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About the Business

Stuffed between a video store and a salon, the original Sura Long Beach restaurant space opened in 2008 on Atlantic Avenue just south of 7th Street. And it was opened by a family hesitant to own its Korean identity—and not necessarily for no reason: Outside of L.A.’s bustling Koreatown, traditional Korean flavors were not just rare but nearly non-existent in Long Beach before Sura. More people identified with the city’s ubiquitous Cambodian, Thai, and Vietnamese flavors.

When mother-and-daughter team Eunice and Claire Kim opted to take it over come 2014, at a time it was nearly a third of the size it is now, that very mingling of cultures on the menu downsized the space’s Korean traditions—and it was that particular focus they wanted to shift.

Gone were the pho imitators and in were the bowls of stellar yukgaejang—unquestionably the city’s best version, where shreds of brisket, scallions, and bracken fern sit in a fiery, beautifully bright red broth—and extra-fermented chunks of kimchi, made in house, is turned into kimchi jjigae, a kimchi stew layered with bits of firm tofu and fatty, salty pork belly.

Photos and written by Brian Addison.

For Brian Addison's latest profile on Sura Korean BBQ & Tofu House, click here.