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I have a hankering for Korean, but don't want to trek to Annandale. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good Korean restaurant in the district? And, if not, would you be able to suggest anyplace in particular in Annandale?

I'm kind of craving the standby, bibimbop, but also considering bbq, too.

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I have a hankering for Korean, but don't want to trek to Annandale.  Does anyone have a suggestion for a good Korean restaurant in the district?  And, if not, would you be able to suggest anyplace in particular in Annandale?

I'm kind of craving the standby, bibimbop, but also considering bbq, too.

I've still never been to Yee Hwa, but I think that's about your best bet in DC. Woo Lae Oak in Pentagon City is expensive but serves everything you might want. If you feel like trekking to Annandale, try Annangol for BBQ (or Il Mee Buffet if you're really hungry and not so much worried about quality), Choong Hwa Won for Chinese-Korean noodles in black bean sauce, or Gom Ba Woo for good, informal homestyle cooking such as stir-fried kimchi with pork.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Not to put a damper on anything, but...  I've only ever had Korean once, and it was at YeeHwa.  Never been back for more.  I found it thoroughly average.  Boring.  YMMV.  If you do go please report back.

Yeah, I had heard that about the place. I'll likely make the trek to Annandale tomorrow instead. Might as well make it a miniadventure, with my crappy sense of direction.

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There's a lot of Korean food out there that's mediocre (and I'm Korean so I know) - your best bet is your Korean friend's mom. :lol:

Annandale - Hee Been is pretty good. Choong Hwa Won like Rocks said is good for the black bean noodles (Chinese Korean really).

Closer to Bailey's Crossroads is Han Sung Oak on Columbia Pike (Falls Church, in the shopping center with Harris Teeter), about 5-7 drive from Duangrat's.

Unfortunately I've never had Korean food in the District.

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Closer to Bailey's Crossroads is Han Sung Oak on Columbia Pike (Falls Church, in the shopping center with Harris Teeter), about 5-7 drive from Duangrat's.

Unfortunately I've never had Korean food in the District.

I know this thread says "DC" - so sorry to be a bit off-topic geographically.

Has anyone been to Han Sung Oak? Any thoughts, particularly in contrast to Woo Lae Oak.

Korean food is a fairly new experience for me and I've never been to either place. I'm helping with the planning of a retirement lunch for a coworker who has requested Korean. We're going to have quite a varied group food/palate-wise. I guess what I'm saying is (unfortunately) maybe the less "ethnic", the better in this case :)

Any reviews/feedback on either place will be appreciated! We'll probably be about 20-25 people and would like to do the tabletop grill thing...

For my own information, I'd love to hear about other authentic places that are recommended. Thanks :o

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Has anyone been to Han Sung Oak?  Any thoughts, particularly in contrast to Woo Lae Oak. 

Do you mean Han Sung in Ellicott City? It doesn't have tabletop grilling, and would have a hard time accommodating that many people in general. ----->clickity

ETA: oops...nevermind...

Edited by crackers
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Any reccomendations out in the Silver Spring/Rockville area?  I've heard of Options and Woomi Garden, but have only been to Woomi and don't remember what I had...

Sam Woo on the Pike in Rockville is decent. It's not Annandale, but if you're in the neigborhood, it's a nice place.

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No - Han Sung Oak is on Columbia Pike in Falls Church/Annandale -in the Harris Teeter shopping center at Lincolnia Road. (jaimetown mentioned it above)

Doesn't anybody eat at the Annandale area Korean places :) ??

I know someone out there must have some info.... a Korean friend tried Ill Mee on Sunday and said it was good.

Come on VA folks :o spill the beans B)

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Doesn't anybody eat at the Annandale area Korean places  :) ??

I know someone out there must have some info.... a Korean friend tried Ill Mee on Sunday and said it was good. 

Il Mee Buffet is sheer quantity at the expense of quality. I discussed a few Annandale establishments in the second post of this thread (scroll up!). Also, if it's comfort-level (translation: Korean BBQ) and quality you're looking for, I would avoid Sorak Garden and go instead to Annangol or Yechon. Last time I visited Yechon, it was 11:30 PM on a weeknight, and there were 20-30 people there. It's the Bistro Francais of Annandale.

