The Latest Korean BBQ Sizzle

Introducing your kids to ethnic food (and no, pasta with butter and cheese doesn’t count) can sometimes be a bit of a pain. But even picky palates will find savory meats, veggies, and more at Los Angeles’ newest Korean BBQ joint: Kang Hodong Baekjeong. Another addition to L.A.’s already plentiful Korean BBQ spots, Kang Hodong Baekjeong draws its inspiration from a famous South Korean comedian. The kiddos will not only get a kick out of this comically themed South-Korea-circa-1970 ambience but will also love the DIY sizzling time with you…not to mention the incredibly flavored morsels of meat.

The kiddos will oooooo and aaaahh at the cool, circularly domed, charcoal grill designed to de-grease the meat as it cooks while simultaneously steaming egg, veggies, and corn cheese in a moat. It’s pure genius: an all-in-one grilling cornucopia built-in safely to your dining table to entertain the kiddos (give the iPads a rest) and instantly feed your family a healthy meal (give your mommy guilt a rest).

Frolicking in diverse culinary adventures will not only mature the little ones’ taste buds, but will also pique their interests into other cultures. Once your name is called, a friendly host will seat your family at an inviting Korean table complete with cold barley tea, chopsticks, salad, dipping sauces and some side dishes, or banchan, already set for your arrival. Let the kids have their fun balancing the chopsticks between their little fingers, but if need be, you can request forks at anytime. The service is very attentive and accommodating so ask about anything especially if it is your first time with Korean BBQ and the culture.

What to order: There is no set kid’s menu, but that’s okay because everything is family style. Combos are a great way to give the little ones a variety of flavors. Beef and pork combos include four different types of meat, steamed egg, veggies, and a kimchi stew.  Both combos are available as a regular sized order $39.99 pork/$49.99 beef (feeds up to three adults) or a large order $69.99 pork/ $79.99 beef (feeds up to five adults).

Only soda and alcoholic beverages are offered on the menu, so it might be a good idea to pack some portable milk or juice boxes for this meal. Have the kids try the complimentary iced-cold barley tea that is safe, caffeine-free, and known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. For added flavor, have the little ones dip the meat into the sweet soy sauce that comes tableside. All of the side dishes and salad are bottomless so eat away!

Insider Tip: Be sure to ask the waiter to change the grill top after 2-3 rounds of grilling in order to ensure the kiddos don’t get flakes of burnt char in their meal.

What to avoid: Kids don’t do spicy, so steer clear of these spicy items: kimchi, red pepper paste, and all of the dishes listed under the Meal section on the menu. Request the salad dressing to be spicy-free. If you are unsure, always ask the waiter regarding the spiciness of the entree.

What to do nearby: Browse the other shops in the historic Chapman Plaza or visit the gigantic water wheel in front of the restaurant while you wait to be seated. The plaza is an enclosed cobble-stoned courtyard perfect for the kids to freely run around and get the wiggles out right before their Korean BBQ adventure. For post-dinner options, you can explore the LACMA, browse Little Tokyo, or discover Downtown LA.

Call ahead to avoid long waits: To avoid the buzzed about one-hour waits (at best!) here are some tips to ensure the little ones get seated right away. Call ahead to put your name and time of arrival on the list. Once you arrive, you will be seated on a first come, first serve basis. Even though this isn’t a formal reservation, it will cut the wait time significantly. To avoid the lunch and dinner crowds, get there at 11:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Parking: $2 valet parking is available and might be a better option since street parking is hard to find around Koreatown.

Hours: Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 am, Fridays & Saturdays from 11:30 am to 2:00 am, and Sundays just for dinner from 4:30 pm to 1:00 am.

Get your grill on!

3465 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020
213-384-9678

Where is your family’s favorite spot to eat in downtown Los Angeles? There are so many choices — fill us in below!

– Sommy Rhee

photo credit: Joe Lewis, Kang Hodong Baekjeong, & Moogul