For anyone who knows me well, Korean food is my favorite cuisine. My first encounter with Korean food was back when I was in college. I became friends with a few Korean students, and tried Korean cooking for the very first time. I was really blown away, and happily overwhelmed with the pungent, and complex taste of the food. The best tasting Korean dishes I have ever tried were definitely at one of my friend’s home. Her mother was so welcoming, so happy and proud that I was gobbling up all her cooking as if it was the best food in the world, of which it really was. With immense pride and joy on her face, she would serve me plates and plates of different homemade kimchees, as well as tender strips of marinated meat that I could not get enough of. I have long since lost touch with my friend Jeannie Yoon, I have hope that one day I will run into her in Koreantown where I do frequent often.
Back to the present, one of my favorite Korean dish these days is braised black cod(Eun Daegu Jorim). There is nothing that I do not like about this dish. The fish is delicate but flavorful, with just the right seasonings to bring out the fish taste, but not overpowering it. I have tried this dish at Kobawoo, Jun Won, Mapo Kkak Du Gi, and all of them are good. But it is at Soban, that I found the taste of this dish to be of perfect balance.
The black cod at Soban was cooked not just with radishes, but with the addition of rectangular pieces of tofu and thin slices of squash. The taste was more subtle and not as strong(which I prefer) as the other places. The other dish I tried at Soban was Galbijjim. It was the first time trying this particular way of eating beef ribs at a Korean restaurant. The meat was simmered slowly in a pot with different ingredients. The beef was tender, and again the flavor was quite delicate. I liked the red dates and chestnuts inside the pot, but I thought that they can be cooked longer so that the texture may become softer.
A side note, I must say that I prefer to go to restaurants that do not require valet parking, and this restaurant does offer limited parking in the back, and on the streets.
Thoughts and Questions for the Day: I notice that Korean people usually go mainly to Korean restaurants; I especially don’t see too many Koreans in Chinese restaurants. Why? Is it because Korean food is so tasty already that there is no special desire for other cuisines?
Soban: 4001 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019 Phone: (323) 936-9106