Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seoul Garden

There are few times in my foodie life when other people show me the good places to eat in town.  Usually, it's the other way around since I make it my mission to know about and dine at all the best spots in LA.  So it was really nice to discover something delicious in Seoul Garden at the recommendation of The Pouter.  I've been here many times since and I've been able to share this place with other friends.  On this occasion, I brought LoMa-Linda here to enjoy Seoul Garden's specialty, Korean style shabu shabu. 

Nothing particularly special, but just your standard iceberg lettuce with tangy creamy dressing.


Dipping sauce
Japanese shabu shabu is usually served with a soy based sauce and a peanut/sesame sauce.  At Seoul Garden, you only get one sauce, which is a slightly tangy and sweet soy sauce.  It can get a little tiring eating your meat with just one flavor, but the sauce tastes great with everything.

A combination of green onions, cabbage, and something else, like maybe shiso?  It's quite strong and not my favorite taste, but there's not a whole lot in there so it's manageable.  You also get a few mushrooms and fishcakes.  As for those rubbery purple things?  I've only been able to surmise that they are some sort of flavorless agar.  I don't eat them.

Below is the shabu shabu order for 2, which is the minimum order.  It is plentiful and delicious when cooked up in the broth.

Unlike Japanese shabu shabu which uses plain water to cook the food, at Seoul Garden they use some sort of broth.  I've never actually tasted the broth on its own, so I can't say how much flavor it carries on its own.  But at the end of the meal, the broth flavored with meat and vegetables is used to create the most delicious congee.

Before the congee is made, fresh udon noodles are cooked in the cooking liquid and served.  I think this serves as another fun course and thickens up the broth.  Then, the waitress comes with a bowl of rice, seaweed, a raw egg, and sesame oil.  When all mixed together you get a heavenly comforting pot of flavorful rice porridge.

I really think the added sesame oil is what kicks up the flavor.  Most of the time, I am so stuffed that I can barely have my fair share of porridge. 

Rice Punch
Lightly sweet and cold.  A perfect way to end the meal.

I love Seoul Garden.  The food is simple and comforting especially on those cold wet days.  I suppose the shabu shabu at other places is better, but nothing beats that rice porridge at the end.  I will keep coming back for that.  It seems something simple enough that you could recreate at home.  One day I shall attempt that.  In the meantime, go check the place out!

Seoul Garden
1833 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

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Anonymous said...

I've been to 1 "Korean" style shabu shabu and went into MSG shock aftewards. Also felt we were "whited" because there seemed to have been other features to the meal which we missed... Really enjoy the chandeliers in tea shot!

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