My Korean friend and I came here a bit early to avoid the lunch rush and I'm so glad we did. By the time we were finished, there was a grip of Koreans waiting to eat. This is one of the best kept secrets of Koreatown right now and most people still haven't quite jumped on the Kalgooksoo bandwagon yet but they will once they have a taste of this doughy hand pulled noodles set in a delicious seafood heavy broth.
Bajirak means clams and so I ordered the restaurant namesake's noodle dish (written out as "Manila Clam Kalguksu - $9.95 as of this writing) while my friend ordered the Spicy Seafood Kalguksu ($9.95 as of this writing). We also ordered a side of steamed dumplings (was a bit extraneous at $7.95 as of this writing).
My Manila Clam Kalguksu came out piping hot. The steam that rose from it engulfed my senses and I could smell all the wonderful sea creatures that died for me to enjoy their umami flavors. One stir into my noodles and I could see how the noodles were some next level stuff. I mean, it really looked hand-pulled with some parts fatter than others. The texture reminded me of my favorite doughy Korean soup called Soojebi, which is a dough flaked soup that my grandmother used to make for me. Here was a longer, noodle version of that and upon tasting it, it brought back all my soojebi memories. There also was a mighty portion of clams in my soup. So much so that if I were on a low carb diet and I just ate the clams and the soup of this dish, I would still be full.
My friend's Spicy Seafood Kalguksu was deeper and a bit more complex than my refreshing and clean clam kalguksu. It was the slutty sister of my saintly dish. Hers had a medley of seafoods including clams, crab, shrimp, and mussels.
After about 30 minutes of getting a mini steamed facial as we hovered over our hot bowl of pillow soft and chewy noodles, working our way through the generous portions of seafood, our damage looked like this:
I would eyeball about 1.5 cups of clams in my bowl of bajirak kalgooksoo (kalguksu) which is about the same amount of sea carcasses my friend put out as well.
Unfortunately I couldn't finish my bowl of carbs though I did manage to eat all the protein. My friend did a better job. I took the dumplings home. Next time, I will just get the bowl of noodles.
The best supporting actress goes to the fermented spicy radish (Kakdoogi). We had about 4 helpings of it (pictured to the upper right of my clam kalguksu). It wasn't as hard as the radishes you normally get at other restaurants (which I also loooovvveee) and was a bit more fermented so the funk was amazing. The kimchi was pretty stellar too.
Everything (food, tax, tip of %20) was $36.
Parking was valet for easy access ($2) and this place gets super crowded and loud so hurry up and eat and go so you don't get the evil eye!
It is located in the same plaza as Cafe Bleu, Paris Baguette, 7-11 across from the Chapman Plaza.
Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo
3470 W 6th St
LA, CA 90020
Koreatown, Los Angeles