Profile: Ham Kyung Do
Monday. October 31. Halloween. What’s a good Halloween-themed lunch restaurant? Nearly all chain restaurants are scary as fuck. No thank you. Halloween needs gore. I’m headed back to the motherland for Korean Blood Sausage. Losanjealous presents another Jonathan Gold-approved gem in the heart of the city.
Smack in the middle of a ridiculously overwhelming monstrosity of a strip mall at 955 South Vermont, Ham Kyung Do can be initially difficult to find. Your eyeballs are being pulled 1,000 directions and your ears are paying attention to the small Korean woman politely telling you there’s no way you can park here, and to get lost and go park where you’re supposed to. The restaurant’s facade is literally buried behind a locksmith shack and upper-deck staircase, its signage vying for eyeballs amidst a barrage of locksmiths, threatening parking signs and amazing 80’s Nagel hairdos [photo].
Once you find the place and have legally parked, however, you’re in business. There’s no English menu but your choices are limited. This helps. I was able to get what I’d come for by mentioning the words sundae, soup, and making sure she knew we were talking about sausage when she countered with pork. In a few minutes I was all set for an incredible meal.
If you’ve ever had blood sausage or any of the richer cajun sausages, you halfway know what to expect already. If you’ve never tried blood sausages before, I would not hesitate to recommend this place as a primer.
The sausages at Ham Kyung Do are held together by vermicelli noodles [photo] and thrown into a steaming broth with a handful of scallions. Without the noodles, they’d quickly fall apart in the broth. You can salt your broth to suit using a bowl of coarse salt on the table. That’s all fine, but there’s a better method: A very small side dish was placed conspicuously near my bowl. I soon discovered why. What appeared to be teeny-tiny, industrially-salted shellfish hatchlings in kimchi paste lay hiding in the shallow saucer. Used properly, they spiced the sausages perfectly.
Should you make the journey to Ham Kyung Do, I recommend the following regimen: Rub a bit of the coarse table salt into your broth. Scoop a juicy sausage onto your spoon. Add chile paste to suit. Add scallions. Add hatchlings. Eat hella out of.
All this for $7.95. Los Angeles, I love you.
Ham Kyung Do
955 S. Vermont
Time permitting, why not get yourself a Nagel haircut upstairs for dessert?