If you want to have a warehouse-like atmosphere for your party of 25, you could always try Songbird in Vienna. It isn't particularly good, but it sure is spacious inside - deceptively so.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Not to put a damper on anything, but...  I've only ever had Korean once, and it was at YeeHwa.  Never been back for more.  I found it thoroughly average.  Boring.  YMMV.  If you do go please report back.

Oh my, you'll have to join my wife and I some evening for dinner...as she's Korean, she can make sure your Korean dining experience is anything but boring and average.

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There's a lot of Korean food out there that's mediocre (and I'm Korean so I know) - your best bet is your Korean friend's mom.  :)

That's true...or a wife that's Korean...

Annandale - Hee Been is pretty good.  Choong Hwa Won like Rocks said is good for the black bean noodles (Chinese Korean really).

Hee Been went through a huge expansion and lost a lot in the transition. Hee Been

used to be one of my favorite Korean restaurants..now I find it mediocre at best. 

Closer to Bailey's Crossroads is Han Sung Oak on Columbia Pike (Falls Church, in the shopping center with Harris Teeter), about 5-7 drive from Duangrat's.

Han Sung Oak has really good panchan, interesting service (the insist on giving me a fork even though I've been there a 100 times and never asked for or used one), and a really good seafood pancake...it's worth the trek.

Unfortunately I've never had Korean food in the District.

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Our waitress called it a sea mushroom and the maitre(sse) d' called it "mi do do" in Korean. 2 coworkers with Korean parents didn't recognize it and neither did one of the parents.

According to my Korean dictionary it is called...Warty sea squirt or Styela clava...real appetizing eh? It has to be very fresh to enjoy the real flavor. Many times mi do doks served at restaurants are frozen which does disservice to the "squirt" effect.

Ask for Naengmyun sari, which is the buckwheat noodle used in naeng meun (chilled noodle soup) with the Bulgo gi or Galbi. Once you allow the noodles to soak into the broth that drips from the meat, it will a feast...as with any carb, it soaks liquid (meat drippings... ) rapidly so be haste! Let the noodles heat up and ASAP enjoy the feast!

Edited by crazeegirl
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you beat me to the "more or less" correct romanji spelling of mi do duk or mi do dok...and I agree, nothing better than the buckwheat noodles cooked in the broth from the bulgogi...even after eating almost to the point where there is no room left, the noodles are delicious and excellent...my wife and I clamor over them..

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Thank you crazeegirl and escoffier for clearing up this culinary mystery! I figured I was missing some subtlety of the pronunciation. I had actually wondered if it could possibly be a sea squirt but couldn't find any mention of them being something that gets eaten. Now I can sleep tonight :o

Thanks also for the tips on how to better enjoy the bulgogi! Now I'll be able to impress my coworkers with my Korean dining knowledge :)

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Now we just need someone in the know to step up to the table and organize a dinner at a local joint...

We can go almost anytime you'd like. Our only proviso is that we have a standing dinner 'date' on Saturday nights. That leaves Monday through Sunday...we were at AnnanGol last night for barbecue. Let's get a list together and we can set a night.

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Has anyone been to Han Sung Oak?  Any thoughts, particularly in contrast to Woo Lae Oak. 

Woo Lae Oak is a very famous restaurant in Seoul City in Korea which combines northern and mid region (Seoul) cuisine. Food from those regions are not spicy.

For your information, those spicy foods you are tasting at the restaurants are almost southern style. Therefore, Wood Lae Oak's food could be described as watered down or more bland than other Korean restaurants food. Woo Lae Oak cold noodles are the best (Pyung Yang style).

Han Sung Oak serves 70's style beef barbecue which boils broth in a ring around the grill for barbecueing (Bulgogi) so the juices from barbecueing are mixed with the broth. After barbecueing you add the buckwheat noodles (Naeng myun sari).

When I was a kid, I ate this way so it is comfort food for me. This style of cooking disappeared in the 80's so when I found Han Sung Oak I was very happy.

I would say this is Han Sung Oak's claim to fame.

Another thing I would like to mention is seafood pancake. A pancake is made of squid, shrimps, mussels, clams and scallions with flour batter.

I would say Han Sung Oak's seafood pancake is the best among Korean restaurants in DC metro area.

Other dishes are similar among all Korean restaurants. Each restaurant seems to specialize in some specific dish.

I hope this will help you out. :lol:

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If the duk mandoo guk is good and there is a lot of panchan, I'm happy.

