Celia Plender finds barbecued meats, pungent pickles and unusual desserts in this Korean part of town.
New Malden is no beauty, but nor is it your average south-west London suburb. It’s home to the largest Korean community in Europe, and boasts some of the best (and often cheapest) Korean eateries in the capital.
For barbecue, I head to Korea Garden  (73 Kingston Rd). It looks like a tatty takeaway from the outside, but the dishes will impress. Cooked over glowing charcoal, slices of succulent belly pork and beef rib are infused with a satisfyingly smoky flavour. Their free side dishes, including kimchi pickles, are almost as memorable as the main meal.
Burlington Road is my favourite spot for a Korean butcher, a baker and...no, not a candlestick maker, but a restaurant with plenty of classics. Jee Cee Neh  (74 Burlington Rd) serves spicy hotpots filled with braised meats or fish and chewy sweet potato noodles stir-fried in sesame oil with beef and vegetables (japchae).
For the full Asian supermarket experience, get the rest of your ingredients at Korea Foods  (Unit 4-6, Wyvern Industrial Estate), which stocks anything from pickles to cooking pots and takeaway kimbap sushi rolls.
The place I dream about when I’m in the mood for Korean food is one train stop away in Raynes Park. Cosy Cah Chi  (34 Durham Rd) is famous for its excellent homemade blood pudding stuffed with cellophane noodles - served spiced and sautéed, in slices with salt, or in a hotpot. If that sounds too much, there’s plenty else to try. Staff are happy to talk you through the menu and they’re yet to recommend me a duff dish.
Top tip: Sink your teeth into irresistible sticky rice doughnuts at Hyun’s Bakery  (94 Burlington Rd).
Get the train to New Malden from Waterloo: it takes about 20 minutes.
Take a look at London's best Korean restaurants.
Illustration: Matthew Hams