Ma Dang Gook Su sits in a ubiquitous strip mall in K-town. If it didn’t have an unintentionally funny name, I wouldn’t have noticed it the couple times I drove by on Western. But because of that, it stuck in my head for a few months until I finally went to try it last night.
Like any decent Korean restaurant, we were presented with a couple plates of panchan as soon as we ordered. The kimchi was good and fermented, but not overly spicy or sour. There were also two shallow bowls of dongchimi: one with cabbage and carrots, the other with thin slices of radish and ice. The cabbage and carrots dongchimi was refreshing with that slightly carbonated taste that comes from fermentation.
For the vegan, we ordered thin noodles in a soy-bean broth. Originally, we wanted the handmade noodles, but it turned out those noodles had egg in them so they offered to make it with thin noodles. These were the chewy yam-flour noodles, I believe.
The soy-bean broth was incredibly creamy and had a strong nutty flavor, probably from sesame seeds. The broth was so creamy that we both thought there was milk in it, but since neither the vegan nor I had any ill side-effects after dinner, it’s possible that it’s dairy-free. I liked the creamy broth and chewy noodles, but the vegan thought the whole bowl was too bland.
I ordered a bowl of their house-made noodles with broth and clams. The noodles were chewy, but the outside was slightly soggy, as if they cooked their noodles at too high of a temperature. The broth was rich and thick, probably from the starch of the noodles. The clams weren’t anything special. As a whole, the bowl of noodles were simple and comforting.
After I started digging into my bowl of noodles, the vegan noticed that some tables had a little jar of sauce that we didn’t have. I asked the waitress for some and she plopped down this jar of chili sauce. I put a couple healthy spoonfuls into my bowl and the soup instantly transformed into something ten times better. The sauce was salty, savory, spicy, and oniony all at the same time. I’m going to make sure to ask for this first thing the next time I come here.
Ma Dang Gook Su isn’t somewhere I’d go out of the way to eat at, but it was a good option that night because we were in the neighborhood. The hand-made noodles taste better than store-bought noodles, but I’ve had better. The waitresses speak very little English, which might be a hindrance to some, but they were nice and tried to answer our questions about the menu (which does come in English). The place seemed to have strictly a Korean clientele while I was there, which I guess means it has some authenticity. They’re cash only and our meal turned out to be $16 and some change sans tip.
Ma Dang Gook Su
869 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005