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Han Gang, Korean at Little River Turnpike and Ravensworth Road in Annandale


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DonRocks said:
Han Gang is having its Grand Opening - there are a ton of flowers out in front of the (heavily reworked) restaurant.

Tom Sietsema did a quick write-up on Han Gang last week. Coincidentally, my friends and I (without knowing that the article had been written) had a late dinner there after the D.C. United game on Saturday. We arrived at 11:00 pm and were the only ones in the place. Which is a shame, because the kalbi wrapped in radish slices >>> kalbi wrapped in lettuce anywhere else. For me, the sweetness of the radish greatly enhances the flavor of the meat, whereas lettuce is useful only for its wrapping function. We were also given a very generous selection of panchan. My favorite was the dried anchovies. I ordered the cod stew, which was fine -- next time I'll get the short rib stew, in which the broth is a zillion times richer in flavor.

Only downside of the place was an endless loop from Kenny G's soundtrack. It's like the Beatles at Kotobuki, except that I wanted to poke my eardrum out with chopsticks.

Prices of menu items are a few dollars higher than at other places nearby, but the quality of ingredients (especially the short ribs) seems better here.

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I have been passing by the area many times since I saw its sign board. It was easy for me to guess the owner is trying to have a bit more expensive and classic style restaurant. After I read Tom's review and heard from my Korean friends who have been there, I really want to go. The menu looks pretty much same as Woo Lae Oak's.

Speaking of radish slices, it is a very new trend (less than 10 year old) whereas lettuce wrap is more than 1000 year old tradition. Koreans got the lettuce seeds from China and have used the leaves for wrapping steamed rice.

I saw the radish slices at Annangol first time. You can get the ready-made radish slices at Korean grocery stores.

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I too am interested in Han Gang. The main reason is that it might finally be a rare Korean place in Annandale to which I can take my vegetarian sister and father! Their menus seem to have a few dishes that look vegetarian, at least, although I don't know if they use meat stock in them.

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Matt, either fried veggies or grilled veggies, edamame, and maybe mungbean pancakes (ask if pork is in) could be for your sister. I just found some blowfish menu and it is very tempting.
And, I suppose, make sure the kimchi doesn't have fish or shellfish in it as some I've seen do.

And I saw that blowfish part of the menu and was thankful they didn't list prices. Eek! I really want to try their monkfish or codfish dishes as well.

Any idea what market price for blowfish might be in the U.S.? Fried or sauteed both sounds good to me.
Atlantic Northern Puffer is usually, what, $20-25 a pound? Or it was the last time I saw one (which was a while ago...).
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Love, love, love the food at Han Gang. Their Al Bap is a steal (under $15), such a generous portion of roe over all those crackling, hot pot vegetables. The Yook Hwe (raw beef with quail egg) would cause a collective faint at the FDA, but the freshness of the meat and accompanying sliced pear with green pepper offer an epiphany of flavor at a perfectly chilled temperature.

One other tip: They may not come with the regular panch'an (side dishes), so ask for the Ggakdugi ("gok-too-gi"; addictive, crunchy daikon radish kimchi) and milchi (tiny dried fish).

On my many visits, and as Tom noted, the sound track has been mind-numbingly insipid. However, the comfortable booths and sharp decor counteract the banality. My only other grief has been that if only one person orders barbeque, the staff have been pretty insistent that it get cooked in kitchen rather than at the table. I have been able to talk them out of that once, but not successful two other times. From Tom's review, it sounds like he did not encounter such practices, so maybe I am just hitting them at weird times.

Han Gang provides more upscale digs, approaching comparability to Woo Lae Oak in the Tyson's area, without the hefty price tag. Parking is painless, the food a bargain.

Why am I telling even more people about this? :D

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$20 tuesday?

FYI, this place will be more than $20/person if you order bbq (and note, Tom's review says entrees are $13-$35). I've been there twice, and I agree with the comparison to Woo Lae Oak. The first visit I had the galbi (short rib) stew (flavorful as mentioned above) and my vegetarian husband had the mung bean pancakes (which had a cornmeal like texture) and the vegetarian chap chae (noodles, comes with strips of egg on top. Ok but I would prefer a vegetarian bi bim bap if it were me. Maybe you could ask for a vegetarian version). There were various side dishes, and they also brought each of us a free small cup of a viscous squash soup to start and a sweet drink afterwards.

