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Someone Compiled A list Of All The BBQ Spots in K-Town, From the Most Affordable to Least

2:17 PM PST on February 8, 2022

QUARTERS Korean BBQ, via Instagram

By day Rajesh Niti works as a biomedical engineer identifying new therapeutics for patients with aggressive forms of cancer. On his time off, he enjoys analyzing football and food data. Late last week, Rajesh dropped a gem for Angelenos who enjoy high quality meats seared over charcoal: a comparative analysis of Korean BBQ joints in LA County.

Rajesh compared two very important Korean barbecue metrics: cost versus popularity. The result is a chart that allows consumers to find the top rated Korean BBQ spots that also fit within their budget.

In the world of local Korean barbecue, restaurants fall into one of four categories:

    1. More expensive than average and not as tasty
    2. More expensive than average but tasty
    3. Cheaper than average but not as tasty
    4. Cheaper than average but tastier

All-you-can-eat (AYCE) spots are represented as circles while non-AYCE spots are triangles. The size of the data point reflects the restaurant's popularity; the larger the circle or triangle, the more reviews it’s received.

Rajesh tells L.A. TACO he compared AYCE spots to non-AYCE spots because he heard that non-AYCE spots have better food, even though they are generally more expensive. “The visualization really drove home that point with most of those places showing on the top right quadrant.” In the "more expensive than average but tasty" quadrant, you’ll find popular Korean BBQ spots like Quarters, Soowon Galbi and Chosun Galbee. 

Brother’s Korean BBQ falls in a league of its own as the most expensive spot on the chart.

“THIS IS INSANE,” the popular Instagram account @Koreatown wrote to their 129,000 followers on Monday.

“FRAME THIS AND HANG IT IN THE SMITHSONIAN NOW,” another Instagram user commented under the post.

Rajesh tells L.A. TACO that his love for Los Angeles and Korean BBQ inspired the analysis. “L.A. was the first city I lived in when I moved to the US,” Rajesh told us this morning. “I miss it and the [Korean BBQ].” In the past he’s analyzed Indian restaurants in the Bay Area and the best Porotta and Beef Roast in Kochi, a city in India.

To compile a list of Korean BBQ spots in Los Angeles, Rajesh used a computer program to “scrape” restaurant reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor. He also relied on his own experience eating his way through the Korean barbecue scene when he lived here. “I had a fair idea of [Korean BBQ] places from my previous experiences so I started off with them and then compiled more data on other restaurants based on google search and articles that I read.”

In total, Rajesh came up with more than 70 restaurants. He thinks that’s a fairly accurate representation of all the Korean barbecue restaurants in L.A. but admits he missed a few, like the iconic Soot Bull Jeep.

Rajesh cherishes memories of eating at Road to Seoul and Moodaepo II, his personal favorite Korean BBQ spots, when he lived in LA. He currently resides in Tempe, Arizona where he says the Korean barbecue scene is steadily expanding. “I definitely think Arizona has room to grow to reach the heights of L.A. Korean BBQ.” 

As for his next project, Rajesh tells L.A. TACO he is working on a chart for pizza in New York City that should be up soon as well as a comparative analysis of taco spots in various cities. “I want to do a comprehensive one for tacos. It's probably my favorite food.” He’s thinking of comparing 50 taco spots in cities like Los Angeles, Houston and Miami. When asked about the heated taco-rivalry between Texas and California, Rajesh confirms: “I stand by Cali!”

Check out Rajesh Niti’s comparative analysis of Korean BBQ restaurants in Los Angeles, here. And follow him on Twitter to keep up with his work.

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