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Hi everyone. I just moved to Annandale, VA from Texas over this past weekend. I have no idea what is going on around me and I feel like an ant in this booming place. I'm looking for those restaurants that are a secret to the masses. Also, anything nearby as well. I understand that that there are about ten thousand cities within a mile of my condo.

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[The following posts have been split into separate threads:

Honey Pig Izakaya (Kibbee Nayee)

Annangol (cheezepowder)

Pho Cong Ly (thistle)

Gangnam Sushi House (cheezepowder)]

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Hi everyone. I just moved to Annandale, VA from Texas over this past weekend. I have no idea what is going on around me and I feel like an ant in this booming place. I'm looking for those restaurants that are a secret to the masses. Also, anything nearby as well. I understand that that there are about ten thousand cities within a mile of my condo.

If you like Korean food, you are going to be one happy camper! Yechon, Bon Chon to name a couple.

PS..welcome! Things will seem less overwhelming once you get a lay of the land.

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Hi everyone. I just moved to Annandale, VA from Texas over this past weekend. I have no idea what is going on around me and I feel like an ant in this booming place. I'm looking for those restaurants that are a secret to the masses. Also, anything nearby as well. I understand that that there are about ten thousand cities within a mile of my condo.

Welcome! Not only do you have dozens of Korean restaurants to choose from, you are just a short drive from Falls Church, which has an incredible area of ethnic eateries -- such as the collection of Vietnamese joints at Eden Center, Lebanese Butcher, Myanmar (Burmese), Hong Kong Palace (outstanding Szechuan, despite the name) at Seven Corners, Peruvian chicken joints such as Super Chicken, authentic Bolivian food at Llajtaymanta and Luzmila's, etc. etc.

Do a search of Falls Church over on Chowhound. Have fun!

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Anyone have a clue as to which one Korean restaurant in the area is really good?

There are a number. What are you looking for in particular? Korean-Chinese? Homestyle? Fish? Soo lan tang? Mool Pajun? Korean restaurants generally specialize in one type of dish (oh yeah, and galbi for the mee-guks :)).

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How 'bout starting by telling me what are the best things to order at To Sok Jip? I had some fried croaker and kimchi pancake there last week for lunch. The lunch menu was kind of small, but there were lots of stuff posted on the wall. The server was actually pointing me towards the wall but I can't read Korean...

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How 'bout starting by telling me what are the best things to order at To Sok Jip? I had some fried croaker and kimchi pancake there last week for lunch. The lunch menu was kind of small, but there were lots of stuff posted on the wall. The server was actually pointing me towards the wall but I can't read Korean...

Only if you say please. :)

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There are a number. What are you looking for in particular? Korean-Chinese? Homestyle? Fish? Soo lan tang? Mool Pajun? Korean restaurants generally specialize in one type of dish (oh yeah, and galbi for the mee-guks :)).

Could that actually be a post listing the restaurant and what their speciality is, please? That would be really helpful to have it in one post rather than in multiple threads.

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Well, let's see...

Gom Ba Woo - Kimchi, mandu, salad with mustard dressing (that you have to special order)

Honey Pig - Loud K-pop, BBQ smelling everything, spicy pork with kimchi

Jang-Won Bahn Jom (The Korean-Chinese place across from K-Mart and beside the tire place) - Jajang-myun, spicy seafood soup, seafood (haemool) jajang-myun (the one served in the LARGE plate - a favorite), anything with the home made noodles

Bon Chon - Chicken (the spicy one, not the sweet, soy sauce one)

Gamasot - Sullong-tang (After the ownership changed, Grover isn't so sure)

Yechon - Duk Mandoo (mandu?) Guk - Probably the best in Annandale. The Korean-style Chirashi sushi.

To Sok Jip - Chicken-noodle soup, any of the fishies (I prefer Belt fish, YMMV), bo-sahm. (Grover swears this is the best haemool pajun in Annandale)

Hee Been - (to expand Dean's post a bit) - Personally I've never, ever been tempted to eat food on THAT side of the buffet. I walk by it quickly on the way to the sushi (which is good and interesting (in a good way). Galbi and bulgogi (yeah, I do eat it here because I can leave the sugary stuff off), soo-do-boo (spicy tofu soup), good selection of banchan.

