If you want to try the best quality of bulgogi, a marinated beef, or want to feast like a King from the Korean dynasty, “Gwangyang Bulgogi” is the best restaurant you can go to in Koreatown, Los Angeles.
Gwangyang bulgogi is a type of bulgogi that originated from Korea. In the Joseon dynasty period, the Kims lived in Gwangyang, worried about their only son who had no manners. They treated the scholars to calves and cows with garlic sauce cooked over black oak charcoal from Mt. Baegunsan with joy. This is how Gwangyang bulgogi was born.
What’s good about Gwangyang bulgogi is that it looks and tastes different than the typical bulgogi you see at other Korean barbecue restaurants. They use rib eye instead of just marinated beef, which makes the bulgogi taste much softer and taste more of the savory meat flavor rather than the sweetness of the marinated sauce. They hardly put sugar or other seasoning on the bulgogi and it still tastes good. They use the best quality of rib eye and grill them on charcoal. That is why people can enjoy the clean and light taste of Gwangyang bulgogi. You won’t find bulgogi like theirs anywhere else in California!
Owner Chul-hong Ahn had been running “Gwangyang Bulgogi” in Korea for 15 years. Koreans, including major public figures, love “Gwangyang Bulgogi” in Korea. Former President Myung-bak Lee, former Prime Minister Hwang-sik Kim and the mayor of Seoul Se-hoon Oh often visit the restaurant and enjoy Gwangyang bulgogi. That’s when CEO Ahn decided to introduce the true taste of Korean food to foreigners in the U.S. The chef at the restaurant in Korea often visited LA before opening the restaurant in Koreatown, and tried his best to match the same taste of Gwangyang bulgogi in Korea and make it the same in LA. Ahn said, “The first thing I care about is the sincerity of our food. That is why I always check on everything from A to Z. I always check on the quality of meat and how they are cooked on the grill. I regard the customers who come to my restaurant as my family. We bring ingredients from Korea to US, like the gochugaru (Korean chili powder) and sesame oil. I only make food that can be served to my family and myself. This is how I worked for 15 years now.” Ever since “Gwangyang Bulgogi” opened in Fall 2014, word of mouth spread all over town that a new go-to place for KBBQ had opened. Even celebrities such as Roy Kim, Eric Nam and SISTAR had enjoyed the taste of “Gwangyang Bulgogi” during their brief stay in Los Angeles.
“Gwangyang Bulgogi” made a deal with a distribution enterprise so that he could get the fastest shipment of meat in order to acquire the best quality meat. He is familiar with the US and Japanese distribution enterprise because he also uses Kobe beef, which is beef from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle in Japan, for Kkot sal (marbled beef rib eye). They also remove the fat from the rib-eye before they cook it in consideration for the customers’ health and diet. The uniqueness of Korean BBQ is that people can actually see the meat that they are going to eat, and enjoy watching while the meat is cooking. “Gwangyang Bulgogi” takes strong pride on having both the best meat quality and the best customer service in Koreatown.
Ahn wishes that “Gwangyang Bulgogi” can be the perfect example of what true Korean food tastes like to foreigners. That is why Ahn put so much effort on every single dish and how it tastes. “Gwangyang Bulgogi” even uses porcelain dishes to show Korea’s traditional dishes and plates and they hardly use any seasonings for their food in order to bring out the natural ingredients and flavor to introduce Korea’s clean and nicely presented food.