June 9, 2007

A-Won [Koreatown LA]

After unsuccessfully trying to find a consensus about where to eat before our Brand Upon the Brain screening at the Egyptian , I remembered that I had read a review in the LA Weekly about A-Won, a Korean sushi joint. We decided that that sounded interesting enough and after learning about the infamous hwe dup bap rice bowl.

We consulted the menu and tried to decipher the English translations for our dish. Being that none of us were Korean, we didnt want to butcher the pronunciation of hwe dup bap in asking the waitress for clarification so we blindly stared at her when she came to take our order. We eventually ended up asking and learned that what we were looking for was actually the "Assortment of Raw Fish and Vegetables over rice" for $14.95. But before they brought out the star attraction, we each received a bowl of rice and another of miso soup to hold us over. I was looking forward to the panchan side dishes, but was disappointed when I saw the waitress come over with a measly three dishes to accompany our dinner. They were average at best and just your standard kimchee, seaweed, and pickled vegetable.

We hadn't even gotten a chance to finish slurping up our miso soups [which didn't have tofu in them btw] when we were accosted by the sight of our entrees coming out of the kitchen. Hwe dup bap is a massive bowl of lettuce and sashimi poke reminiscent of its meat-heavy counterpart, bi bim bap. I warned my tablemates about the portion sizes, but they choose to not heed my advice and to instead order three bowls of the fish-laden extravanganza.

Our initial reaction was to gape, awe, and marvel at the sheer size of the bowls (12" in diameter). We then pondered the magnitude of our decisions. Would we be able to finish all that food? At least we would have to finish all of the sashimi. But try as we might, we could not delay the inevitable task that lay ahead of us, so we dove in.

After probing we our chopsticks, we learned that the bowl was much wider in girth than it was in depth and deduced that it was mostly lettuce. We regretted mixing in our rice because it got overwhelmed by the lettuce and ended up having to order a second bowl to even out the ratio.

Actually, I can't take credit for the hwe dup bap because I was more in the mood for meat and ordered Tonkasu ($12.95). It was a little on the greasy side, though I did enjoy the slightly tart, Korean-style tonkasu sauce. I spent the rest of night regretting my decision, which ended up giving me some serious heartburn.

In the end, my tablemates probably ate a combined effort of 2.5 bowls, though they remarked that they could have eaten more, but they had just gotten bored with the dish. No one felt adventurous enough that night, but we heard that A-Won also makes a mean al bap, which is a similar everything-but-the-kitchen-sink rice bowl, but with various types of eggs and roe instead.

913 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 389-6764


Pepsi Monster said...

Hey Pop T.,

I thought you were going to Wako Donkasu. Oh well, it sounded like you had a good meal, but not that it would rocked your socks. Great pictures by the way!!

Pop Tart said...

I thought so too, but my dining mates weren't too thrilled by the prospect. I guess I got Donkasu anyways...