Recession Obsession: Big Friggin’ Dumplings in Koreatown

Recession Obsession: Big Friggin' Dumplings in Koreatown by Caleb Bacon
All Hail "King Dumplings"

The Official Recession has enveloped us for seventeen official months. It’s still no reason we can’t enjoy life. This is LA — we have a ton of inexpensive options! A Recession Obsession is truly fantastic, whether you've recently been downsized or are about to cash a large commission check. We last obsessed via a Taco Crawl in Highland Park, and Tacomiendo's meaty tacos in West LA. Today, we obsess...

Tucked just away from the almost big-city feel of Wilshire Boulevard, rests a typical strip mall at 7th & Irolo. The parking lot's dark pavement separates one of LA’s most common commercial settings from a greenish shack standing alone on the corner. Korean letters spell out the restaurant's name, Yu Ga Ne, for the neighborhood's many Korean literates. Thankfully, for us gringos, the facade also reads “Authentic Korean Dumplings.”

Of the few dumplings served here, King Dumplings are the regal favorite. A plate of six fatter-than-you're-used-to dumplings cost a mere $4.99. Good news. They’re really good. That's why Yu Ga Ne is LAist’s latest Recession Obsession.

Someone Hail The King

I order the pork King Dumplings, also offered with beef. Featuring chopped leek, these dumplings are as juicy as they are savory. These grenade-like pork bombs are not only admirable for their stature, but their juicy, zesty flavor, which makes a return trip seem wise.

When one’s order is relayed to the waiter, an instant crackle and sizzle sounds from the open kitchen. It’s then I find myself gazing at the menus items pictured on the wall. “Should I have tried something different this time?” That’s when my eye will catch a foot-tall red “C” near the establishment's metal door.

"C" is for...

While I’m no stranger to rumors that the Health Department’s C-grade stands for “Chinese,” I know Korean starts with a K. (If your restaurant earns a "K" it would need to serve a mix of swine flu and bubonic plague with a side of kim chi.) Then they arrive.

A dish of soy sauce accompanies these chopstick-chores. The dumplings make it their wont to wiggle from my chop sticks, and swiftly plopp into this dark lubricant of mastication, Jackson Pollacking my shirt. Be warned. Of course, a side of complimentary kim chi is served. While not mandatory, the absence of kim chi is considered a surprise in this neighborhood. (I feel like the K*Town Denny’s at Vermont and Sixth owes me some from the one time I tricked myself into dining there.)

As The Official Recession continues to remove the "recession proof" from the vocabulary of the now humbled, we musn’t lower our standards. Good thing there's no need to be picky when one can medicate hard times with steroidal dumplings.

  • Yu Ga Ne ("Authentic Korean Dumplings") Koreatown | 698 Irolo Street | Los Angeles 90005 | (213) 480-1289

Links: Recession Obsessions in Koreatown: here, here and here.

Photos by Caleb Bacon for LAist

Do you like Korean dumplings? Where do you find them? Comment Below!