Aish! What kind of blogger am I that I would leave my trusty sidekick (my Coolpix P90 Nikon camera) at home??? I was switching purses this morning and I took out my camera. I hesitated for a brief moment and decided to leave it at home. It was Monday after all. I had dinner plans already set for the rest of the week and thought this would be my day of “foodie rest”. Boy was I wrong! Hubby called me around lunch time to let me know that his friend who was visiting from out of town (Shanghai) wanted to get together for dinner at one of his favorite Korean restaurants in Koreatown. Hubby couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was one he frequented when his office used to be in Koreatown (his office is now in Hollywood). I was to meet him at his office as early as possible so that we can go together and get a table since the restaurant was known to be packed at dinner time. After hanging up with him, I realized that I didn’t bring my camera. Boy was I kicking myself.
Anyways, I quickly got over that. I had my iPhone. Granted, it doesn’t take the best pictures (my former Blackberry, however, took awesome pics) but if I was desperate enough, having a phone camera was better than no camera at all, right? So, my last meeting of the day ran longer than expected. I was supposed to meet my hubby at his office and when I looked at my watch it was 6:05pm. No way was I going to make it from Eagle Rock (the Pasadena side) all the way to Hollywood in 10 minutes. I contemplated skipping it altogether but hubby wanted me to go so after getting directions from him (and he still didn’t know what the name of the restaurant was), I set off, the blind leading the blind. Well, not really. He knew exactly where it was; I didn’t. I set out fine but got lost momentarily. I corrected myself and was once again on the right path towards Koreatown. Hubby called me and pretty much guided me up to the restaurant. I gotta tell you, for not knowing what the name of the place was, he did a good job of leading me to it. And, I ended up beating him by about 5 minutes!
My hubby and his friend knows the guy who runs the place. Adam greeted us and while we were chatting, he mentioned that a blogger had come in and made a YouTube video about the restaurant. He asked me to bring it up on my iPhone via YouTube. So I did and after watching the first 30 seconds, looked up and said, “Were you at the Korean BBQ Festival this past summer because I was there and I blogged about it!” He confirmed that he was and told me that his BBQ won first place at the Festival. Here’s the YouTube video:
On to the meal! Hubby and friend knew exactly what to order. I was pretty open to anything. Ham Ji Park is known for their award-winning Marinated Pork Spare Ribs which took first place honors at the 2nd Annual Korean BBQ Food Festival. Sitting atop a bed of onions, these ribs I do remember because I remember trying these at the Festival. They were finger licking, lip smacking good!
The Gamja Tang, or Pork Neck Stew with Potatoes was the winner for me tonight. In a savory but not too spicy broth, this stew was bursting with flavor and the star was the “falling off the neck bone” pork which melted in my mouth. I’m trying to cut back on white rice but it was so good paired with it (I know, I know…what kind of an Asian am I to try and cut back on rice!?!).
The last dish we ordered was the Spicy Octopus with Noodle. I love how the dish was plated. In the middle of the plate was the spicy octopus that was flanked on four sides by four artfully twisted mounds of thin noodles reminiscent of angel hair pasta. You are supposed to toss the noodles in with the spicy octopus while hot before serving. This dish definitely had kick to it. The octopus was only slightly (and I mean slightly) chewy but tender and it held on to the sauce pretty well.
In addition to the above, we were served six different types of banchan (side dishes). I read somewhere that a restaurant was defined by the number of banchan one offered its customers. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the average banchan that is served at the Korean restaurants I’ve frequented is six. So I guess Ham Ji Park is right on the money. They also serve up a nice refreshing green salad with their slightly spicy salad dressing (a Korean “Italian” style dressing if you will). With a large pitcher of their ice tea, we were good to go!
I really enjoyed Ham Ji Park. And believe it or not, between the three of us, we could not finish everything and had leftovers! It was truly satisfying and I will definitely be back. And this time, with camera in hand to take proper photos. But I think the iPhone did a fairly decent job. What do you think?
HAM JI PARK
3407 W. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020