Name of restaurant: Hwal Uh Kwang Jang
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? Their hwaedupbap (sushi rice bowl) lunch special brings in the Koreatown regulars. Hwaedupbap literally means rice covered in raw fish. For $6.99, you get a large bowl of the assorted raw fish, chopped curly leaf lettuce, shredded radish, gim (roasted seaweed sheets) and roe that you mix with rice and their chogochujang (seasoned vinegar chile sauce). It comes with your own bowl of miso soup, a few banchan, including kkakdugi (Korean radish kimchi) and even your own little jogi (roasted corvina). At night, customers come for their assorted hwae (Korean sushi) platters and live octopus.
Concept: Live-seafood restaurant in a mini-mall off Western.
Who's at the next table? At lunch time, young Korean American dudes bury their heads in the large bowls, looking up only to comment on the soccer games shown on the flat-screen TV.
Appropriate for: Dinner with the family or an inexpensive lunch with co-workers
Uh-oh: Watch out for the crazy parking in the tiny mini-mall lot. They have valet service in the evenings, but the sign is only in Korean.
Service: Typically Korean. They’ll take your order right away and the food comes quickly, but you’ll have to flag them down to get the check.
What are you drinking? Hwae is best eaten dipped in seasoned gochchang and chased by shots of soju, but they also have beer and soda.
Info: 730 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 386-6688.
The Scouting Report is a quick look at restaurants worth a visit. Scouts were selected by restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who may or may not agree with a single word.