Koreatown: Spicy Crab Soup at Ondal




Over the holidays, I wanted something warming and suggested the spicy crab soup at Ondal to a friend. I’ve been to Ondal 2 but always wanted to check out the original location in Koreatown.

banchan spread


We started out with some basic Korean side dishes (banchan) and not so basic including fish.



spicy crab soup


But really, we were here for the spicy crab soup. Ondal does make a non-spicy version but trust me, you want the spicy. I don’t recall the version at Ondal 2 having so many bean sprouts. The soup at Ondal had so much, the even filled the crab shells for them. At Ondal 2, you get some rice in your shell. We had asked for medium spice but it wasn’t very spicy at all which is probably a good thing in hindsight. The spice level did gradually build up.

bean sprouts in crab shells


Once cleared of the sprouts, the real fun begins. I hunted for crab roe and some decently sized pieces of crab. The meat was tender and juicy. And also very hot. Take care and not eat the randoms seaweed pods. Those are incredibly not delicious. What you want is the soup and the succulent meat.

fried rice


Eventually, you get through your huge pot (we had opted for the medium sized pot which is good for 2 people). The server will then toss hand torn pieces of noodles into your soup. I didn’t care for it at Ondal 2 but I really liked it at Ondal. I wonder if the dough had been flavored more?

After you’re done with that, they scrape away all the excess and make you fried rice in the pot with seaweed. And Ondal 2, they use whatever banchan is still left on the table. At Ondal, we didn’t give them a chance and had eaten most of it. That’s okay, sometimes you just want sesame-oiled flavored carbs with seaweedy bits.

If I had to pick between the original location or Ondal 2, I’d go with the newer one. Although the people were very sweet here, there was a bit of a wait.



3160 W 8th St., Los Angeles, CA 90005 – (213) 382-8844
Ondal 2
4566 W Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016 – (323) 933-3228