So my sister, a fellow foodie is town for the week visiting her boyfriend and his family. We decide to get together for the day, just the two of us and I’ll to take her to some of the better food stops I know in Los Angeles. It’s a pretty big day for me because exactly one week before I was laid up with a serious case of food poisoning that didn’t leave my system for four days. I’d been on Gatorade and saltines for most of the week. The good part was I’d lost a lot of weight. The bad part was…well everything else. But by the time Saturday rolled around I was back on shall we say solid ground.
Now if you’re in LA and you want to show a foodie friend or relative a good time and you only have one day where do you begin?
I started with the Koreatown Galleria. Both the Galleria and the Plaza in Koreatown have amazing food markets. I like the Galleria a little more because it is a bit more glitzy with a few more features. But you have to get there early. It’s free parking at both places and they both fill up and get very crazy around noon. My sister and I started out at the small bakery near the market entrance where we grabbed a rice doughnut and a cup of coffee. The doughnuts were chewier than any pastry either of us had had before and just lightly sweetened. They were the perfect light snack to take with us as we walked around the market. Korean markets offer a whole range of foodie surprises even to people who know Asian cuisine. The Koreans make use of unique greens and root vegetables like sesame leaf. The meat section is always a must in Korean markets. In the Galleria they had tons of beautifully packaged pork belly and suddenly we rued the fact that we didn’t have an ice filled cooler.
The fish counter at the Galleria is even more impressive filled with fresh fish on ice and tanks filled with live lobsters, abalone, periwinkles, blue crab and baby octopus.
“Imagine trying to wriggle one of those down,” my sister joked. And yeah if I had the time and cash I’d pick up a few and try wrestling them down my gullet like I’ve seen on Bizarre Foods. In previous trips I’ve seen them stock live geoduck clams and seas squirts as well.
But what really sets the Galleria apart from the Plaza in my mind is the room of hot panchan. Hungry and time pressed Koreans can grab a bag of steamed rice and go down the row and pick out the marinated greens, the stewed oysters, the spicy dried squid, the stewed garlic stems, a complete meal for most people.
There’s so much more to see in Koreatown, BCD Tofu House and Soot Bull Jeep to be specific. But we only had so many hours in the day so it was off to Culver City next.