Good point!!

Mandoo (dumplings) is very labor intensive to prepare.

I made dumpling soup (mandoo guk) for Chinese New Year and it took more than 3 hours.

It takes at least 3 hours to make the beef broth and 2 hours for preparing the stuffing and wrapping the dumplings.

Therefore, if a Korean restaurant serves good dumpling soup, then it definitely is a good restaurant.

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Good point!!

Mandoo (dumplings) is very labor intensive to prepare.

I made dumpling soup (mandoo guk) for Chinese New Year and it took more than 3 hours.

It takes at least 3 hours to make the beef broth and 2 hours for preparing the stuffing and wrapping the dumplings.

Therefore, if a Korean restaurant serves good dumpling soup, then it definitely is a good restaurant.

I have a question that has bothered me for a while. I know that rice is served with some soups. You add the rice to some of the soups and not for others. How do you know which soup you should add the rice to?

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Ask for Naengmyun sari, which is the buckwheat noodle used in naeng meun (chilled noodle soup) with the Bulgo gi or Galbi. Once you allow the noodles to soak into the broth that drips from the meat, it will a feast...as with any carb, it soaks liquid (meat drippings... ) rapidly so be haste! Let the noodles heat up and ASAP enjoy the feast!

Crazeegirl mentioned the Naengmyun sari and asking for them to go with the Bulgogi broth... So, do you put them into the liquid that is in the "trough" around the grill? Just wondering what the protocol is for getting them into the broth.

Also, I ordered bibimbap at a restaurant in NYC and it was served with a raw egg on top of it, to be stirred into the hot rice/veg, etc. where it cooked from the heat of the dish. At Han Sung Oak last week, bibimbap came with a fried egg on top :lol: and I don't think it had cooked itself on top...were they just "Americanizing" the dish for me - what is traditional? I preferred the first way myself.

Edited by goldenticket
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Kimchi is a very good judge of character. Too often you go to a restaurant and the kimchi has not aged long enough, and is simply spicy, crunchy cabbage. I've eaten a number of times at Han Sung Oak in Annandale/Falls Church and have always found their cabbage to be perfectly fermented. Their $7 and $8 lunch specials are fantastic and come with a dizzying array of panchan.

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I have a question that has bothered me for a while.  I know that rice is served with some soups.  You add the rice to some of the soups and not for others.  How do you know which soup you should add the rice to?

It is very difficult to answer.... :lol:

There is no clear line between stew and soup in Korean cuisine.

However, you can distinguish them through tasting.

If the soup is clear, not salty and looks like broth, then it is soup [guk in Korean language].

If the soup is thick, spicy and salty, then it is stew [chigeh in Korean language].

(There is an exception -- Spicy beef soup [Yuk ge Jahng])

Another tip, guk is served per person on the table but only a chigeh is served on the table so you can share it with family.

So, when you get a soup, you can put the rice in the soup but Koreans usually don't put the rice in the stew. How much I confuse you now?

:huh:

Edited by grover
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Crazeegirl mentioned the Naengmyun sari and asking for them to go with the Bulgogi broth... So, do you put them into the liquid that is in the "trough" around the grill?  Just wondering what the protocol is for getting them into the broth.

When you order Bulgogi with Naengmyun sari, the wait staff will know the time to bring and cook it for you. FYI, when you finish 3/4 or 2/3 of Bulgogi on the grill, it is good time to ask Naengmyun sari if the wait staff forgets to bring it.

Also, I ordered bibimbap at a restaurant in NYC and it was served with a raw egg on top of it, to be stirred into the hot rice/veg, etc. where it cooked from the heat of the dish.  At Han Sung Oak last week, bibimbap came with a fried egg on top  :huh:    and I don't think it had cooked itself on top...were they just "Americanizing" the dish for me - what is traditional?  I preferred the first way myself.

Actually Han Sung Oak served correct way. It's quite odd to hear that the restaurant in NYC served you a raw egg with bibimbap. I tried to interprete it this way: You probably ordered Dol Sot Bibimbap (bibimbap in the hot stone pot) so a raw egg can be cooked inside. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Dol sot bibimbap is not the traditional way to serve. It was developed for commercial purpose in 80's from the rice cooked in hot stone pot (this one is traditional).