Our second visit was with another couple, and they brought us each a free small cup of bean soup to start. We had two orders of galbi bbq, an order of pork bbq, fried dumplings, and my husband had the same thing as our previous visit. My recollection is that the galbi bbq cost between $20-$30, and I agree that the quality of the beef was good. We actually weren't fans of the radish for the galbi. The pork bbq was strips of pork with a softer texture but I liked the flavor. It wasn't that spicy though. The fried dumplings were somewhat greasy. The service was friendly, and we were able to communicate with the servers in English.

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FYI, this place will be more than $20/person if you order bbq (and note, Tom's review says entrees are $13-$35). I've been there twice, and I agree with the comparison to Woo Lae Oak. The first visit I had the galbi (short rib) stew (flavorful as mentioned above) and my vegetarian husband had the mung bean pancakes (which had a cornmeal like texture) and the vegetarian chap chae (noodles, comes with strips of egg on top. Ok but I would prefer a vegetarian bi bim bap if it were me. Maybe you could ask for a vegetarian version). There were various side dishes, and they also brought each of us a free small cup of a viscous squash soup to start and a sweet drink afterwards.

Our second visit was with another couple, and they brought us each a free small cup of bean soup to start. We had two orders of galbi bbq, an order of pork bbq, fried dumplings, and my husband had the same thing as our previous visit. My recollection is that the galbi bbq cost between $20-$30, and I agree that the quality of the beef was good. We actually weren't fans of the radish for the galbi. The pork bbq was strips of pork with a softer texture but I liked the flavor. It wasn't that spicy though. The fried dumplings were somewhat greasy. The service was friendly, and we were able to communicate with the servers in English.

Three bbq dishes included for lunch today with #1 considered by most to be the best (along with #2 and pork)-all were $27 off of the dinner menu. Outstanding experience-we worked our way through, I think, eight main courses (including the three BBQ) and literally 15 or more sides. Thanks to Steve Siegel for organizing.

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Three bbq dishes included for lunch today with #1 considered by most to be the best (along with #2 and pork)-all were $27 off of the dinner menu. Outstanding experience-we worked our way through, I think, eight main courses (including the three BBQ) and literally 15 or more sides. Thanks to Steve Siegel for organizing.

Ditto! Only my 3rd foray into Korean food and I loved it. The beef and pork (#1 & #2) were so good . . . and Joe and I loved those mushrooms too. I will defnitely be back (with a cheat sheet - if I hadn't had my lunch partners there with me, I would have had NO IDEA what to order).

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Ditto! Only my 3rd foray into Korean food and I loved it. The beef and pork (#1 & #2) were so good . . . and Joe and I loved those mushrooms too. I will defnitely be back (with a cheat sheet - if I hadn't had my lunch partners there with me, I would have had NO IDEA what to order).

Ah, the mushrooms!!! The mushrooms!!! Sesame oil and some kind of seed? Really, really good, though!

Michael Landrum should taste these-I wonder what he could do to a steak at Ray's that these would compliment?

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So we go off to Han Gang on Mother's day, walk through the door and are immediately seated. Reasonably quick comes our server asking if we'd like bori-cha. Good start, unfortunately, that was the high spot of the whole dinner. We order haemul pajeon (our benchmark dish). Out come 9 pieces of pajeon arranged on a platter. From the appearance, it's not a complete pajeon but we'll eat it anyway. First impression, it's crunchy! What is with crunchy? Next impression, someone in the kitchen doesn't know what haemul means...(p.s.: it means seafood). Skimpy is being overly generous. A couple of pieces of octopus, (I had one, it was okay), no shrimp to speak of, a bit of squid. Conclusion: To Sok Jip wins this one, hands down. Next up, the panchan. Of the eight dishes of panchan, one was spicy, one was tasty, six were bland to blander to blanderest. The kimchi passed it's sell-by date by about ten days. Sour, sour, sour. Tasting more of vinegar then kimchi. The one panchan that was tasty was dried cod. Nicely done, flaky and tasty. Panchan? Kudos to Gamasot. Next up, a spicy seafood stew. Well it lived up to the spicy part and it did have some seafood. It had clams, it had sea squirts (extremely bitter and overly chewy), two lobster tail pieces, and for some reason bok-choy. Not Napa cabbage which is what you'd expect in a Korean dish but bok-choy. Oh, there were also two complete shrimp. I wonder if there would be three shrimp if there were three of us dining. Next the dish Tom S. raved about...the abalone. I have to admit the abalone was well prepared but again, bok-choy. I guess Super H was out of Napa cabbage. The abalone was extremely mild (almost to the point of not being there at all. Could it have been canned?) and a bit salty, but the mushrooms in the dish made up for it. I ended up eating about ten mushrooms to ever piece of abalone. The entire dinner excluding tip came to just over $75. For that price, we could have eaten at To Sok Jip three times and had money left over. All in all, not very exciting, not very enticing. If this restaurant is aiming for the Woo Lae Oak audience, they need to step up a lot. Personally, I feel they fall between Yaechon and To Sok Jip with Woo Lae Oak pricing. We're going to try this one more time and go for the simpler dishes on the menu. We'll do Galbi. That's a dish that's almost impossible to mess up. I'm hoping for better results.

