Skip to main content

Olympic Cheonggukjang

Whenever I crave "REAL" Korean food, you can find me at Olympic Cheonggukjang. Not only was I the first to review this place, I kept it a secret for a long time because hell, this restaurant is NOT for everyone. But, Jonathan Gold reviewed it early this year so the droves of people are already flocking to this restaurant.

The moment you walk in, you will be greeted with a pungent smell that can only be described as nasty sewage poo fart. The reason for this is the Cheonggukjang, a way stinkier and more fermented version of Daen Jang jjigae (but also, apparently, much healthier).

You will also realize that for the most part, this restaurant is full of old people. I first came here with my health nut dad and mom because my dad was in the mood for Cheongukjang, a specialty that even many Koreans cannot stand to smell or eat in the same vicinity (hence, most restaurants with typical Korean menus will not serve this dish. Think of it as offensive as Durian). 

I personally thought I was going to hurl when I first came here (and I love Durian). However, as soon as I ordered my tamer and less smelly dish of Corvina (jo gi goo eeh), I was floored. So crispy on the outside and meaty and juicy on the inside. 

Jo Gi Goo Eeh (Corvina): fried to a crisp! 

I realized that even though this place specializes in Cheonggukjang, there are few other places in Koreatown that has such high quality food as this place. Sure there are some hit or miss items (I'm not a fan of the duk gook here, for example), but their jjigaes (stews) are to die for and hit a nerve in your soul, and the banchans (side dishes) are all homemade, delicious, and super fresh. My favorite is their crispy gheem (seaweed lavers) that come with a toothpick stuck in the middle so it doesn't fly everywhere. The Spicy Pork Bulgogi even won an award last year.

The Spread: Pork Bulgogi, Daen Jang Jigae, Crispy Corvina with banchan

The Jak gok bap (brown rice and beans medley) is the legit version, not the white rice kind with a few beans in it.

]
Legit jak gok bap

Kimchi Jigae

Spicy pork bulgogi: winner of 2nd annual Korean bbq cookoff

banchan (their kak doo gi - the radish kimchi - is to die for)

more banchan.

If you can brave the smell and all the Korean (although their menu now has English translations) and sometimes, a wait, you will definitely be a return customer. There is no English sign outfront so just look for the suite number or a line of people waiting at lunch/dinner. Parking lot is usually crowded but never an issue.

I wasn't initially going to review this place since I've never ordered the Cheonggukjang before but since this is my go-to place for all things authentic Korean, I feel it deserves a review. I mean, considering that they even won "best pork" at the 2nd annual Korean cook off proves that they can serve more than just Cheonggukjang. Besides, I might try to brave the smell and order the Cheonggukjang next time and realize what I've been missing.

Olympic Cheonggukjang
2528 W Olympic Blvd
Ste 104
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 480-1107


Olympic Cheonggukjang on Urbanspoon
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

Donut Friend & Town Pizza - York Blvd, Highland Park, CA

First, Donut Friend - a DIY donut house. They also have some on their list that are already made. I like ordering off their menu because well, they spent a lot of R&D money to make sure some of these ingredients work together. When left up to my demise, the donuts I create end up tasting off. 
My favorite off their menu is the Jets to Basil and Nutella Vision. This one below is neither of these. I don't even quite remember which one this was but it contained reese's pieces and it wasn't as good as the two aforementioned donuts.

You end up ordering at the cash register but the setup looks almost like you order it when you walk up to it and follow the donut maker to the cash register. That is not how it works here. You just order at the cash register and someone makes it for you (and you're allowed to watch this person make it for you). Yes, it is a confusing set up and I get annoyed as well. 
Another place we go to frequently just because it is convenient and becau…

Cuñape

"Cuñape" is the best cheeseballs in the world, and it’s from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. These gooey and addictive cheese balls are similar to the Brazilian "pão de queijo" or the French "gougères" or the Colombian "pandebono" but all of these are different from each other as well. Gougères are lighter and more airy while the Brazilian ones are chewier but drier on the outside. I would say the pandebonos are closest in taste and texture to the Bolivian cuñape but it is slight more bready.

In Bolivia, we use mennonite cheese (farmer's cheese) for this recipe and honestly without that cheese it will never be exactly like the original but you do what you can. I've been hunting down a similar cheese in the U.S. for ages but the closest I can get to it is to use the queso blanco or fresco and add some more salt (or even mix some feta into it).

The history of the cuñape is very interesting. It is a Guaraní word that means "a woman's breast&…

Making Mocochinchi

I get really excited when I can think of a food or drink that is solely Bolivian. I admit there isn't too many Bolivian dishes that are not influenced by the many countries that it borders. Even the Saltena, Bolivia's most famous empanada looking pastry comes from a woman who came from Salta, Argentina, to Tarija, Bolivia. 
So when I'm researching Mocochinchi, my favorite childhood and now adulthood drink, made from dehydrated whole peaches, sugar, and cinnamon, and I find that it's a "Bolivian"drink, I get really really excited. Bolivia Bella goes on to describe regional favorites. 
In Santa Cruz, you can buy the dehydrated peaches in the open markets. I snag a pound of dehydrated peaches because you really can't find these in the U.S. except maybe in Miami or Virginia, where there is a huge population of Bolivians. Using sliced dehydrated peaches don't really work for this particular drink because the fun is eating the reconstituted peaches afterwa…