Traditional bibimbap is served in the big bowl with rice, veggies, marinated ground beef and egg toping (neither a raw egg nor a sunny side up egg -- I'll explain later when you come to Korean dinner) :lol:

Edited by grover
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When Koreans talk about restaurants, the question always asked is; "Do they have good Kimchi?"

How do YOU judge a good Korean restaurant?

I'm a big yuk gae jang person, so that's how I judge how good a Korean restaurant is. Incidentally, I make a pretty good yuk gae jang at home as well... :lol:

Edited by mxyzptlk
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Also, I ordered bibimbap at a restaurant in NYC and it was served with a raw egg on top of it, to be stirred into the hot rice/veg, etc. where it cooked from the heat of the dish.  At Han Sung Oak last week, bibimbap came with a fried egg on top  :)    and I don't think it had cooked itself on top...were they just "Americanizing" the dish for me - what is traditional?  I preferred the first way myself.

no "Amercanized" bibimbap for you :wub:

edited. since grover beat me to the post (see above)! :lol:

extra info: bibimbap was invented to pretty much utilize all unused leftover side dishes in kitchen. who would have thought it would become a gourmet dish in some restaurants? :huh:

Edited by jjshyne
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When Koreans talk about restaurants, the question always asked is; "Do they have good Kimchi?"

How do YOU judge a good Korean restaurant?

Kimchi is definitely a good way to tell. I also look at the rest of the banchan to see the variety and how complex the side dishes are. Kimchi chigeh and Daenjang (miso) chigeh are also very good indicators.

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When Koreans talk about restaurants, the question always asked is; "Do they have good Kimchi?"

How do YOU judge a good Korean restaurant?

how tender their squid is in either the pajun or in bokkum. also how many cold noodle dishes they have.
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Does anybody know how anything (good or bad) about the Korean restaurant in the little strip mall at Georgia Ave. and Norbeck Road? It is so low key that the name isn't even in English so I can't tell you what it is called. It is next to the House of Gyro. Since I had several bad experiences with Korean food years ago, I haven't been to once since, but my wife keeps telling me I should try it again.

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Anyone have thoughts on good places for Korean take-out? Ease of calling in the order by phone, whether you still get as good panchan (side dishes) for orders to go, etc.?

I am not sure my answer would be helpful for you. So far, I can't find any Korean take-out place except Cheo-Ga-Jip chicken in Annandale (but their side dishes are very limited). The place like Gom-Ba-Woo, Gamasot or Light House (Vit-Go-Ul Tofu) does accept take-out orders in VA. I saw some people did take-out at Myongdong Noodle.

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Late to the party here!

Diwiddie, you should try Vit Goel on Twinbrook Parkway. We were taken there by a Korean friend a few weeks ago.

We had the following: We had i) gool soon-du-bu: oyster tofu soups (spicyness: medium), ii) hae-mul pa-jeon: seafood pancake, iii) jjoo-kkoo-mi gook-su: spicy noodle with baby octopus and iv) Popeye Galbi: BBQ ribs.

Everything was fantastic but the seafood pancake and bbq ribs really stood out.

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I am not sure my answer would be helpful for you. So far, I can't find any Korean take-out place except Cheo-Ga-Jip chicken in Annandale (but their side dishes are very limited). The place like Gom-Ba-Woo, Gamasot or Light House (Vit-Go-Ul Tofu) does accept take-out orders in VA. I saw some people did take-out at Myongdong Noodle.

Thanks, that's helpful. I'll try take-out from one of those VA restaurants sometime.

Edited to add: Oh, I did get take-out once from Il Mee some years ago for lunch. I think they charged by weight for the buffet, but with the raw meats on the buffet, take-out didn't quite work so well because I didn't want to get take-out but still have to cook at home.

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I just enojyed Vit Goel (Twinbrook Pkway), passed el patio. I have to say my first Korean experience was to die for. I had the Oyster/clam/shrimp tofu soup, which i really enjoyed at medium spice +1 ordered the mushroom tofu soup and really enjoyed it as well. We split the bbq ribs and ended happily paying 32+8(tip)=40. Good place for 20$ tuesday outings.

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Woo Lae Oak in Crystal City was one of my favorite resturants. Excellent side dishes (quality and variety). Song bird is ok and will go there if I'm around tysons. The new WLO I'm not a huge fan and I don't go.