Il Mee - As long as we're talking about buffets. I haven't been here in over five years, so keep that in mind. At one time had the largest selection of sushi of any buffet I've ever seen. Huge selection of meat for BBQ.

Cafe Breeze (next door to Yechon) - Bing-soo, bing-soo, bing-soo. (Did I mention bing-soo?). If you don't know what bing-soo is, I'd suggest you go to Cafe Breeze and find out. Select one of those 90 degree days. Take a friend. Order the mixed fruit with frozen yogurt. Maybe add red bean. Be prepared to get a severe case of brain freeze. And while you're there, explore the baked goods. They'll make you forget your diet.

Cheogajip - The spicy popcorn chicken. It's the only thing we eat here but I keep considering the pizza with bulgogi. One day I'm going to try it.

Annangol - BBQ pork. Marinated for days (or so it seems). Not as smoky as Honey Pig (and not as loud either)

Han Sun Oak - Bulgogi and the buckwheat noodles in the broth that surrounds the bulgogi cooking surface. Possibly the second best haemool pajun in Annandale.

More to come. I have this terrible feeling I've just been pressed into service to create this list. If that's the case, I'm stating up front, this is all subjective. I'm not going to be responsible for your good or bad experience :).

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Escoffier's list is helpful. I welcome its expansion.

To which I will add a few MUST AVOID places -- Han Gang for its ridiculously high prices, and Hee Been for its horrible buffet.

Do you really think the buffet at Hee Been is *that* bad? Here's my experience there.

As for Han Gang, my experience isn't a "must avoid," but it's definitely overpriced for what it is.

Absolutely agree that Escoffier's list is super helpful - keep editing and expanding it! If your edit privileges expire (I think it's like 72 hours), email me and I'll stick them in. (And don't worry about being responsible. I've had Korean with you and Grover and know your palates to be excellent - any recommendation can backfire if a restaurant has an off-night. (That's the most exasperating thing to me - when I rave about a dish, and then someone goes and spends their good money trying it on my recommendation, and the restaurant botches it. I always feel guilty about it.)

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The cooked food portion of Hee Bin is cringeworthy. The sushi and BBQ is quite good. I think that the Shabu Shabu and the cooked to order soups and stews are quite fine. The kim chee and other salads etc are good to excellent.

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How is the belt fished prepared at To So Jip? I've bought them fried from H Mart and liked them.

They are fried but there is no evidence of grease that I've ever been able to find. Great, crisp, almost crunchy coating that's excellent. Fish is light and flaky and moist. I've never had bad fish here (and I eat it often).

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I noticed a new place had opened up in annandale. It is in the Giant parking lot, in the same place as where the old korean BBQ place was (connected to To Sok Jip). Has anyone been? what's the name?

Soup

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The cooked food portion of Hee Bin is cringeworthy. The sushi and BBQ is quite good. I think that the Shabu Shabu and the cooked to order soups and stews are quite fine. The kim chee and other salads etc are good to excellent.

I agree with Dean. The cooked food is no better than Old Country Buffet. It is avoidable. On my last (literally) visit, the fruit bar for dessert was also indifferent -- the cantalope and honey dew both tasted like cardboard -- and the sushi is just tiny.

Do you really think the buffet at Hee Been is *that* bad? Here's my experience there.

As for Han Gang, my experience isn't a "must avoid," but it's definitely overpriced for what it is.

"Overpriced" is how I would put it. If I'm going to spend $42 for an entree, then Eric Ziebold or Cathal Armstrong had better be in the kitchen.

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Cafe Breeze (next door to Yechon) - Bing-soo, bing-soo, bing-soo. (Did I mention bing-soo?). If you don't know what bing-soo is, I'd suggest you go to Cafe Breeze and find out. Select one of those 90 degree days. Take a friend. Order the mixed fruit with frozen yogurt. Maybe add red bean. Be prepared to get a severe case of brain freeze. And while you're there, explore the baked goods. They'll make you forget your diet.