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So we go off to Han Gang on Mother's day, walk through the door and are immediately seated. Reasonably quick comes our server asking if we'd like bori-cha. Good start, unfortunately, that was the high spot of the whole dinner. We order haemul pajeon (our benchmark dish). Out come 9 pieces of pajeon arranged on a platter. From the appearance, it's not a complete pajeon but we'll eat it anyway. First impression, it's crunchy! What is with crunchy? Next impression, someone in the kitchen doesn't know what haemul means...(p.s.: it means seafood). Skimpy is being overly generous. A couple of pieces of octopus, (I had one, it was okay), no shrimp to speak of, a bit of squid. Conclusion: To Sok Jip wins this one, hands down. Next up, the panchan. Of the eight dishes of panchan, one was spicy, one was tasty, six were bland to blander to blanderest. The kimchi passed it's sell-by date by about ten days. Sour, sour, sour. Tasting more of vinegar then kimchi. The one panchan that was tasty was dried cod. Nicely done, flaky and tasty. Panchan? Kudos to Gamasot. Next up, a spicy seafood stew. Well it lived up to the spicy part and it did have some seafood. It had clams, it had sea squirts (extremely bitter and overly chewy), two lobster tail pieces, and for some reason bok-choy. Not Napa cabbage which is what you'd expect in a Korean dish but bok-choy. Oh, there were also two complete shrimp. I wonder if there would be three shrimp if there were three of us dining. Next the dish Tom S. raved about...the abalone. I have to admit the abalone was well prepared but again, bok-choy. I guess Super H was out of Napa cabbage. The abalone was extremely mild (almost to the point of not being there at all. Could it have been canned?) and a bit salty, but the mushrooms in the dish made up for it. I ended up eating about ten mushrooms to ever piece of abalone. The entire dinner excluding tip came to just over $75. For that price, we could have eaten at To Sok Jip three times and had money left over. All in all, not very exciting, not very enticing. If this restaurant is aiming for the Woo Lae Oak audience, they need to step up a lot. Personally, I feel they fall between Yaechon and To Sok Jip with Woo Lae Oak pricing. We're going to try this one more time and go for the simpler dishes on the menu. We'll do Galbi. That's a dish that's almost impossible to mess up. I'm hoping for better results.

Our experience was entirely different: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/618279 The panchan ("pajeon?") was superb. A number of the dishes-and there were at least 13 or 14-were truly delicious. I have no idea what they served you but our table of eight was sincerely impressed with both the presentation and its flavor. Ours' was one of the finest lunches our group has done in almost eight years of meeting. I am sorry that you were not able to experience something similar.

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Our experience was entirely different: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/618279
I bow to your obviously superior knowledge of Korean cuisine. Obviously you had a different chef then we had. Onion and red peppers (not red pepper) in haemul pajeon (which means SEAFOOD with scallion pancake) is wrong, wrong, wrong. Scallion fills the bill quite nicely (and doesn't make the pajeon soggy. Incidentally, pa means scallion). Haemul means seafood; an ingredient that was woefully lacking in what we ate (and incidentally, I am married to a Korean, I have spent a fair amount of time in Korea, I woefully mispronounce a number of Korean words and I eat Korean food about 3 days out of the week).
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I am not claiming "superior knowledge of Korean cuisine." Several at our table have a great deal of experience with Korean cuisine including numerous dinners in Seoul along with extensive business experience there. Honestly, I lack this experience. Please forgive me but I will defer to them for the specifics. I can only go with my reaction to what I was served and what it tasted like. As for that, again, this was an extraordinary meal that all of us were sincerely impressed with. I am sorry for your experience today but for ourselves we were indeed fortunate to have an entirely different experience.

