A revered Seoul kalguksu (hand-cut noodle) specialist has opened its first location in the U.S.
Hyesung Noodle House occupies a location in the same mini-mall as Isaan Station, on Western Avenue in K-town. Only in its first week of operations, the place appears to be an absolute hit, as it was very busy, and stayed that way during my visit. Thanks to @euno for putting this place on my radar!
… and (for the time being), direct from Seoul, Sergia is in the house! Mrs. Kim, who started the chain in 1968 with a stewed-from-scratch anchovy, kelp and pepper broth, alongside hand-cut noodles, is now serving her uber-focused menu (only four items!) to a very happy crowd at this outpost.
Buchimgae (vegetable pancake), served with garlic soy: This was a great accompaniment to the noodles I ordered. My meal was paired with makgekolli (Koran rice liquor): Cool January weather and hot noodle soup calls for this stuff. Does not disappoint.
Original Kalguksu: Deep, soulful anchovy broth, simply topped with scallion and pepper. The garlic paste (on each table) adds multiple layers of flavor and enjoyment to this already great bowl. ‘Q’ enthusiasts beware: As the noodles are boiled with the soup to enhance the absorption of flavor, they are a bit less ‘al dente’ than what I was expecting. But without doubt, the broth and the delicious noodles, imbued with the umami of anchovy, is the star of the show - A grand bowl of noodle soup indeed!
Dak (chicken) Kalguksu: From what I was told, this item does not appear on the menu in the Seoul branch. This was made available for the L.A. opening. Unlike its brother, the original anchovy-based dalguksu, the poultry-based broth here tastes just a tad more muted. The dark chicken meat really adds nice texture to the bowl though, and the addition of that potent garlic paste rescues and even elevates the bowl to enjoyment.
I did not order the bossam this time, but will come back for it when the weather is warmer.
Hyesung Noodle House offers a super-tight menu, outstanding and warm service, and the chance to eat a legendary bowl from Asia, made by the master herself. Go before the throngs rush this small eatery even more!
Hyesung Noodle House
125 N. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Post-noodle bang: Rose petal milk tea and fresh hot taiyaki at SweeTea Bar, just up the street… There are four choices of filling. Do the red bean.