Curious, how many varieties of bingsoo do they have? I've been going to Shilla because they have mochi and the different flavors of ice cream and froyo.
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Curious, how many varieties of bingsoo do they have? I've been going to Shilla because they have mochi and the different flavors of ice cream and froyo.

You know, that's a really good question. I'm a frozen yogurt, red bean, and mixed fruit bing-soo person (okay, somewhat of a traditionalist) so I haven't explored the full gamut of toppings. There appears to be a large variety (and a lot of gelato flavors) but now I'm going to have to go and find out. What a hardship...eating all that bing-soo :D.

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On Tyler Cowen's favorites list, he mentions Dduk Sarang, specializing in the Korean version of congee, which I have been completely unable to find, and have told him that as a message to his review. I would love to try it. Is it still there, mysteriously hidden in plain sight? Has it moved? Am I missing the obvious?

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On Tyler Cowen's favorites list, he mentions Dduk Sarang, specializing in the Korean version of congee, which I have been completely unable to find, and have told him that as a message to his review. I would love to try it. Is it still there, mysteriously hidden in plain sight? Has it moved? Am I missing the obvious?

I believe Dduk Sarang is now (or was a while back) Juk Story, which seems to be a juk chain from Korea. I loved Dduk Sarang, but I haven't been to the latest incarnation of that space. I am hungering for some jeonbokjuk...

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Juk Story has gone and is now Sakura Express (shabu shabu place). Sad thing is that some good place doesn't stay long enough.

By the way, Jamie, Cafe Breeze is really worth to try.. they have red bean, fruit, gelato and yogurt bingsoo. Of course you can pay extra red bean for fruit, gelato or yogurt bingsoo.

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Juk Story has gone and is now Sakura Express (shabu shabu place). Sad thing is that some good place doesn't stay long enough.

By the way, Jamie, Cafe Breeze is really worth to try.. they have red bean, fruit, gelato and yogurt bingsoo. Of course you can pay extra red bean for fruit, gelato or yogurt bingsoo.

I just ate at Juk Story this Wednesday, May 9, 2012!

Address 4231-N Markham Drive, Annandale, VA.

Nothing on the outside of the store is in English but the menu is bilingual.

I just scanned it but don't know how to add it to this post.

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Can someone please explain the last four posts to me?! :wacko: :wacko: :wacko:

Jeonbokjuk is juk with abalone slices. Tasty.

Juk is called congee in China. Rice porridge. Good for breakfast or when you are feeling under the weather.

I had the juk with chicken and ginseng. I thought it was pretty tasty but I do like rice porridge.

They also have bibimbap, which is ordinary rice with toppings.

No way to do a $20 Tuesday, maybe seating for 12 or so.

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Jeonbokjuk is juk with abalone slices. Tasty.

Juk is called congee in China. Rice porridge. Good for breakfast or when you are feeling under the weather.

I had the juk with chicken and ginseng. I thought it was pretty tasty but I do like rice porridge.

They also have bibimbap, which is ordinary rice with toppings.

No way to do a $20 Tuesday, maybe seating for 12 or so.

Yes, but they didn't close, right? Grover mistook the restaurant?

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Yes, but they didn't close, right? Grover mistook the restaurant?

I just called the number on the menu, 703-354-5488, and asked if it was Juk Story and I think the lady said "that's right." Will drive by on my way home.
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I drove by the place on the way home. The lights are on, there is a neon "open" sign in the window, the door was open, and I could see inside that the premises are the same as when I was there Wednesday.

I did not actually go in.

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End of a long, hectic week last Friday, I stopped at the fairly new Pho Cong Ly in the Bradlick Shopping Center for a quick dinner. Got the beef with vermicelli and a spring roll. The wine list was short, Yellow Tail whites and similar reds, so I decided to pass. The decor is pleasant strip shopping center chic, wood floors, cream walls, dark wood tables booths & chairs, a couple of stone accent corners and a deep warm red accent wall. Also a giant TV tuned to the news and the closed captioning on.

