One of the lesser-known Korean dishes is dak kalbi, or spicy chicken. Many Korean-Americans have no idea there are restaurants that specialize in dak kalbi, says Lau, and thus have no idea how good it can be.
Mapo Galbi is such a specialist, a local rarity. It’s a nondescript, rundown place, with the usual tables with large skillets, air vents, and TV playing Korean dramas, says Lau. But the dak kalbi is great: strips of chicken, pan-fried right in front of you on the skillet with sweet potato, duk (cylinders of rice dough), sliced green onions, cabbage, carrots, and lots of red chile sauce. After you’re done picking at the chicken, the cook dumps some rice, kimchee, and dried seaweed onto a skillet and mixes it with the remains of the chicken for an excellent meal-ender.
Mapo Galbi [Koreatown]
3090 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles