And I thought I was the only one that had fond childhood memories of Sizzler. That is so funny how Sizzler has become a part of memorable dining out experiences for many Korean Americans. The Sizzler on Western still remains. It’s been around since I can remember. Across the street from it is Le Cercle, a Korean night club. Back in the 80’s, it was a restaurant with banquet halls. I remember going there regularly with my parents, who used to have their “geh (givingcircles)” and parties there. But as a kid, the Sizzler across the street was more appealing. And each time, I’d ask my parents to take me to Sizzler next time. We didn’t go to this particular Sizzler often, but frequented the ones closer to our home (in the 562~).
My family and I immigrated to the states and settled in Ktown LA in 1979 (when I was less than a year old). And I have seen the town evolve into what it is today. We lived in a one bedroom apartment (somewhere on Western near the Ktown Plaza, which wasn’t built back then), and rent was $100 something. Today you’d be lucky if you found a one bedroom in that area for $1000.
The good old days of walking down the street to Boy’s Market (which is now the New Rodeo Gallery) still hold fresh in my memory. After grocery shopping at the Boy’s Market, my mom used to take me to Auntie’s House where they sold various toys and Hello Kitty items. So when my mom took me along to do grocery shopping, I knew it meant new toys for me that day. The lesser fond memories of the early Ktown days are of the pediatrician visits that I dreaded so much (in some big white building down the street from where I lived). I lived in Ktown until I was three when my family left to move to the burbs.
I have seen many businesses in Ktown come and go throughout the years. But very few have withstood the test of time. In a recent CNN taping, Anthony Bourdain took a tour of Ktown, guided by Chef Roy Choi. Couple of the places featured, Dong Il Jang and Beverly Tofu, have been around forever and ever. These places are so hardcore OG! Nothing much has changed with these restaurants since they’ve opened, whereas many places had no choice but to change, to adjust to business demands.