Los Angeles

10 Delicious Dosiraks to Try in Los Angeles

Make this Korean lunch box your new go-to.

Photo courtesy of Bulgogi Hut
Photo courtesy of Bulgogi Hut
Photo courtesy of Bulgogi Hut

An awed hush falls over each table at Korean BBQ restaurant Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong when the dosirak is brought to the table. Enclosed in a silver metal box, the mixture of rice, fried egg, seaweed, anchovy, and kimchi is shaken like a martini until all the ingredients are evenly distributed, before serving.

In Korean, the word dosirak translates into lunch box. Dosiraks are a common meal that is packed at home or purchased on the go to be enjoyed at school or work. They are often served in a box with compartments, but can also be found in boxes without compartments that are usually shaken before eating.

The dosirak is similar to a Japanese bento box, and you’ll sometimes see them listed on menus as Korean bento boxes. The typical dosirak is meant to be a complete meal, including bap (rice), a main dish with fish or meat, a selection of banchan (Korean side dishes), and soup. The main difference between a dosirak and bento is in the ingredients-where a bento would feature chicken teriyaki as its main, a dosirak might include a Korean BBQ entree instead. Also missing from a Japanese bento would be kimchi and other traditional Korean banchan.

Many of the dosiraks on this list were born during the pandemic, as an easy vehicle to serve a Korean BBQ meal. Sadly, Spoon by H has shuttered, and their famously stunning 24-item dosirak is no longer available. Luckily, there are still plenty of places where you can get your fix, keep reading for ten of our favourite dosiraks in LA.

Photo courtesy of Hanchic
Photo courtesy of Hanchic
Photo courtesy of Hanchic

hanchic.

Westlake
Justin Min spent years cooking at DTLA’s Little Sister before opening hanchic in 2020. One of the newest items on their menu is their temple bibimbap. It’s a striking vegetarian dish served in a traditional dosirak tin, featuring soy-braised lotus root, rainbow-coloured cauliflower, bellflower root, seasonal namul, kimchi, and egg served on a bed of rice. hanchic.’s inventive menu is a fusion of French, Italian, and Korean cuisines. Another must-try menu item is their creamy bouillabbong stew-a play on a Korean spicy seafood noodle called jjamppong, and bouillabaisse.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for outdoor dining. Order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery is also available via DoorDash.

Photo by Kaila Yu, courtesy of Jook Hyang
Photo by Kaila Yu, courtesy of Jook Hyang
Photo by Kaila Yu, courtesy of Jook Hyang

Jook Hyang

Koreatown
This family-owned restaurant serves healthy and nutritious Korean food, minus the MSG. They offer a large selection of dosirak mains, including bulgogi, kalbi, grilled pork patty, short rib, spicy pork, braised abalone, or fried fish. Their generous dosirak includes 11 total items, including japchae or salad, kimchi, a Korean omelet, a daily cold soup such as dongchimi, and a choice of white or Korean purple rice. Some of the daily sides may include kongjang (soy-braised soybeans), extremely tender and flavorful gamja jorim (braised potatoes), eomuk bokkeum (Korean fish cakes), kkwarigochu-jjim (steamed shishito pepper), seasoned mung bean sprouts, pickled green chilli pepper Korean pickled radish, and more. Jook Hyang is also known for its healing ginseng chicken soup and porridges. We recommend also trying out their pumpkin and abalone porridge.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome. Order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery is also available on GrubHub.

Photo by Kiki Wongo, courtesy of Soowon Galbi
Photo by Kiki Wongo, courtesy of Soowon Galbi
Photo by Kiki Wongo, courtesy of Soowon Galbi

Soowon Galbi

Koreatown
Soowon Galbi is one of the top Korean BBQ spots in town, a neighbourhood institution for over 20 years, they added dosiraks to their menu as a quick and convenient way to enjoy their Korean BBQ when indoor and outdoor dining closed last year. Their dosirak impresses with one of the most elegant presentations on this list. There are five savoury choices for the main, including their signature garlic-soy marinated galbi, chicken, spicy pork, or bulgogi. Also included are generous portions of rice and japchae noodles and three daily rotating banchan. Lastly, it comes with a cup of daily soup, with its own designated spot in the dosirak designed right into the box.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome. Order pickup and delivery via Postmates, the dosirak is available only after 5 PM. Delivery also available via UberEats.

Road to Seoul

Harvard Heights
All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ is the specialty at Road to Seoul. They are known for their prime-choice meats, several of which you can sample in their dosirak, which comes with a choice of seven mains, including beef brisket, bulgogi, spicy bulgogi, LA galbi, spicy pork bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, and spicy chicken bulgogi. Also included is rice, salad, japchae, two thick slices of their popular steamed egg, and three banchan: potato salad, fishcakes, and a daily vegetable.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome. Order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery also available via GrubHub.

