Sunday, May 06, 2007

Shik Do Rak - Koreatown, LA - Home of the Rice Noodle Wrap

It's been almost nearly a year and a half that J & I have been in correspondence with a wonderful, funny and clever female blogger many of you know as Daily Gluttony. It was DG that influenced my decision to devote many nights of writing and waistline negligence to the popular trend of food blogging. For a while, I was interested in writing about food. I was never into politics, world events, sports etc., but food... I could do. How hard it could be to snap a few photos and describe what the hell you're ingesting. Let me tell you, I've been doing this since August of 2005 and it is hard work. It can take nearly 2 hours to produce a food posting. After you've uploaded your photos of the food, you have to edit them in Photoshop so that they look shiny and happy. Then you upload them into your food blog and engage in the sometimes aimless process of writing about food. Many times you'll hit a writer's block. And that's just the food you eat at a restaurant. Homecooking posts take MUCH longer. After prepping, cooking and plating... you have to set up your faux studio. Mine consists of a hideous 3-bulb lamp and a crappy Ikea table. My old roommate used to catch me shooting with the stupid lamp and laugh. I don't blame her - it is lame. Only fortunate people like Joycelyn of Kuiadore, Aun of Chubby Hubby and Heidi of 101 Cookbooks have the luxury of using fine equipment to produce their gorgeous photos. Check out their sites if you haven't already - it's serious eye candy. I'm not rich so I have to play with what I'm dealt. For the most part, I am quite slow on posting. This posting right here is already two months old and laden with cobwebs.

Anyway, since I first started, we've developed a friendship with Daily Gluttony and have hung out a few times. For our next meet up, DG and her husband were craving some korean bbq - particularly at Shik Do Rak, which is one of the firsts in Koreatown to serve their grilled delicacies with a thin, oily rice noodle sheet known as 'ddok bo ssam'. It is very similar to the steamed rice noodles (cheung fun) at dim sum restaurants and Chiu Chow (Trieu Chau) soup noodles, also known as 'huh fun' or 'guo tiao'.

J & I met up with DG & her husband on a friday night at Shik Do Rak, located on the corner of Hoover/Olympic. This place is tricky with parking as it's very easy to miss. I usually don't bother with the parking lot for 8 and resort to street parking. Plus after a meal here, you'd want to walk some of it off.

A good thing about eating with another food blogger is that they are typically open minded and are willing to order for people. It bugs me when someone says "I don't know" or "I don't care" when it comes to ordering food. Boring. And when you do suggest something like, tripe, they cringe and reject the thought. Very helpful people.

SDR is part indoors and part patio like many korean bbq restaurants, with exception to Soot Bull Jeep, which is a modified chimney with doors and windows. They should really consider upgrading their ventilation system because someone is bound to die in there. Even the employees there look a little sick. Given the option to choose seating, I'm gonna go with the outdoors. Air is good.

SDR is known as the home of the rice noodle wrap in LA according to many I've talked to. Now it's not hard to find this at restaurants like Manna, Tahoe Galbi and Gui Rim 2 - it's become a staple and part of the korean 'works'.

Shik Do Rak's Rice Noodle Sheet (Ddok Bo Ssam)
They resemble translucent napkins stacked on top of each other. Perfectly oiled and thin, there is definitely a difference between theirs and the forementioned korean restaurants. As of now, I'd have to say they are made the best. Any recs for places with good 'ddok bo ssam'?

Spicy Bean Paste and Salt/Pepper/Sesame Oil
Can someone please tell me the name of the oil dip? The waitresses never understand when I ask for the name. Anyway, I love SDR's bean paste b/c the flavor kick doesn't come from the jalapenos and bean paste (daen jang)... it's the Sriracha garlic chili sauce! Such a great combo. Those that have eaten here will know what I'm talking about.

Korean Salad
So far SDR, is 2 for 2 with their condiments... unfortunately this doesn't help at all. No dressing at all! Not the slightest taste of sesame oil or soy sauce/vinegar.

Grill Pan
This is what indoor korean bbq places will use instead of the standard charcoal grills. I guess it's a good way to save the juices from the meat. For those that don't care about their cholesterol, here's the third type of sauce you can use. Just dip your meat into the gutter of the pan and enjoy. This type of grill pan really supports the theory that Mongolians grilled their meat on shields over campfires. Very cool and so barbaric.

Mmm... the Beef Belt

The concept of 'fruit leathers', Trader Joe's answer to everyone's childhood favorite - Sunkist Fruit Rollups, is weird to me. But this is cool sh*t.... the meat is perfectly cut and then folded to look like a belt. Now that's manly. This thing could do some damage in a restaurant brawl. This was the easiest thing to grill. We simply cut it in half and laid out on the grill for a nice tan. The waitress quickly came by and cut it up into this...

Shik Do Rak Beef
This meat isn't marinated but still tastes pretty decent. I've noticed that many korean restaurants will offer meat with and without marinade, and I prefer the non-marinated b/c I want to taste the meat. The sauces provided here really make this a tasty component along with the oily and thin 'ddok bo ssam'.