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I am sorry for your experience today but for ourselves we were indeed fortunate to have an entirely different experience.
I would suggest that you save yourself a great deal of money that could be better spent somewhere else and hie yourself to To Sok Jip where you can eat real Korean food.
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Again, I am sorry for your experience.
I really don't understand why you should continue to apologize for Han Gang. There are many (and I emphasize many) excellent Korean restaurants in Annandale. This, at the moment, is not one of them. Maybe one day...maybe not.
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Two of us went to Han Gang after returning from a trip to Cape May. It was Mother's Day so I expected it to be crowded so we went there around 5:30. Even at that hour, it was 75% full already. We decided to visit to see what the restaurants foods was like. We went with high expectation because Tom Sietsema and Joe H praised it. We ordered Seafood pancake ($15) as usual for benchmarking. My verdict was that it was a B. The reason for that is that there was not enough seafood. Not even a single shrimp. There were some squid legs and clams but not as much as To Sok Jip's pancake. For some reason, the chef added onion to the pancake but it was overkill because scallions are there already. I talked to our server about it and she told me that it will be improved next time. Maybe the chef was very busy, I thought.

The next order was the Seafood stew (a better description would be braised seafood - $35). This is slightly different from the seafood hotpot. It doesn't have much soup at the bottom. Two lobster tails, two medium shrimps, some sea squirts, mussels, clams, baby and mother octopi, some pieces of squid, bean sprouts, Shanghai bok-choy and chili sauce. I seconded what Escoffier mentioned. The bok-choy made the taste a bit bitter. It might be a colorful addition but could have been better with Napa cabbage.

The abalone dish ($25) came after the stew. According to the description in the menu, it was 'Stir-fried abalone and mushroom'. I suspect that the chef used canned abalone because the dish contained a lot of juices and the abalone was more beige then the bright white that fresh or frozen abalone normally is. Once again Shanghai bok-choy was included as well as King oyster mushrooms, sugar snap peas and red peppers. It's possible that the bok-choy and mushrooms contributed some of juices but not as much as was in the dish. As you know, it takes time to make abalone tender and this had no chewiness at all. I wasn't impressed.

I am going to visit again so that I can taste their BBQ and cold noodles which are typical Korean dishes.

It could cost more for three or four people to eat at Han Gang than other restaurants in Annandale. The total tab was $78.75 including tax but excluding tip.

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Went to Han Gang this afternoon with a Korean friend. He ordered assorted BBQ meat that turned out to be a piece of sirloin, a piece of filet mignon, and some ribs. He says he's never seen it at a Korean restaurant. The steaks were cooked whole to medium rare and then cut up with scissors. The ribs were marinated but the sirloin and filet were not but they were really tender. With two beers and nothing else, the tab was $73.50 (tax but without tip).

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Went to Han Gang this afternoon with a Korean friend. He ordered assorted BBQ meat that turned out to be a piece of sirloin, a piece of filet mignon, and some ribs. He says he's never seen it at a Korean restaurant. The steaks were cooked whole to medium rare and then cut up with scissors. The ribs were marinated but the sirloin and filet were not but they were really tender. With two beers and nothing else, the tab was $73.50 (tax but without tip).

We went on Saturday night and ordered this. The assorted BBQ is $60 as on the menu says its for 2 people. It was a good piece of meat, I wouldn't say it was the most exciting dish though. The ribs weren't marinated for us . . . the ribeye and filet were very good.

We started with the seafood pancake. I liked the crispy texture, but agree that there is very little seafood. $15.

One 22 oz Sapporo: $10.

My impression is that there are better deals around, but it is a very comfortable and clean environment. Great ventilation, you won't smell like your meal once you leave.

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The ribs weren't marinated for us . . . the ribeye and filet were very good.

