Tuesday, July 31, 2012


My trip to LA was a wonderful, fantastic blur of food, cocktails, friends, more cocktails, and more food. I have a ton to share about the places I ate and experiences I had and I will be sharing parts here as well as on the website The Daily Meal. It was fun being a tourist in a city I lived in for so long and I certainly discovered some new places during my time there. One of the most...interesting dinners I have ever had was our last hosted dinner at Wassada in Koreatown on Sunday night. By this point in the weekend, I was very tired and full from two full days of stuffing our faces. I knew what we were in for at Wassada, but I was still greeted with a bit of sensory overload. Perhaps you can see why in this video I was able to capture:

Wassada is known for serving live seafood. As far as I know, there is no menu. You choose what kind of seafood you want and for how many people and then they bring you out whatever they have made for the day. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy...well, as much as you can enjoy squirming seafood on your plate. This isn't everything that we had, but hopefully you can get a good idea of the experience from this post.

When you first sit, they bring you a spicy salad and a series of mostly forgettable banchan.

Spicy Salad

Boiled Peanuts

Then the seafood starts. They brought us two plates of octopus. One plate was quite calm, but the other plate was not so much. I was actually set to try a piece from the calm plate, but then the squirmy plate was put in front of me and I just couldn't do it. I'm not the best at chewing my food properly and knowing I would have to thoroughly chew the little buggers combined with the fact that they were practically climbing off the plate was just too much for me and I wimped out.

Live Octopus

I also opted out of the live shrimp.

Live Shrimp

But once they took the shrimp heads to the back and fried them, I was all about that seafood goodness.

Fried Shrimp Heads

They also brought out live lobster. I honestly didn't even realize this was on the table until they were taking it away to be steamed.

Live Lobster

I treated myself to a steamed lobster claw.

Steamed Lobster

We were served some of the biggest oysters I have ever seen.


As well as presented with the biggest sashimi platter I have ever seen.

Sashimi Platter

The monkfish liver was thick and smooth and went down easily (unlike the octopus in some people's case)

Monkfish Liver

I think everyone's favorite dish of the evening was the rice bowl with different types of roe, bonito flakes, and a sweet and slightly spicy sauce.

Rice Bowl with Fish Eggs

There are some other accompaniments to the meal like a platter of garlic and onions, potato and onion fritters and kimchi handrolls. I wasn't quite sure what to eat the garlic and onions with so I didn't. The potato and onion patties were nice and crisp, but lacked seasoning. The kimchi handrolls were nice and spicy and a welcome change from all of the fish.

Garlic and Onions

Onion and Potato Patties

Kimchi Handrolls

Just went I thought dinner was about to wrap up, the fried mackrel was brought to the table. I tried just a bite of the crispy fried fish and the accompanying baked clam casserole.

Fried Mackerel

I had a few spoonfuls of the spicy fish soup. It was quite comforting and reminded me of something my mom used to make whenever I got sick as a kid.

Spicy Fish Stew

There was also a burnt rice soup which I think was meant as a palate cleanser, but was just unpleasant. Again this dinner was overwhelming mostly because of all of the food I had consumed prior, but also because everything comes out really, really fast and it is hard to keep track of what is what. Wassada is a fun experience that everyone should try at least once. There are many braver souls than me that have tried the live seafood and lived to tell the tale. Plus, who can beat those bragging rights?

377 N. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 464-3006

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marla said...

A fab culinary adventure!

susan said...

you lost me at "live seafood". regardless - so glad you were back and back with a vengeance!

Heather Christo said...

This looks like a meal to remember! Hope you had a great time Esi!

Gastronomer said...

God, I love K-Town!! I must try this spot. Looks up my alley.

vanillasugarblog said...

Totes! umm no.
and no way to live shrimp?
were they squirming too?