They tout their spring rolls, and it was a better rendition than many I've had. Dense with a flavorful meaty filling and very hot and crispy on the outside. The beef bun came out and contained one small skewer of grilled meat, I would guess a scant 3 ounces. It was well cooked with some char on the edges and juicy & tender on the inside, but it had some sort of marinade or rub on it which I didn't like at all. Maybe a lot of star anise in it? After a couple of bites, I didn't mind the small serving because I wasn't going to finish that. The rest of the bowl was the standard noodles and chopped cukes, iceberg lettuce sprouts, herbs, etc., and while fresh, it was poorly chopped -- not cleanly cut all the way thru, herbs were just left as whole sprigs on stems, and so it was very difficult to eat because I couldn't easily separate the pieces and get a mixed mouthful of bright fresh flavors, which is one of the main reasons that I like Vietnamese cooking.

The restaurant wasn't busy and I was there early. Service was fine. Cost was just under $10 before tip. Overall, without checking out more of the menu, I'd say it's worth a little more exploration, and the spring rolls are definitely worth ordering again.

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Stopped at the Giant in Annandale to pick up somethings tonight, and the Korean buffet restaurant next door that's changed hands so many times has apparently changed hands again. Now it's Jiggly Jiggly BBQ. I didn't check out the menu. I wonder if it's a Korean Hooters now.

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Annandale recommendations from Danny Lee of Mandu. I'll have to check out the last two (Siroo Bakery for rice cakes and the Korean guy outside HMart - I like the Korean sweet pancakes).

And naturally To Sok Jip is right there at the top. We manage to get those pancakes at the Annandale H-Mart about twice a month (usually after a trip to Tanpopo for sushi and ramen).

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Another new restaurant is Kogiya which is yet another barbecue place. Haven't heard much about it yet (opened the last few days, I think).

Looking at their menu it's fairly standard stuff, though they do have duck, which seems a bit rarer than usual. (Then again, maybe I don't go to the right places.) They also have ogyeopsal (5-layer pork belly) which, I believe, is like the usual samgyeopsal (3-layer pork belly) but with an extra layer of fat and the skin. Then again, they also have "marinated fatty pork skin" which sort of moves one to the good stuff in my mind.

Duck and pork skin sounds like a good dinner to me!

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Another new restaurant is Kogiya which is yet another barbecue place. Haven't heard much about it yet (opened the last few days, I think).

Looking at their menu it's fairly standard stuff, though they do have duck, which seems a bit rarer than usual. (Then again, maybe I don't go to the right places.) They also have ogyeopsal (5-layer pork belly) which, I believe, is like the usual samgyeopsal (3-layer pork belly) but with an extra layer of fat and the skin. Then again, they also have "marinated fatty pork skin" which sort of moves one to the good stuff in my mind.

Duck and pork skin sounds like a good dinner to me!

We had duck at Honey Pig (Centreville location) last night, so maybe it is becoming trendy. It was good, but the spouse and I both agreed that the duck flavor was largely lost with the preparation.

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No better place to ask a few random questions like this thread....

I note that To Sok Jip and Gom Ba Woo share the same parking lot, more or less....I haven't been to Go Ba Woo yet, but the two restaurants share the top spots in the Dining Guide. Which leads me to wonder, is it a good idea to order the specialty of the house at both places and have a progressive, mobile meal....if so, what would you order at each place? Does Gom Ba Woo serve alcohol...?

Also, I was gifted a LivingSocial coupon for Honey Pig Izakaya in Annandale. Do I stick to the table barbecue or is it worthwhile to roam the menu there?

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No better place to ask a few random questions like this thread....

