Sunday, November 18, 2007

Han Bat Shul Lung Tang, Koreatown 한 바 설 렁 탕 - Hangover Special Please

Han Bat Sul Lung Tang Koreatown

6:13 am.

I open my eyes to a hazy foreground. There's barely any light coming in through the windows yet I find it hard to even open my eyes. They feel like they've been sewn shut. I swallow the saliva in my mouth and feel the droplets slowly trickling down no faster than a snail's crawl. My mouth and throat are completely dry as a desert, probably from sleeping with my mouth open. I'm laying on the right side of my face, body sprawled over my bed. My leg's hanging off the bed and I can feel absolutely no blood circulating there. Oh my head. It feels like it's in a woodshop vise cranked all the way. The back of my eyeballs are throbbing with a slight jolt of pain. I can feel the pressure in my kidneys, signaling me to go to the bathroom. But I refuse to. I know what's going to happen if I get up. All the blood is going to tilt inside my head once I stand up, causing me to feel even more nauseous. It's now 7 am and my alarm goes off loudly. I purposely set my alarm to bad music so that I am FORCED to get up and turn it off. But this day, it couldn't be more painful with my hangover and horrible sound of Black Eyed Pea's "My Humps". If I had a gun, I would shoot my alarm clock a million times. I groan in major dis-satisfaction and shut up Fergie. Might as well go to the bathroom too. I stand up with the aid of my bed and feel the blood trickling to the right places, nearly falling. Oh god. I come back and fall back onto the bed. I miraculously find a cup of old water by my bed and kill it. This is terrible. The thought of going to work in the next few hours does not please me. As I lay there motionless in deep regret over last night's debauchery, there are only two words that come to mind:

Han Bat.

Han Bat (한 밭 설 렁 탕) is a Koreatown restaurant that specializes in ONE thing: sul lung tang. (I know the korean character for 'bat' is incorrect. Stupid computer won't do the character I want!) Sul lun tang is a soup made from boiling various beef bones, primarily oxtail, over a period of 12-15 hours. The result of the low-and-slow cooking method is a milky white broth caused by the collagen and marrow in the bones. Tonkotsu ramen is made through the same process, but with pork bones instead. There are only 4 meal categories in a day: breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. For me, I've added a 5th meal – this is best eaten after drinking. Nothing is more pleasing than a bowl of soup for me because I'm taking care of two things at once: thirst and hunger.

I walk in at 7:45 am and see a few tables occupied. I've been here about 8 times already and have figured out the clientele. There are usually two types of people that come in here. You've got the older Korean men and women (ah-je-shee and ah-je-ma) getting their breakfast on while reading the morning newspaper. And then you've got the 21-32 year old guys and girls with bags under their eyes, or bed-head, slurping the soup quite rapidly. At this time in the morning, they are more than likely... hungover. Like me.

Han Bat (한 밭) should actually change it's name to Han Go Pa (한 고 바) because of its remedial significance in quelling hangovers. Koreans will get that haha.

Han Bat

This is what Han Bat might look like when you're drunk or hungover. No time to admire the hole-in-the-wall decor. Just eat the food.

Han Bat

This is what Han Bat looks like after you've had their soup. All of a sudden, today is a brand new day.

Han Bat Sul Lung Tang

Han Bat's Hangover Soup: Sul Lung Tang
At Han Bat, they keep things really simple. You only have two options. Either you order the beef bone soup ($8.32 + tax) or you order the boiled beef that comes with wasabi ($16.63 + tax). The SLT comes in a mini black cauldron and is unsalted. You can smell the wafts of beefiness in the steam – reeling your drunk ass in. The broth has a subtle buttery-thickness to it. Some places will add tons of beef flavored stock (dashida) to enhance the real taste of beef bones. For your SLT, you can choose these types of toppings:

-mixed 석 음
-brisket 살 코 기
-flank 양 지
-intestine, tripe and spleen 내 장
-tongue 우 설

I always get the brisket and flank, which is similar to the beef cuts used in pho – my favorite. Rameniac has ordered the spleen before and decided to stick with non-spleen items. I love this soup!

Han Bat Toppings

Han Bat brings out the chef in you and lets you customize your SLT with korean salt (similar in texture to kosher, but slightly clumped up), black pepper and freshly-made chili paste. Along with the seasonings, comes the best topping in the world: the tub o' scallions which the server plops on the table. And a bowl of scalding hot rice packed into aluminum bowls.

Han Bat Sul Lung Tang

Normal people do one scoop. I take it to the next level and add 5 monster scoops. I've caught the server looking at me once. She asked me, "You like???" I said, "Nehhhhhh..."

Han Bat Kimchi

Han Bat Kimchi
I love their kimchi. This is the pasty, thick kind that doesn't have that acidic/carbonated bite which is usually associated with pre-bottled stuff. The server sets this on the table and asks if you want it cut. *Bam* Out comes the trusty old Korean-restaurant gadget: scissors. *Snip *Snip *Snip: on your mark, get set, kim chi!

Han Bat Radish

I can't describe the goodness of Han Bat's SLT. It is such a simple dish that does wonders for those that are sober or drunk. For a total of $11 (tip included), I get a piping hot bowl of beef bone soup, 2 side dishes, rice, the tub o' scallions and a very happy body. Han Bat accepts cash only and is open from 7am - 10 pm everyday. Valet parking available behind the building.

