Last month, nearly two years after our original show was postponed, we got to see BTS in concert. GAHHHHHHHHHHH! We’ve done next to nothing during this pandemic, so it was crazy to get on a plane after all this time but it was worth it. With just 23 hours in the city, we knew we’d need to nail down where to eat in Koreatown LA. While we jumped around to several places, Madang Courtyard was our favorite!
What’s in this post:
- Where is Koreatown LA?
- Madang Mall & Courtyard
- Parking Options
- Ellie Julie Korean Street Food & Dessert
- Paris Baguette Bakery
- Daiso Japan, KPop Music Town and More
- Nearby Galleria Market
Gonna be honest — I absolutely HATED the drive from the LAX area to Koreatown. There was a lot of construction going on which made the traffic even worse. Be sure to give yourself PLENTY of time if you’re going to check out Madang Courtyard/Mall and other great stuff in the area.
Where is Koreatown LA?
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll all assume that we’re all tourists arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). As you can see from this map, Koreatown is northwest of the airport and there are several ways to get there. No matter what, though, it’s going to take you at least 30 minutes.
My biggest suggestion here is to check a navigation app for real-time traffic reports. If all routes seem similar in terms of time, go with the one that keeps you on main roads the most. We ended up on a lot of back streets due to detours and it was infuriating.
Madang Mall & Courtyard
Before we get into where to eat in Koreatown LA, let’s talk about the mall. MaDang is the Korean word for Courtyard and that’s exactly what Madang Mall is. It’s a three-level shopping center and entertainment complex but it’s in the shape of a courtyard with a big, outdoor open space in the middle on the ground level.
The Madang Mall is located at 621 S Western Avenue, Los Angeles 90010. It’s right on the corner of S Western and 6th, so it’s hard to miss. There’s a parking garage that is accessible from Manhattan Place (you can’t get to it from S Western) so we didn’t have to look for parking, but there are plenty of places to park along the street.
- Basement: H-Mart Supermarket & Food Stall
Ground level: Kost-eat (Korean street food court)
- #100 Jeong Yuk Jeom Korean Restaurant
- #101 I Coffee Bar
- #102 Boba Square
- #103 Beard Papa
- #104 Cosmetic World
- #105 Paris Baguette Cafe & Bakeshop
- #107 Daiso Japanese Retail Store
- #201 One Dental
- #204 Bobos – now by appointment only
- #214 Boaz Eyewear
- #213 Kpop Music Town
- #205 LeeKaJa HairBis
- #208 California Rock’n Sushi
- #215 Little Light Family Clothing Store
- #300 Aladdin Bookstore
- #301 Aki Shabu
- #302 Super Power Chicken
- #304 CGV Cinema
We’ve been cautious during the pandemic, but we felt very comfortable at the Madang Mall. We could easily socially distance, some stores required you to sanitize your hands at the door, and we were given a buzzer after ordering our food so we wouldn’t have to stand in line/be close to other people while we waited.
Ellie Julie Korean Street Food & Dessert
By far, the main attraction at Madang Courtyard is Ellie Julie. I’ve seen many videos reviewing the mall and people almost always include this eaterie. When we went, all of the outdoor seating was occupied and there was a long line. We waited about 15 minutes for our order to be ready. This seems to be on almost everyone’s list of where to eat in Koreatown LA!
When we were there, the menu included the following types of items:
We wanted to try everything, but we had two things to consider. The first was that we didn’t have a ton of time, so we needed to be efficient. The second was that my oldest daughter was with us and she’s a vegetarian. So, we kept it simple.
- Moon Toast
- Lobster Balls
- Drinks & Slush
We got tteokbokki skewers (hot rice cakes) and mozzarella dogs. We wanted the ones coated in potatoes, but they were all sold out! Lemme tell you, we’ve had this stuff at home and loved it but the fresh stuff was AMAZING!
Normally, I buy the frozen mozzarella dogs and fry them. If you see them at your local Asian market, buy some because they are delicious! They pale in comparison, though, to the super crunchy and overstuffed K-Hotdog at Ellie Julie’s. It was gigantic, melty, and I swear my soul left my body for a second.
At home, I normally make the saucy kind of tteokbokki you see in k-dramas like Vincenzo, but I’ve always wanted to try the skewers. They looked good, but didn’t seem to be anything spectacular — until we tasted them! How on earth little fried rice sticks lightly coated with a gochujang-based sauce could taste so good is beyond me, but we were in k-food heaven!
I’ve wanted to try Paris Baguette for years. YEARS, I tell ya! Sometimes, I worry that things are overhyped and won’t be as good as I hoped, but this famous bakery did not let me down. We tried so many delicious things that I don’t even remember everything we got. This is definitely among my suggestions for where to eat in Koreatown LA!
Here’s a list of some of the items we tried:
- Mochi donuts
- Curry Pan (bread filled with vegetable curry)
- Castella cake
- Mini Croissants
- Red Bean Bread
Everything was super fresh and so good. In fact, even the stuff we brought home and ate the next day was still fantastic. We loved that all of the products were individually wrapped so that picking what we wanted felt safe and sanitary. If you love breads and/or desserts, you have to try Paris Baguette!
Can you ever say enough about H-Mart? After stalking them among my favorite online Asian grocery stores, I finally got to see one in person and it was everything I ever wanted. If you use a lot of Korean and/or Asian products at home, you definitely need to visit H-Mart.
Unfortunately, I was so busy having fun that I forgot to take a picture. It was very similar to the Galleria Market (which I’ll share in a few minutes), so if you check out those images, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect.
Daiso Japan, KPop Music Town, and More
One of my favorite stores from Japan is Daiso. My younger daughter and I are very familiar and even love shopping on the website (shipping can be rough, though!), but we were able to share this fantastic store with my older daughter on our trip to LA!
While I would love to share pictures from Kpop Music Town, where we tried to get a BTS lightstick (best known as an ARMY Bomb!!!), it was too insane with so many fans preparing for the concert. If you love Kpop, though, this is normally a pretty cool place to shop.
We made a few other quick stops, notably to Cosmetic World to get some of the k-beauty products that I love. With more time, I could easily spend a couple hours at Madang Mall because there really are a lot of good stores (and food)!
Galleria Market is Nearby
If you love H-Mart but didn’t find everything you need, definitely check out Galleria Market. It’s about six minutes from Madang Mall and it’s huge. We spent a large chunk of time doing grocery shopping instead of sightseeing…but every time I drink my soju and use my doenjang, I have no regrets.
Honestly, I had a moment where I was near tears because I can’t imagine what it would be like to have such an amazing Korean grocery store near my own home. We have a good shop by Boise standards, but it’s nothing like Galleria Market!
We struggle to get those frozen mozzarella dogs but Galleria had entire chests of them. Hard to get Chilsung Cider (even online)? Not if you live near this fantastic grocery store. There were so many varieties of soju…did I tell you I brought an entire empty suitcase with me on this trip so that I could pack it with food?
WE BARELY MADE IT HOME and one of my soju bottles exploded in transit, but it was worth the effort. My kids have been feasting on these treats ever since I got home (okay, some of this stuff is already gone) and I don’t feel too guilty because there is a lot less sugar in Korean snacks.
Koreatown LA Was Worth It
Even though we had to battle traffic and it squeezed the little time we had to get ready for the concert (we ate at Yoshinoya USA afterwards and it was a huge disappointment!), seeing Koreatown LA was worth it. If you’re able to visit, it’s larger than you might expect and there’s something for everyone. We’ve covered just a tiny corner of what you’ll find but we hope we gave you an idea of where to eat in Koreatown LA. You’re in for a real adventure!