Don’t let the name tak kalbi throw you: This mess of chile-paste-marinated chicken, stir-fried on a griddle at your table with slices of napa cabbage and logs of rice cakes, has nothing to do with the barbecued beef short ribs known as kalbi.
Tak kalbi is a specialty of Chuncheon-do, a province on South Korea’s east coast, and while its popularity has reached the capital, it’s hard to find in LA.
Mapo Galbi doesn’t look that promising from the outside, according to Cicely, and the menu is brief (if you don’t want the tak kalbi or something barbecued, you’re pretty much out of luck), but its signature dish hits the spot, all its components permeated with the spicy-sweet sauce (which does lovely things to the satisfyingly chewy rice cakes).
Over at Kyochon, haowanr liked the famed fried chicken and loved the spicy chicken with rice cakes. It sounds like it falls somewhere between tak kalbi and dduk bokki, or stir-fried rice cakes (usually in a spicy-sweet but mostly meatless sauce). It’s typical Korean fast food or drinking food; a good place to look for it in Rowland Heights is at Good Time, says namstermonster.
Mapo Galbi [Koreatown]
3090 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles
Kyochon Chicken [Koreatown]
3833 W. Sixth Street, Los Angeles
Kyochon Chicken [South Bay]
In Freshia Market
2515 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance
Good Time [San Gabriel Valley]
19240 E. Colima Road, Rowland Heights