Thin Sliced Beef (Cha Dol Peggi) & Beef Tongue
These two are my favorite types of meat because one they cook really quickly and two, are quite light. I think SDR cuts their tongue at the perfect width - too thick and you'll think you're chewing on taffy.

Pictured below is the jovial owner of SDR. He is quite the ladies man and will make sure he gets a drink of soju or beer with you at your table. He came by a few times to check upon us and really made us feel welcome. I think he was just interested in talking to J and DG though haha. Talk to him, he's a nice man.

Where Are Your Hands Mr. Shik Do Rak?! jk

Overall, SDR is a good restaurant but there are many better places in Koreatown. With exception to the rice noodle sheets, spicy daen jang bean paste and friendly owner, the meat quality here is above average. I don't remember the ban chan (side dishes) being that impressive as well. Also, this place is not all-you-can-eat for those looking for the $14.99 deals. But definitely give it a shot – Koreatown is fun to hang out in. Thanks for reading.

Next up: Park's BBQ, Sul Ra Bul and Sa Rit Gol.

Shik Do Rak
2501 W. Olympic Boulevard (c/o Hoover)
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 384-4148


Jeni said...

In a major writer block now...hope to be back soon.

Anyways, I love Daily Gluttony and k-bbq! Looking forward to Park's!

Daily Gluttony said...

Mr DG and I had a great time w/ you guys at SDR. Let's do soot bull jeep soon!

If it took you 2 mos. to do this post, it will take me 5. I have a half assed one sitting in my blogger posts just waiting to be finished. We'll see...

Charlotte said...

The original shik do rak is located in garden grove, and the rice wrap comes with slices of thinly sliced pickled beet slice that is faintly green with wasabi. It makes the experience completely different -- better!

One Food Guy said...

Somehow life finds a way to get in the way of food blogging.

I know this doesn't apply too much on SoCal, but in Boston, with the onset of later sunsets and warmer days, my focus turns to having fun outdoors...which means less cooking and more playing...which means less food blogging.

As your infamous Ah-nold once said, "I'll be back."

Julie said...

the oil dip is basically sesame oil with's called chahm gi reum. and it's the best with prok belly, no? i saw you on No Reservations...i love your blog!

Bon Vivant said...

Even though it's not charcoal bubbaque, I love Sa Rit Gol; try some non bubbaque dishes (pancake, cod) - they are really good.

If you are interested my new blog entry is Soot Bul Gui Rim.

I know of another place that does the rice wrappers that I'll be checking out soon. I'll let you know if it's still good (last time I went I had a really bad migraine so my senses may have been off.)

SteamyKitchen said...

i love that meat photo - look at all that marbling!!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

J, Park's & Mu Dung San next!

DG, always a good time with you two.

Charlotte, how does the GG compare to Koreatown? I still haven't tried the pickled beet/radish slice w/ the beef. Sounds great though.

OFG, we all have hiatuses in everything we do.

Julie, thanks for the correct name of sesame oil. I learn it but always forget it. Thanks for stopping by.

BV, i'm looking to try the beet/radish slice with korean bbq now.

Steamy, thanks for stopping by. The concept of a beef belt is so weird, i just had to shoot it.

Anonymous said...

Hey D. I've been there a few times and that owner is always so friendly. I agree with the, but everything is not bad. I just tried the Korean cold noodles there and I love it. Have you tried it yet. That's my new noodle for now....korean cold noodles. ~irene
hi jeni..miss you.

Anonymous said...

EDBM, what is your favorite dokbosam restaurant, whether it is allyoucaneat or not. Tried SDR and Manna, which I thought was OK and not great. What are your recommendations

Anonymous said...

actually, the rice sheets are just called "dduk". Dduk bo ssam is what you would call the entire thing: the rice sheet, salad mix, meat.

the shik do rak in LA is actually the original one. the Garden Grove location has only been around for a few years. Both are pretty much the same, although the GG location is MUCH nicer.

As you noted in your review, the dduk is available at most korean bbq restaurants. I think Shik Do Rak has one of the better tasting dduks. There are some places where the dduk just taste nasty (if you can believe it).

The Korean markets are starting to sell the dduk and the wasabi-marinated radish slices in the refrigerated section.

foodhoe said...

oooh I haven't ever heard of this delicious looking noodle skin thing. I've been on a korean bbq roll, even going for more tonight, so I'm going to look for it. the pix btw are really beautiful

Heather said...

I recently went to Shik Do Rak on a visit to SoCal and thought it was an awesome experience. I've had tons of very good korean food but never before with the rice wrap I had heard all these rave reviews about. After doing much research and asking around about the rice wrap, it turns out my suspicions were correct.

Many Korean restaurants in LA purchase their rice sheets from the Vietnamese. You can actually buy a pound of it for $2 and you can see them actually pull the full sheets out of the boxes and cut them up at the Korean restaurants. In Vietnamese the rice sheets are called banh cuon, which directly translated means rolled or wrapped cake. The Vietnamese usually wrap ground beef mixed with shrimp, mushrooms, and onions inside.

Since LA has a large population of all sorts of Asian, it seems like this great combination was a result of the mixing of cultures. They do have broken rice with Korean BBQ at Vietnamese restaurants as well.

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