a Korean BBQ kick haven't you? I need to find a local joint to try this out. I don't think I've ever done authentic Korean BBQ before :)

  8. Ooh what a deal for all that food! I want to go here, and to Shik Do Rak too!

    For chik naeng myun you should definitely try Shin Jung on 6th and Kenmore (down the street from Pinkberry).

  9. Jaded,
    Really? Never had Korean BBQ?

    Thanks for the tip. I'll have to add it to my list.

  10. Suprisingly no. When we go to Korean restaurants, I normally get the Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap. How unadventurous am I? Just kidding, I've just never been to a place where they had BBQ stove thingies.

  11. Jaded,
    You must try this then! The grilling is the best part, even if you do stink up afterward.

  12. i want to eat korean bbq, but im not so korean friendly. are the kim chi dishes all spicy? i like pickled cabbage, carrots, cucumber non spicy. there used to be an angus beef in alhambra where z sushi is now. did you go o that one? my mom used to take us. we always went home smelling.


  13. t,
    Are you talking about panchan, the side dishes, or kimchee panchan. Not all panchan are spicy. And not all kimchee are that spicy either. But with about a dozen varieties, you can pick and choose what you want to eat.

    Never been to Z Sushi, or what it used to be before.

  14. I am trying to find the name of the black beans taht are kind of sweet. Do you know the name of them? I would love to know.

  15. Lori,
    I have no idea. Visit a Korean grocery store and ask someone for help, or wander the aisles and see what comes up?


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