At only three square miles, Koreatown has more large malls than any similar sized area in America with an emphasis on markets, skin care, and home goods. Peppered among the shops, whether in a mall or side street, are entertainment venues, trendy dessert shops, coffeehouses, and restaurants. Read on for the best shopping destinations in Koreatown.
Located at Western and 9th Street, this three-story indoor shopping mall was the first to open in Koreatown. Occupied by 70 shops (with many carrying European designer brands), the mall features The Plaza grocery store, a multitude of skincare shops, home goods, jewelry, and an array of food options, including the International Food Court —one of the best food courts in the area with 12 stalls serving up street food.
Music Plaza fills every need for K-pop fans. Fancy House carries knick-knacks, stationery, Hello Kitty, K-pop paraphernalia, and Korean plush toys. ABC Plaza home goods inventory ranges from Korean cookware to English dishware, as well as home appliances, lunchboxes, and personal goods. Parashu, Rodeo Handbag and Milano all carry high end designer handbags and shoes from such designers as Celine, Lanvin, Chloe, Balenciaga, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Alexander McQueen. Check out Aritaum/Amore and Cosmetics Plaza for skin care needs.
Cheesetella is the most modern and newest stall to the International Food Court with “castella”—an original Taiwanese recipe for a very light sponge cake that is only slightly sweet with choices of cheese, cream, or chocolate filling. Large, rectangular pieces are cut and packed in takeaway boxes. Get it with a sweet, iced Da Bang coffee. Next door is Awoolim , serving up kimbap (sushi rolls without the raw fish), tteokbokki (rice cylinders in sauce) and Korean tacos. But the big star here is the Sikhye Slushie—sweetened cooked rice and barley powder blended with ice. Seoul Soondae House Two is popular for Korean sausages. Other good bets include Hot Tofu, Tonkatsu House and Pa Jao Dumpling House .
This modern three-level outdoor shopping and entertainment center is located on a very busy corner of Western and Wilshire (across the street from Mama Lion on one corner and The Wiltern on the other). It is known as one of the more demographically mixed centers due to trendy dessert shops, H Mart, and CGV Cinemas, which features Korean films with English subtitles and vice versa.
Located beneath Madang Plaza, H Mart Koreatown is very clean and modern and carries an essential inventory of Korean and Asian goods, including ready made food, marinated and pre-sliced meats, live and fresh seafood, sushi, and produce as well as more upscale American products such as McConnell's ice cream. Ktown , a Korean food stall, is inside the market with an array of traditional dishes. Daiso is a Japanese chain store with a little bit of everything for $1.50, including bento boxes and all kinds of utensil paraphernalia, stationery, home goods, origami tools and cosmetics. Inventory at Cosmetic World includes a wide selection of American and Japanese brands such as Clinique, Estee Lauder, SK-II, Fresh, Shiseido, and Clarins. The Face Shop is a Korean franchise that carries lines of natural cosmetics. This particular shop is among the smallest, yet carries the absolute essentials. It's located street side on Western and shares space with Chocolate Chair. Aladdin Books is the first L.A. branch of a Korean chain known for buying and selling old Korean books, English books, CDs, and DVDs. Open by appointment only, Bobo's sells upscale (think Chanel) gently used handbags and accessories. Across the way is a custom shop selling beautiful, authentic Korean celebration wears with signage that is only written in Korean.
There are numerous markets in Koreatown, but the Galleria Market in the Koreatown Galleria on Olympic and Western is the largest Korean market Los Angeles offers. There is also a newer and smaller location on Vermont, but the original is the place to visit first. It's located on the bottom floor of the mall, which features more than 70 stores and an Asian food court aka the "Food Gallery." The market itself carries mostly Korean products, as well as a good selection of Japanese and Chinese goods. In addition to produce, every grocery staple imaginable, and Korean imports, there's an elaborate seafood section with prepared sashimi, whole fish, and live fruits of the sea, including octopus, abalone, prawns, lobsters, and Dungeness crab. The prepared banchan bar is filled with impressive fresh side dish items, including clams, octopus, pickles, kimchi and lotus root. There's also a self-serve area with galbi and marinated meats for easy DIY barbecuing. The market also includes Cake House (the Korean bakery chain), Dong Bang Mi ln (a rice cake bakery), VNS Chicken , a pharmacy, vitamin kiosk, and an orchid shop.
Occupying a full city block, this eye-catching architectural building on 6th and Kenmore is hard to miss. The iron sign atop Chapman Plaza reads “Chapman Market,” which was the original name. Built in 1929, the design is Spanish Baroque revival style and was first built as a drive-through grocery store with a courtyard that served wealthy families from nearby Hancock Park, Windsor Square and Fremont Place, and those who visited the infamous Ambassador Hotel. Now it is a gathering place where eateries and shops face inward to the small parking lot.
The family-run Fashion Rialto boutique carries European and American brands for men and women. Styles are denim driven featuring such designers as Paige, AG, Zadig & Voltaire, Chan Luu, and Scotch & Soda. Part of a growing chain, Shibuyala is a "super kawaii" Japanese cosmetics and beauty supply store that carries everything from Sanrio products to high-end imports
The draws at this three-story retail center on 6th Street and Alexandria are Zion SuperMarket, Cake House, EMC Seafood, Crystal Spa and a few select stores.