Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baek Ha Chong

Baek Ha Chong
3929 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles

With the 20th anniversary of the LA Riots in the news recently, I realized it's been awhile since I've been to Koreatown. If you don't know, Koreatown was one of the hardest hit areas during the riots. Many Korean owned businesses were looted and set on fire. There were many reasons why Koreatown and Korean owned businesses were targeted during the riots. The rude treatment of blacks by the Korean store owners, the shooting death of a black teenager by a Korean store owner, then in a miscarriage of justice, that Korean store owner only getting probation for shooting that black teenager. But, something that the media rarely, if ever, talked about was the number of Korean store owners killed by blacks during robberies. In the aftermath of the riots, both communities opened lines of communications and there seems to be a peaceful truce so far. Though, I'm not sure if the relationship between blacks and Koreans have improved dramatically in those 20 years.

Anyways, Baek Ha Chong has been on my list of places to try because their BBQ pork ribs were suppose to be great. So, I get to Baek Ha Chong on a Saturday evening around 6pm. The place is almost empty. I was very surprised. Our server told me it gets much more crowded later on at night. It was a good thing there weren't many people, because I was hungry!! Baek Ha Chong is a small restaurant, it may set about 30 people at one time. It's kind of a hole in the wall and has no signage in English.

I'm not into the side dishes at Korean restaurants. Most of that stuff I don't touch. So I'm just going to review the entrees.

Squid in chili sauce, $20.95, seemed like a good thing to order. This dish had zucchini, onions, and green onions mixed in with the squid. The chili sauce was very good. A mild to medium spiciness with a hint of sweetness, I bet they put honey into the sauce.

The squid was very tough and chewy, not really that fresh, but combined with the chili, I liked this dish a lot. I wrap the squid with some chili sauce in a leaf of lettuce or put it on top of rice and made for a filling meal.

So, a lot of people rave about the BBQ Pork ribs, $18,95, at Baek Ha Chong. I wasn't impressed. The ribs are cut up spare ribs, but the portion is small, there is a lot of fat and gristle, and the meat isn't tender. The marinate was sweet, but this tasted a lot like Thai satay marinate. I can get an order of satay for under $10 at most Thai restaurants and there would be more meat when ordering satay, why would I pay almost double that amount, for these BBQ pork ribs?

Service was good. The ladies are friendly and helpful. They did forget to bring rice to our table. But when we asked for it and they were apologetic about forgetting, and brought us rice quickly.

I wouldn't come back to Baek Ha Chong, even though I liked the squid with chili sauce. The prices are a bit high and the quality of the food doesn't justify the high prices.