My impression is that there are better deals around, but it is a very comfortable and clean environment. Great ventilation, you won't smell like your meal once you leave.

Maybe the ribs weren't marinated....wasn't sure since we were stuffed silly eating the sirloin and filet. We were also tossing back beers playing golf.

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DaRiv18,

The assorted BBQ you ordered is not supposed to be marinated. I just looked at the menu on the website and found out that it is assorted roasted beef. Koreans call it as 'roasted beef' but it is a different concept because they don't use oven so a big chunk of beef has to be sliced and cooked on the grill. It could be more like pieces of steak.

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Thanks Grover. We had a pretty open mind ordering it, and thought it would be really really good. I think we were presented with about 25-30 oz of pre-cooked eatable beef. It wasn't marinated. Nothing really special about it though, but certainly not offensive. Fresh beef cooked at our table by the waitress. It is definitely just pieces of steak. Probably the safest choice on the menu for Americans who are dragged to the restaurant by their friends.

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No discussion of Han Gang here in several months, for whatever reason. This is a brief report from a non-expert, having eaten here for the first time at dinner tonight.

Our experience did not begin well. We felt ignored for a good while after being seated. Then, when ordering, it seemed like we hit a bunch of resistance. You want just whiskey with no coca cola? Yes, please. Whiskey but nothing else in it but ice?! Yes, that's right. You really don't want that cold noodle dish with marinated fish (hwae naeng myun), it's very Korean. That's why we came to a Korean restaurant, I swear - to eat Korean food! And we have been to Korean restaurants before, yes we have. But you won't like it. We would like to try it, really, I mean it. No really, you really won't like it, 9 out of 10 people don't like it. Will you please bring it to us? We will bring you a small portion, how about that? Ok.

But the food made up for it. That cold noodle dish that we were supposed to not like, was especially great. As was a seafood and soft tofu stew. (You will not find it on the menu that is currently online, so I can't tell you the proper name of it right now.) And bibimbap, and scallops cooked on the table. As some others have mentioned before, the spread of side dishes, kimchi etc., is not as vast as at some restaurants, but it is very good.

And once the staff saw that we were actually enjoying the food (even the 9 year olds among us), they were very very nice.

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Our experience did not begin well. We felt ignored for a good while after being seated. Then, when ordering, it seemed like we hit a bunch of resistance. You want just whiskey with no coca cola? Yes, please. Whiskey but nothing else in it but ice?! Yes, that's right. You really don't want that cold noodle dish with marinated fish (hwae naeng myun), it's very Korean. That's why we came to a Korean restaurant, I swear - to eat Korean food! And we have been to Korean restaurants before, yes we have. But you won't like it. We would like to try it, really, I mean it. No really, you really won't like it, 9 out of 10 people don't like it. Will you please bring it to us? We will bring you a small portion, how about that? Ok.

I am not sure where the resistance comes from but I am sure it is very real. I've also not seen the "resistance" in other ethnic resturants. Most of the time it is not that persistant. I have gone to many korean meal with non-koreans and from time to time the waitstaff turns to me and say they won't like that. But I have never sat with a non-korean who said "I really don't like this" at a korean place either after ordering something.

I do think that korean food is very "safe" (see tyler cowen's article on safe (as in authentic not hygene) ethnic food). In most cases, the food has not been modified for the western tastes.

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As a Korean-American guy, I've had the experience of sharing one of my childhood favorites with non-Korean friends who pretty much had to spit it out at the worst, stated their dislike at the least. Hwe-neng-myun (neng-myun in general) is definitely on the "not for everyone" list. It was extremely upsetting to see people hating something that you love so much, so I can relate to the server for being apprehensive, even overly so. Glad y'all enjoyed it though.

As for the food quality discussion, I won't speak for any other cuisine, but on the most part, when it comes to Korean food like kimchi, pa-jun, etc., I'd say the same thing about it as I would about coffee: people tend to be more forgiving about how they taste because it's foreign (Korean food) or commonly bitter and/or muddy (coffee). The fact is, they can and should taste good and balanced. Keep an open mind, but trust your taste buds. You don't have to be born Korean to know when kimchi is awesome. :angry:

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How funny, I (a non-Korean) have had this exact experience while dining with a Korean co-worker:

I have gone to many korean meal with non-koreans and from time to time the waitstaff turns to me and say they won't like that. But I have never sat with a non-korean who said "I really don't like this" at a korean place either after ordering something.

when trying to order this (just naeng myun):

Hwe-neng-myun (neng-myun in general) is definitely on the "not for everyone" list.

