One thing I notice about Korean restaurants, is that when a rather large bald brown man walks in the door, no one seems to particularly notice or raise an eyebrow. My theory is because African American’s and Koreans share something in common, Soul Food.
Gamja Gol was sparse, though equipped with a state of the art real time Twitter stream monitor. It was slightly humid, and the air was rich with the scent of what I like to call porky delight.
Gamja Gol is a Los Angeles institution in the heart of Koreatown. Being that I am a pork enthusiast I was delighted to try the signature dish, that which almost every table around was also enjoying, the .
Gamjatang I found out translates to potato stew, and it did indeed have soft potato chunks at the bottom of the bowl. A heaping mound of pork neck bones long boiled in spices, served in a bowl of thin red broth with hearty flavors topped off with sesame seeds. Kind of like a delicious ghetto ramen, minus the noodles (further adding evidence to support my theory that Korean people and African American’s are analogous).
This place had a solid B health grade, and judging by the happy Mexican pushing a cart of exposed, frozen pork neck bones through the dining room, I could guess why. I never fear the B grade though – I’ve experienced first hand some of the health inspectors that L.A County sends out. Overweight, unkind, and ornery they will flag you for the most mundane silliness resulting in your hyper-clean establishment garnering a B grade. They will walk right behind the line at the busiest possible moment of service, sipping on their 4th diet coke of the day, marking up walk in refrigerators with red flags.
Some people forget that there are millions of bacteria in our stomach, on our hands, everywhere. The more exposure you have, the better off you are. That said, I tend to draw a hard line with seafood.
This however was one of the best values for lunch I have ever seen. A quaint set of bowls for your bones, and we just went to town sucking juicy meat off the neck bones and slurping off the liquid. This was date food for sure.
Of the Ban Chan, Two types of Kimchi, both were solid (though we likely did not need it, nothing was refilled).
Also crunchy pickled daikon and a side of ginger sauce. One interesting side was fresh Perilla leaves (Shiso), which were a really nice accoutrement.
A side of rice with small peas to soak up the broth, and seaweed like side that I didn’t particularly care for. I didn’t get great pictures here, focus was off.
I was bursting at the seams full, and for two portions the bill was $19. Pretty phenomenal
Will certainly return here. Vegan Friendly.