How do YOU quell your hangover?

Han Bat Shul Lung Tang (한 밭)
4163 W. 5th St (and Western)
Los Angeles, CA 90020 (213) 388-9499

And for those that find themselves hungover in NYC... I recommend Gahm Mi Oak. Solid.


food makes me happy said...

It is truely the best cure for hangover!

Sometimes I go to that abalone porridge place in k-town after a night of endless shots,

Sometimes I go to a pho place for some steamy hot soup noodles to wash down the alcohol.

Either way, I thing Asian food is the best match for hangvoer special!

Jane said...

Hrm, odd. I can't believe I'm probably the only person who seems to find this particular restaurant to be completely average. was my yelp review :\

Anonymous said...

so why the hangover, is everything ok, or was it just another night?

JadedOne said...

Haha I could totally go for some of that today. Whoever decided that people should work during the week of Thanksgiving should be shot, just like your alarm clock!

One of my favorite hangover cures is ramen or jook. Or anything that offers a nice spicy soup with carbs in it. Mmm... spicy soupy carby goodness.

Well, I hope your hangover is all gone!

Chubbypanda said...

Slow cooked stock is great for hangovers. I'm not sure I could handle the kimchi, though. Not if I was as far gone as you describe.

janfrederick said...

Interesting. I( recently read a book about a cowboy's life on the trail. Seems their cure for hangovers involved eating soup made from the more interesting cuts of the cow.

But yah, I've always found that a good bowl of #1 Pho eases my brains a bit after cooking and drinking (nice to know I'm not the only one who does that). ;)

Christine D. said...

What a coincidence. I was looking up restaurants near my sister's place for when I come to visit her this week. This was one of the places that popped up on the map.

e d b m said...

Everyone, this is some good stuff. I forgot to mention that pho and yuk kae jang (spicy korean beef soup) follow right behind Han Bat, or sul lung tang in general.

pleasurepalate said...

Oh my! I don't need a hangover to go. I'd just go because that soup looks damn good!

Anonymous said...

My hangover cure is tofu chigae. When I lived in Chicago, my roommate used to be amazed that I could get up at 9 am after a night of drinking and coming home at 5 or 6 am and boil up a pot of the stinky stuff (good thing she was Korean, too). Then I'd crawl back to bed for the rest of the day, satiated. I'm in Boston now, so I can't recommend any LA-area chigae places.

Daily Gluttony said...

i recently read a blurb in one of my girly beauty magazines that your typical hangover foods don't really work--that what people should really eat is something lowfat, high fiber and high protien like some whole wheat toast & a boiled egg. what a load of BS--these people have obviously never been hungover before!!!

my faves are menudo & pho. if the weather's hot then bibim naeng myun ('cause the ish makes me sweat!)

e d b m said...

PP, let me know what you think.

Alice, koreans are masters of cooking hangover soup. I'm sure a chi-gae would do a killer job. love dwaen-jang chigae.

DG, how about a bowl of cilantro soup? good seeing you and Isaac, hope you liked the food.

rara said...

awesome "right after drinking" meal - jinju gomtang. gomtang is similar to sullungtang. i get mine with tendon. DELICIOUS! the quality went down a bit after they moved from their hole in the wall joint on western and 6th but it's still quite satisfying at their new(er) location on wilshire and alexandria. btw, you type in korean! that's awesome~ and not to nitpick :X but gogi is spelled with a 'G' sound instead of "K". unfortunately i don't have hangul on my comp so I can't type it out. regardless, very cool~

elmomonster said...

Awesome. I need to whip out the Google map and find this place. Like pleasurepalate says, hangover or not, it looks good regardless.

Anonymous said...

i pretty much like a warm spicy soup (soon dobu, chi gae(s), etc..)when I'm hungover..gomtang is great too. it isn't spicy but their side dishes are quite spicy...i love their dipping sauce which includes picked jalapenos. you can't have good gomtang without having good kimchi!

e d b m said...

Hi Rara, what is jinju gomtang? and what is the name of this restaurant. I like all korean soups/stews. Thanks for the typo correction, I just copied whatever was written on the menu. Thanks for stopping by.

Elmolito, I'm sure you can find some good places in Garden Grove to eat this. Even the regular 'everything' restaurants may carry this. I just love the fact that Han Bat focuses on ONE ITEM. no frills.

Whattup Han Nah, I like how you emphasize the two words in your name. Along with rara's comment, where do you go for 'gom tang'?

Allison said...

daily gluttony...i asked my mom (who is a nutritionist) why i crave greasy food when i'm hungover. she said much the same as the magazine. i don't think my mother has ever been hungover either.

jiji said...

what does it say about koreans that we have so many good hangover foods?

after a night of solid soju and hite drinking, i just like kimchee fried rice. nothing like a bowl of starch to soak up the alcohol.

shoe monster said...

mmmm i ate here recently! so yummy. did the waitress try to speak japanese to you too?

Indonesia Eats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indonesia Eats said...

I would love to eat those...The pictures made me hangover already :-P

SteamyKitchen said...

haha - love the first pic!

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