Fishy and Fresh
After a slow strut around Elysian Park last night, JP and I were craving Korean food. Heartened by my recent luck with Jonathan Gold's Essential 99 L.A. Restaurants, I referred to the list again for our dinner. Rather than heading to Chosun Galbi or any of the other Korean BBQ joints, I thought we should check out A-Won. After all, two Korean-American friends had raved about the hwe dup bap that is A-Won's specialty. Once seated, I noticed that JP was the only white boy in the building. As proof, and in his belief that he would make a good hand model, he stuck his digits in the frame when I snapped my photo of the edamame. Notice how the word "fresh" is displayed not only on my beer glass but also thrice on my paper tablemat advertising some soju.
It was fitting that "fresh" was the motto for the evening. The hwe dup bap that I ordered appeared, in JP's words, "fishy and fresh." Measuring at least 11 inches in diameter, the plastic bowl was crammed with fresh romaine lettuce, shredded daikon and carrots, roe, slivers of toasted seaweed, sesame seeds, sprouts and chunks of raw fish. As JP noted, the hwe dup bap tasted just like how it looked: bland as a tube sock being sold outside on the sidewalk by an enterprising migrant worker. The saving grace of my meal was the bottle of hot sauce that I kept squeezing onto the healthy hodgepodge. That's one more strike against Monsieur Gold and his 99 woopey-dooh restaurants!