i know both neighborhoods well, and for me, LA koreatown wins easily. my opinions on this matter are based on extensive firsthand experience in both areas, as opposed to the blind city homerism that is all too common on these boards
i lived in flushing
as a kid and continued to hang out there all the time even after my family moved to the suburbs, as our family had many reasons to frequent that neighborhood - to meet up with friends, enjoy the ethnic restaurants, shop at the ethnic supermarkets, catch baseball games at shea stadium, etc.
by the 1990s, my parents stopped going to flushing
as often due to the fact that our neck of the woods had developed a pretty sizable korean supermarket and restaurant presence of its own, meaning that weekend family trips to queens were no longer necessary. but by that time, i was a teenager and eager to explore the city without my parents, so i continued to take the train out to flushing
whenever possible to meet up with friends and/or to catch a mets game.
once i graduated from college and was back in nyc, i resumed hanging out in the neighborhood on a frequent basis - only now, my focus was to try as many of its chinese and korean restaurants as possible. flushing
is unquestionably the epicenter of the chinese and korean restaurant scene in nyc.
so when i first visited LA in the late '90s, i thought koreatown was going to be more or less the same as flushing
, perhaps slightly bigger. to my surprise, ktown was massive
and had a much greater selection, variety, quality, and scope of korean businesses, including korean restaurants and nightlife. so in that regard, flushing
cannot compare, particularly with regard to "specialty" restaurants that focus on preparing a single dish really well - something that's extremely common in korea - as opposed to a large, diverse menu of so-so eats, which is the norm at most korean restaurants in the rest of the country.
LA ktown, along with the other major korean ethnic enclaves in LA and orange counties, is really on the cutting edge of the country's korean food scene. if there's any trend that has sprouted up in seoul, the first place it'll show up in the states is LA. the second place will be flushing/northern nj (usually after a considerable amount of time), then northern virginia, then the rest of the country's korean enclaves.
is a big deal in nyc's asian community, it almost feels minor league compared with LA ktown. don't get me wrong, i'm not trying to snub the neighborhood. it's just that LA ktown offers so much more for those who are interested in the korean restaurant/shopping/social scene (like me).
i still love flushing
, though. and for what it's worth, its population is much
more heavily korean/asian than LA ktown, which by comparison is only around 20-25% korean (latinos represent the majority of the neighborhood's residents). while korean owned and operated businesses constitute the bulk of LA ktown's commercial presence, its residential population is far more diverse.