It took a bit of convincing on the part of my co-worker, but I did get what I ordered. And, while it wasn't my favorite thing, did enjoy it and was glad I tried it.

The other common anecdote seems to be related to people ordering kitfo in Ethiopian restaurants and it being served cooked, rather than raw.

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If you were born in a Northern Korean region, you would eat it in Wintertime.

My understanding is if you're in North Korea, you'd eat boiled shoe soles in the winter. Anyway, my Korean friend tells me that Koreans don't usually eat family style in restaurants? Is he out of his mind? By way of example, I told him when we (i.e., my family) order soon doo boo, it's always shared like any other soup but says most Koreans don't share. He thinks I'm nuts when I go to a Korean joint and end up ordering BBQ, pancake, japchae and soup.

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Dinner tonight showed that you need to prove that you're willing to eat what most typical Americans won't before you get the good stuff. Once you do, however, the staff enjoys watching you enjoy the meal.

When the first round of ban chan were delivered there was no kimchi and three of the four dishes were bland. A quick look at other tables showed we didn't get the good stuff. We quickly scarfed down the spicy eggplant, the only spicy ban chan and when our waitress returned to I asked for kimchi. She asked if we knew what it was and we assured her we did. The kimchi arrived with the full array of ban chan that other tables received.

We ordered the short ribs BBQ and the seafood hot pot for two. The short ribs were great and I loved using the radish instead of the lettuce. The hot pot had potential for greatness but the quality of the seafood kept it from getting there. The broth was layered with flavor and the perfect amount of spice. It was chock full of clams, half a lobster, scallop, octopus, shrimp, mussels, cod intestine (my new favorite), and some small, crunchy specimen that neither the waitress nor the manager knew how to translate into English. Unfortunately, a lot of the seafood was frozen which led to chewy clams and mussels and mushy lobster and scallops. Had all of the seafood been fresh this would be one hell of a dish.

Despite having to prove we really did want kimchi and the like and the frozen seafood, our meal was worth the shlep and when we can resist the lull of Honey Pig we will return.

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The hot pot had potential for greatness but the quality of the seafood kept it from getting there.

And that, friends, is my main frustration with every Korean restaurant I've been to in Virginia. Beautiful, complex, energizing combinations of chili and funk, but nasty, mealy, off-tasting mussels and shrimp and chewy squid in the bottom of every stew-pot. For whatever reason, the clams and oysters are slightly better (at least at the Annandale Vit Goel).

What gives? And why does the Korean-American population put up with it?

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I live on the course at Pincrest, just a stones throw from these places and I still haven't tried any of them :) Partially because I am totally confused regarding some posts of people I feel are quite well versed in the Korean food arena and exactly becuase the one time I did try one of the...the seafood was SUB PAR :lol:

I'm still willing though :(

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My impression is that there are better deals around, but it is a very comfortable and clean environment. Great ventilation, you won't smell like your meal once you leave.

Mine too. The furniture wasn't sticky and there wasn't any residual smoky/oily feeling about the place. We went a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, but I think that there are better values to be had on the strip, especially since I have pretty simple tastes and usually want a selection of tofu stew. We had a galbi plate, a bowl of bi bim bap, and the vegetarian pancake. There were a lot of wonderful panchan (full array for two asain girls, though neither of us are actually Korean) that were fresh, spicy, and complementary. I especially liked the eggplant, greens, and the little fishes. The main dishes were good, as others have described above, but we didn't care for the pancake at all. Quite heavy, with a polenta-ish texture, and not much flavor - very off-putting. Our service was slow but steady, and we did get the gratis clear soup to start and milky sweet soup to finish. So I'd say a good Korean place to take the parents or newbies for its atmosphere, wide-ranging menu, and fresh meats, but stick to the smaller places for everyday.

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the gratis clear soup to start and milky sweet soup to finish.

