This Orange County outpost of an Artesia restaurant famed for its mandoo-delicate dumplings native to North Korea that are a bit bigger than the five knuckles of your hand bunched together and bloated with herbed ground beef and snappy zucchini bits. But Hwang Hae Do also prepares other Korean favorites: chicken, pork or beef shavings (bulgogi) doused in soy sauce and brought out on a skillet with almost-caramelized onions; eggy seafood pancakes engorged with grilled octopus, buttery clams and some viciously pickled house kim chi; and noodles of various temperatures, consistencies and strewn vegetables.
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Photo by Matt OttoThe pupils of the waitress expanded even as her eyebrows furrowed. Her neck cocked at a 45-degree angle. Her lips pursed. She didn't have to say anything—we got that she was shocked at our lunch choice—...