There are pretty good places in Annadale. Went to Seoul SoonDae today. It was really good. Got hot steaming bowl of korean sausage soup. YUM.

I'm hoping we could organize $20 Tuesday around mid december in koreatown. To Sok Jip, Yaechun, Lighthouse tofu, annangol, honeypig are all pretty solid places. BTW, I was at yaechun last friday and had a solid lunch. I'm not saying they are the best korean place in DC but they've been consistant and solid for so long you have to give them some credit.

Soup's post reminded me that I drove by Palace Restaurant in Annandale the other day and was wondering if folks here have tried it?

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Hi there,

I have often been tempted by Annandale's Korean scene, but I live in Gaithersburg right now and getting to Northern Virginia can be a pain at the best of times.

So if I am planning to visit a few places in Annandale every week or so for a month, where should I go? Variety would be nice but not absolutely necessary!

rob t.

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Honey Pig for BBQ and Chul Pan

Oe Gad Gib for soups like the chicken with ginseng and shared dishes like bo ssam accompanied by Dong Doong Ju. Have a designated driver!!!

Ye Chon mostly for their panchan. Wide variety of fairly good quality across the baord, but not a killer spot for anything in particular.

Gamasot for tang and guks and su yuk

Can't remember tha name, but you should try a Korean Chinese palce. There are two I know of and both seem good but Grover may be more discerning.

Gom Ba Woo. Again, a lot of variety.

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I agreed with Dean's choices. Since you live in Gaithersburg, MD, I would like to add this place called 'Da Rae Won'. It is the best Korean-Chinese restaurant. It is not too far away from your location. The address is 5013 Garrett Ave. Beltsville, MD 20705.

In NOVA, there is a Korean-Chinese restaurant called Jang-Won Bahn Jom but this place can't beat the one in MD.

I don't know how many people you are going to bring. Honey Pig and Oe Gad Jib are for the bigger group than 2. Gamasot is very clean and quiet. You will enjoy any kind of soups. I recommend short rib soup (Kalbi Tang) or spicy Kalbi Tang.

Yechon has wonderful dumpling soup. For formal Korean dinner, I would go to Han-Sung Oak.

Please PM me if you need further information.

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Since you live in Gaithersburg, MD, I would like to add this place called 'Da Rae Won'. It is the best Korean-Chinese restaurant. It is not too far away from your location. The address is 5013 Garrett Ave. Beltsville, MD 20705.

Beltsville is no closer to Gaithersburg than Annandale.

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To Sok Jip (7211 Columbia Pike)-best seafood pancake ever and lots of banchan.

Gamasot-(6963 Hechinger Dr)-I love their sul lung tang.

Han Sung Oak (6341 Columbia Pike)-has very good bbq, flavorful and juicy.

Chung Dai Kam (7215 Columbia Pike)-the only place that uses charcoal for their bbq. Its attached to To Sok Jip with a cow sign.

Todam Soon Doo Boo (7133 Columbia Pike)-A brand new restaurant specializes in tofu stew. Its almost identicle to lighthouse tofu, but its cleaner, brighter, serves more banchan.

Bon Chon Chicken (6653 Little River Turnpike)-If you never had Korean fried chicken, you should definitely come here. I took a friend from NYC here, and she loved it so much that she went on a Korean fried chicken binge when she got home. Her verdict was Bon Chon in Annandale still beats all the places in NYC.

You can also try some Korean desert places afterwards

The three big ones are Le Martin de Paris (7326 Littlr River Turnpike), Shilla (7039 Little River Turnpike), and Dolce (7203 Little River Turnpike). Dolce is the most upscale of the three.

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ema also suggests great choices. I hesitated mentioning To Sok Jip because the place is tiny and incredibly popular so it might be difficult to be there when a table is available for sphere777. I was there on Saturday night around 7:00 PM. We waited for 25 minutes and finished our meal around 8:30 PM. Still I didn't see any empty table.

For Bon Chon chicken, it takes 30-40 minutes to fry chicken pieces in order to make them crispy. It might be a good idea to order on the phone while you are on the way in order to save your time. Click here for Bon Chon Chicken Menu. There are 2 different flavors: Soy sauce and Spicy. Please come to our Spring picnic. We are going to have Fried Chicken Tasting and I will bring Bon Chon and Cheogajip fried chicken. Try Yo Fruit for your dessert course. It would be fantastic in Summer.

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