Oh my! Sweet soup? Nah, that's rice, not soup. Should have a couple of pine nuts floating around as well as small pieces of rice in the bottom. Clear soup? Almost every Korean restaurant serves miso, but a few serve seaweed ji-gae. I don't remember what we had when we ate there (I know we reviewed this place and that review is somewhere near the top but I haven't gone back to read it yet), but what did the clear soup taste like? I'm curious as to what they're serving.

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Oh my! Sweet soup? Nah, that's rice, not soup. Should have a couple of pine nuts floating around as well as small pieces of rice in the bottom. Clear soup? Almost every Korean restaurant serves miso, but a few serve seaweed ji-gae. I don't remember what we had when we ate there (I know we reviewed this place and that review is somewhere near the top but I haven't gone back to read it yet), but what did the clear soup taste like? I'm curious as to what they're serving.

Ha, I don't really remember, and wasn't paying much attention since I didn't care for either, but my friend thinks the starter was some bland (not really sweet or salty) sesame pudding-ish thing, and to finish it was a clear (so not milky, I was probably projecting my hatred of Chinese milky ice desserts)), cool, sweetish perhaps ginger drink. Any idea what they were?

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Ha, I don't really remember, and wasn't paying much attention since I didn't care for either, but my friend thinks the starter was some bland (not really sweet or salty) sesame pudding-ish thing, and to finish it was a clear (so not milky, I was probably projecting my hatred of Chinese milky ice desserts)), cool, sweetish perhaps ginger drink. Any idea what they were?

The latter, sweet clear drink sounds like sikhye, a chilled rice drink that (in my experience) is flavored by ginger. It usually has a few grains of rice and some pine nuts in it.

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Ha, I don't really remember, and wasn't paying much attention since I didn't care for either, but my friend thinks the starter was some bland (not really sweet or salty) sesame pudding-ish thing, and to finish it was a clear (so not milky, I was probably projecting my hatred of Chinese milky ice desserts)), cool, sweetish perhaps ginger drink. Any idea what they were?

The ending drink was shih-ke which is clear and made from rice and barley sprouts. I have no idea what the starter was (and I'm not that excited about Han Gang that I want to go eat dinner there to find out B)).

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Lady Kibbee and I were passing through the Annandale area at dinnertime, and decided to give Han Gang a try. Although the food was good, with solid flavors and tetures, the prices were outrageous. I won't make the Han Gang mistake again.

We didn't order the table cooking -- most of the entrees were in the $35 - $45 range! The amuse was a small soup of Japanese pumpkin, which was pleasant but not very interesting. We had the sashimi appetizer, about enough for one person for $25, and the single fried soft shell crab appetizer for $15. The table full of nice panchan would have completed a small meal for two at still too high a price, but we added seafood bibimbap and spicy udon noodles with squid. Both dishes were well executed, and I love the crispy rice that forms at the bottom of the bibimbap stone bowl. But overall, the best adjective I can come up with is "good".

The shih-ke closer was a nice surprise, since I hadn't tried it before. But at $120 for the total tab with tax and tip, I won't be returning here for "good" food.

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Both dishes were well executed, and I love the crispy rice that forms at the bottom of the bibimbap stone bowl.

Technical note (to save Escoffier and grover the trouble): plain old bibimbap comes in a ceramic bowl, but dolsot bibimbap comes in the hot stone, and is worth the small upcharge not only because it forms the tah-dihg thing, but also because it keeps it hot throughout the dinner (it actually gets hotter towards the bottom).

You can eat here more cheaply than this, but the prices are somewhat painful. I find that in general, Korean restaurants are priced all over the map, for no apparent logical reason. I think Han Gang has a sushi platter that costs over $100! A dish at a Korean restaurant might cost $45; another might cost $15, and it seems almost random. It's not a matter of sheer size, or rarity - I'm not sure why it is, but I am sure that I've noticed it around here for years and it makes no sense.

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Went here for lunch because my senior partner who pays for lunch wanted Korean.  I figure Han Gang would still be good, if not the best in Annandale.  I briefly thought about taking him to Tok So Jip but I decided he's not really looking for that kind of authenticity.  We only order 2 dishes, which was more than enough for lunch.  The seafood pancake was superb - wonderful texture (a little crispy outside, not at all dense inside) and seasoning, with a variety of seafood (mostly squid ).  The galbi (short rib) was fatty in a good way - my boss was impressed with its tenderness.  It's more expensive than other joints, but I wasn't paying.

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