Move Over, K-Town: Foothill Boulevard in Crescenta Has Arrived

Deliciously genuine Korean food is plentiful in the hills of suburban LA Crescenta
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ITS NAME MAY sound  Spanish—or French?—but La Crescenta is becoming more Korean by the day. The suburb along the 210 freeway in the San Gabriel foothills, together with nearby communities like Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, and Montrose, now has nearly 20,000 Korean Americans residing there. Not surprising, then, that Foothill Boulevard, the busiest street in the neighborhood, has become a mini K-town, filled with Korean bistros and restaurants. Here are five of the best.

(ILLUSTRATED BY TAEL GOMES)

SOL MA RU SEOLLEONGTANG

Jenny Park, who also owns the Seoul Cham Soot BBQ in La Cañada, promises Korean soul food at her La Crescenta location. Seolleongtang is ox bone soup with rice noodles and beef. It’s mild, so add scallions and dip the meat in jalapeño-onion soy sauce for pop.
3115 Foothill Blvd., 747-255-7446.


(ILLUSTRATED BY TAEL GOMES)

AJ NOODLES

Monica Chong and Joy Lee focus on pho and ramen but make room for two standout Korean dishes. They steam delicate dumplings filled with meat and vegetables and deep-fried chicken dumplings. In summer, cold noodles are available in chilled beef broth or blanketed with chile sauce and cucumber and daikon. All are served with squeeze bottles of vinegar and sinus-clearing mustard.
4121 Pennsylvania Ave., 818-248-2488.


(ILLUSTRATED BY TAEL GOMES)

MOOBONGRI SOONDAE

Moobongri specializes in two types of Korean soondae, or blood sausage. Soondae-guk is a soup chock-full of both chal (chewy glass-noodles) and tojong (vegetables and meat), plus sliced pork heart, cheek, and tender strips of stomach lining. Make the soup spicy by adding chile powder. Condiments include tiny salted shrimp for umami, crushed perilla seeds, and chopped jalapeños.
3630 Foothill Blvd., 747-255-7299.


(ILLUSTRATED BY TAEL GOMES)

MYUNG DONG TOFU AND BBQ HOUSE

Myung Dong, opened in 2017,  specializes in tofu stew, with variable spice levels and fillings like ham and sausage. The restaurant also shows skill beyond broth, serving spicy stir-fried pork with onions and scallions and good pan-fried fish, particularly sea trout.
3231 Foothill Blvd., 818-275-3595.


(ILLUSTRATED BY TAEL GOMES)

NANURI SNACK

This tiny restaurant with a blue facade serves popular Korean street foods meant to be eaten with loved ones (nanuri means “share” in English). They serve kimbap (seaweed and rice rolls), blanket kimchi fried rice in a thin omelet, and make soondae in-house. A fridge by the register showcases grab-and-go food like kimchi, jeon (egg-battered foods), and grilled mackerel.
3051 Foothill Blvd., 818-330-9338.



This story is featured in the July 2022 issue of Los Angeles

(Photographed by Shayan Asgharnia)

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