In a quiet, almost deserted mall at midday, you walk past fancy dress shops, bridal salons, an herb shop and a bakery. In the small, rustic restaurant at one end of the gallery, Chung Moo Kim Bop House, you slide onto a bench. Seconds later, a waitress sets in front of you a bowl of pickled radish, a bowl of spicy broth, a bowl of crunchy tentacles in a sweet chile sauce, and an oblong dish on which 10 slender sushi rolls ? kim bop ? line up like so many laver-green soldiers. The rice is significantly less seasoned than Japanese sushi rice, if at all, and the sticky seaweed wrappers are not particularly well toasted. You might fail to see the point of the dish. Still, 10 minutes from now, after you have experienced every possible permutation of tentacle, kim bop and broth, you may well worship the stuff. If you are honest with yourself, raw sea urchin eggs weren?t that appealing the first time around, either.
Photos by Raul Vegaand Anthony Allen
Twenty-odd years ago, I lived in a neighborhood that was then called Wilshire Center, in a large apartment, probably grand in its day, with Palladian windows, an oddly placed stairwell, and carpet that hadn’t... More »