Photo courtesy of Bulgogi Hut
Photo courtesy of Bulgogi Hut
Photo courtesy of Bulgogi Hut

Bulgogi Hut

Koreatown
There’s usually a wait at this busy AYCE Korean BBQ spot, but you can beat the crowds by ordering their dosirak to-go. There are two kinds of dosirak to choose from, the more traditional lunch box style and their SSamBap version. The traditional dosirak has a choice of eight mains, including charred and garlicky pork belly, bulgogi, marinated chicken, hot and spicy pork, thin-sliced brisket, hot and spicy squid, pork belly, and LA galbi; and also comes with a fresh salad, japchae, fishcakes, kimchi, macaroni salad, and spicy marinated tofu. It’s finished off with rice topped with a sunny side up egg and comes with a miso soup. Ssambap is a Korean lettuce wrap and the ssambap dosirak comes with the same selection of mains and a fresh salad, while some of the sides are replaced with large leaves of romaine lettuce for wrapping and tangy Ssamjang sauce. If you’re still hungry, make sure to pick up some of their addictive Korean fried chicken, which has been especially popular this past year.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for outdoor dining. Order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery is also available via Caviar.

Hansoldoshirak

Westlake
Different menu items and banchan are available every day at Hansoldoshirak, a mom-and-pop shop that specializes in doshiraks. Their focus is on catering and group orders and they require a minimum order of ten doshiraks-perfect for office lunches or family gatherings. The basic dosirak includes rice, steamed egg, and a selection of seven rotating banchans. They also have a VIP dosirak which includes a main dish selection of grilled fish, beef bulgogi or galbi, tempura, kimbap, five banchan, and soup. If you’re looking for a dosirak that tastes just like grandma’s cooking, this is the place.
How to order: If you speak Korean, you can call to order for pick up at 213-487-3550. For English speakers, send an order via text message to the same number.

Photo courtesy of Kobawoo House
Photo courtesy of Kobawoo House
Photo courtesy of Kobawoo House

Kobawoo House

Koreatown
The specialty at Kobawoo House is bossam, a traditional Korean dish that features sliced succulent pork with a selection of different wrappings. Served in a lunchbox, their dosirak is an affordable way to sample their bossam and comes with a generous portion of tender pork, thinly sliced pink radish, the delicate inner leaves of a napa cabbage, musaengchae (spicy radish salad), and saeujeot (salted shrimp). Top it all off with a side of rice or forbidden rice and doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew).
How to order: Order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery is also available via GrubHub.

Photo courtesy of Yellow Cow BBQ
Photo courtesy of Yellow Cow BBQ
Photo courtesy of Yellow Cow BBQ

Yellow Cow Korean BBQ

Gardena
This woman-owned Korean BBQ restaurant is open 365 days a year and has not closed a single day during the pandemic. Their dosirak is the most popular takeout item on the menu, featuring only USDA Prime meat. There are six different options for the mains: rich and juicy bulgogi, spicy pork bulgogi, marinated pork ribs, chicken, pork katsu, and spicy stir-fried squid. Also included are a daily soup, salad, fresh fruit, rolled egg omelet, and five rotating banchan sides. Doshirak catering is also available for weddings and events.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome. Order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery is also available via UberEats.

Heartfulmade

Fullerton
Located in the OC suburb of Fullerton, this spot is well-worth the drive from LA. The homestyle restaurant specializes in dosirak and other takeout-only dishes such as kimbap and dumplings. It’s found in a nondescript strip mall and the dosirak lunch boxes are stacked on the counter, ready to go. Made fresh throughout the day, the dosiraks often sell out during lunch so make sure to phone in your order in advance. The selection for the mains includes luxurious beef bulgogi, pork bulgogi, pork cutlet, shrimp cutlet, grilled salmon, unagi, and spicy squid. This all comes with rice, three slices of rolled egg omelettes, and five rotating banchan. The dosirak also comes with a boba ice cream for dessert.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome. Takeout orders can be placed by calling 714-732-3084 or ordered via Postmates. Delivery available via Postmates and DoorDash.

Hae Jang Chon

Wilshire Center
At Hae Jang Chon, high-quality all-you-can-eat smoke-kissed Korean BBQ is the specialty of the house. Their meats are grilled on a two-inch-thick Korean stone grill that absorbs excess oil. Instead of one single lunch box tray, Hae Jang Chon’s dosirak switches it up with three separate trays. One tray includes a hefty portion of the main, another includes three of their most popular sides: fishcakes and green peppers, marinated spinach, and sliced daikon radish kimchi. The last tray is filled with rice and a selection of house-marinated pickles.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome, although there is often a wait. Order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery is also available via UberEats.

Magal Korean BBQ

Koreatown
Currently, Magal Korean BBQ is only open in the evening after 5 pm. Their dosirak comes with a side of cold Korean noodles and has a selection of four mains including mapo beef galbi, grilled spicy chicken, grilled spicy pork, and beef bulgogi. If you are extra hungry, make sure to order their gorae gamja tang, a Korean stew with falling-off-the-bone-tender pork with dried cabbage. Also unique to their restaurant is the cockle bibimbap.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome, order pickup and delivery via Postmates. Delivery-only available at GrubHub.

Kaila Yu is a journalist and on-camera correspondent based in Los Angeles. She is also the co-author of the 30-Day Travel Challenge. Follow her on Twitter.

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

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