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L.A. Taco Guides

First Stop: Four Must-Try Destinations For Dessert In L.A.’s Koreatown

Koreatown's treasures for the sweet tooth include Kinder Bueno chocolate crepes, Oaxacan Dia De Los Muertos ice cream, strawberry mochi donuts, and coffee-flavor bingsoo.

1:33 PM PDT on May 17, 2023

photo: Sul and Beans

When people think of eating in and around L.A.'s Koreatown, the journey often begins by scouting for the best tabletop barbecue legend or Hite-fueled happy hour to sit down at, seldom thinking ahead to the important after-dinner dessert decisions they'll soon be forced to consider.

While more notorious for the level of grilled meats that draw K-pop celebs and reality show icons, Koreatown is blessed with a hidden handful of irresistible treasures that can satisfy the cravings of your sweet tooth and soften the reverberations of gochujang and charcoal on your post-dinner palate.

Here are four incredible places to visit when you are looking to add a little something sweet to your day in Koreatown.

Sul & Beans 

Sul & Beans is hidden on the second floor of the MaDang Courtyard Plaza right next door to SomiSomi, a locally hot soft-serve and taiyaki chain. Its unique flavors of bingsoo, the milk-based, shaved iced dessert from Korea, can be paired with various toppings including fruit, condensed milk, and red beans, allowing anyone to add their own unique design ideas. Sul & Beans offers customers fruity flavors to try, such as fresh mango bingsoo, strawberry cheese bingsoo, and watermelon bingsoo, and gets creative. There's also the more unusual coffee bingsoo, green tea bingsoo, and Earl Grey bingsoos, among other creative recipes. From your first bite, you will viscerally grasp the meaning behind the "Sul" in its name, standing for “snow” in Korean, feeling like you've just slipped into the softest, milkiest snow, with a kick of fresh fruit and sweet condensed milk in every bite. You'll even be given a side of condensed milk sauce, should you like to add more to your bowl of bingsoo. A perfect summer stop for a shareable dessert spot on a hot summer day, each serving size ideal for two. 

621 S. Western Ave. #208-A, Los Angeles, CA 90005. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro D Line or Bus Lines 18, 20, 66, 207, 210 or 720 - “Wilshire/Western Station.”

Paris Baguette

Paris Baguette is all but inescapable when visiting the neighborhood, pulling all in-the-know sweet teeth into the equivalent of Koreatown’s very own McDonald's of French pastry given its neighborhood ubiquity. Even if you're just coming in for look or a sniff, it's always worth stopping inside to check out their endless varieties of baked goods. It includes a little but of everything for certified panaderos who necessitate some form of daily bite of bread or pan dulce in the mornings. There are delectable strawberry tarts, bread stuffed with hash browns, coffee danishes, and strawberry mochi donuts, just to get started on a very long, very tempting list of creative offerings of both sweet and savory baked goods. 

621 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90005. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro D Line or Bus Lines 18, 20, 66, 207, 210 or 720 - “Wilshire/Western Station.”

Viva Cafe's helado de limon, photo: Guadalupe Perez

Viva Cafe

Viva Cafe is a small, Oaxacan-owned and operated ice cream shop newer to KTown, having opened in 2021 and now quickly growing in popularity amongst area locals. Walking in, you are hit with the colorful and traditional Oaxacan artisanía that decorates the shop, above an endless array of milk-and-water-based ice cream items to choose from. The small-yet-mighty shop has your customary vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, of course, but for those looking to try more unique flavors, they also intriguing choices like Fruity Pebbles and the Mexican chocolate, strawberry jelly, and cremé filled cake known as Gansito, garnished with small pieces of the eponymous snack. Viva Cafe also surprises its customers with exclusive, limited-time holiday flavors, like the cempasúchil-flavored ice cream it served during Día De Los Muertos. There are also snacktime staples including nachos, Hot Cheetos with cheese, and tapping into their roots, esquites Oaxaqueños topped with chapulines (grasshoppers) for crunch and flavor.

3259 W. 8th St, Los Angeles, California 90005. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 66 - “8th/Mariposa”, Bus Line 206 - "Irolo/8th" or Metro D Line - "Wilshire/Normandie Station."

Fererro chocolate crepe at Ricas Crepas, photo: Guadalupe Perez

Ricas Crepas 

Once the sun goes down, Ricas Crepas lights up the corner of South Vermont Avenue and West 3rd Street, presenting a delicious and wide menu of crepes, including classic fillings like strawberry, banana, and Nutella, typically topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, and thankfully, ever more banana and Nutella. The restaurant has built quite the reputation on Tik-Tok and Instagram, along the way, with more decadent creations like Ferrero chocolate crepes, Kinder Bueno chocolate crepes, and a super-meta, super-viral "Tik-Tok Platanos Fritos" crepe. That contained platanos fritos (fried sweet plantains),  queso crema (cream cheese), cajeta (caramel), and lechera (condensed milk). Along with that crazy stuff, there are also simpler smoothies and platanos fritos plates to order. The booming success that Ricas Crepas has had throughout social media is hard to question after a single experience with these Nutella and fruit-filled crepes. Their memory will make you want to come back for more.

301 S. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, California 90020. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 16, 204 or 754 - “Vermont/3rd.”

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