Ham Ji Park (함지박) - Restaurant Review

Ham Ji Park

Taking my Dad out for a meal is no easy task.  First of all, he only likes Korean and Japanese food, and he is the most critical Korean food connoisseur I know.  He is notoriously hard to please unless my mom is cooking, but my mom needs a break sometimes too!

It was his birthday this past week, so we were looking for a restaurant to go to.  Ham Ji Park wasn't his first choice, but given that it's my husband's favorite restaurant, he suggested we go there for lunch.

There are two Ham Ji Park restaurants in LA.  The original one is on Pico, and the newer one is on 6th Street. Ham Ji Park has been around for a long time, and the owner was an older lady that marinated all the meat herself for both locations.  She used to work at the Pico location everyday and the last time we were at the Pico location a few years back, she was there as always.  We usually end up at the 6th Street location, since it's a little nicer and cleaner.

Ham Ji Park is known for their pork ribs and pork neck soup, also known as gamjatang.  Anthony Bourdain made it famous on his Layover show, and I honestly don't know if it's a blessing or a curse that Korean food has been featured so much on his shows, but that is another story.

I have been to Ham Ji Park many, many times, but I rarely have anything other than those two items.  They don't have the greatest banchan, they don't even make rice very well, but their pork ribs and gamjatang are consistently delicous and the best in Ktown.

We ordered the pork ribs, gamjatang, and for my dad, roe soup.

Pork ribs are cooked in the back and brought to your table.  It is so delicious, just the right amount of sweet, savory, and tang.

Gamjatang is a hearty soup filled with pork neck meat.  The meat just falls off the bones, the way it should be after cooking it for hours.

The roe soup was my dad's choice, and the soup had a generous amount of roe.  I never liked this growing up, but now that I'm older, I appreciate the taste of roe in the spicy soup.

Ham Ji Park literally means a bowl cut out from a piece of wood.  There is an expression in Korean, "ham ji park-like smile" and it refers to a round, big smile.  I'm sure many people leave here with those big smiles, full and happy... especially my husband, who is always happy after his fill of pork ribs and pork neck soup.  He didn't get his fill of soju this time, but we will be back again soon, I'm sure!

 Click here to go to this restaurant's Yelp page for more info.