I note that To Sok Jip and Gom Ba Woo share the same parking lot, more or less....I haven't been to Go Ba Woo yet, but the two restaurants share the top spots in the Dining Guide. Which leads me to wonder, is it a good idea to order the specialty of the house at both places and have a progressive, mobile meal....if so, what would you order at each place? Does Gom Ba Woo serve alcohol...?

Also, I was gifted a LivingSocial coupon for Honey Pig Izakaya in Annandale. Do I stick to the table barbecue or is it worthwhile to roam the menu there?

To Sok Jip and Gom Ba Woo are on opposite sides of Columbia Pike, but are very walkable. I don't think it's the best idea to have a progressive meal at homestyle Korean restaurants - the format lends itself to an entire meal (the panchan, for example). Yes, it can be done, but it might be odd. Okay, that said, if you do, I can recommend the Haemool Pajun (seafood pancake) and an order of braised or fried fish at To Sok Jip (I got grilled mackerel once and it was *extremely* oily - they painted it with oil), and the Kimchi Jae Yook Bokkum (stir-fried kimchi with pork) at Gom Ba Woo (which does serve alcohol).

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Another new restaurant is Kogiya which is yet another barbecue place....

Looking at their menu it's fairly standard stuff, though they do have duck, which seems a bit rarer than usual...

We had duck at Honey Pig (Centreville location) last night, so maybe it is becoming trendy. It was good, but the spouse and I both agreed that the duck flavor was largely lost with the preparation.

I'd be curious to try duck in a Korean restaurant but can see how the duck flavor could be lost as PollyG says. Kogiya's website and menu are very English-friendly. I'd be up for trying this place if anyone is interested.

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To Sok Jip and Gom Ba Woo are on opposite sides of Columbia Pike, but are very walkable.

Actually, To Sok Jip and Gom Ba Woo are on the same parking lot. Gom Ba Woo is beside the grocery store on one side of the parking lot and To Sok Jip is directly across the parking lot and in front of the grocery store.

If you really wanted to do a mobile Korean dinner, I'd suggest the Haemool Paejon as Don suggested along with the mandoo at Gom Ba Woo and then the Belt fish and Chicken soup with noodles (Kall Guk Soo) at To Sok Jip.

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We live a couple of miles from Annandale, less than that from Seven Corners. We need to find a Korean restaurant nearby. Yeah, I know, not exactly hard. But we have specific needs:

- Good barbecue

- Good panchan

- Not too loud (not a dealbreaker)

and most importantly

- easy to get into without reservations or waiting

We used to have that in Han Sung Oak. We ate there fairly regularly. The food was always good, service adequate but friendly, ambience non-existent. And we never had to wait for a table. Last-minute plans were easy - from our front door to a table in less than seven minutes.

Now that they're gone, we've tried a few other places. Some good, some disappointing. Always a wait, sometimes a very long wait. And even if the food is worth it, sometimes we just want a decent neighborhood restaurant where we can drop in on a whim with no effort.

Any suggestions?

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Have you tried Nakwon?  Usually no wait time, and if there is one, pretty short.  I highly recommend the Kalbi (ask them to cook table side vs. kitchen) and pork belly BBQ.

If you have the patience, I would recommend Ju Mak Jib, but don't expect good service.  The service is painful, but many Koreans, in spite of quite of bit of price difference between other Korean restos, for example, $22 for order of pork belly at Jumak vs. $15 at others, go because of high quality and fidelity to how ban chan is at home.  For some, the wait, pain in the XXX service may be a turn off, but I still see myself nursing my soju as i get my first banchan 30 minutes after being seating on a biweekly basis.  :  )

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I understand what it is, and have been to other similar places in Annandale, just wondering how they compare.  Is this better than the old stalwarts or is something similar better?

My question is more general: Are there *any* Korean sushi spots in Annandale that are worth trying? I know of none, and suspect every bite of fish you take has been deep-frozen. I don't know this for a fact, but based on extensive personal experience (don't forget, I lived in Annandale for several years - China Star carryout when Peter Chang cooked there was a one-mile drive).

[Note in advance: If the question is answered with a single restaurant, the post will probably be moved into that restaurant's thread in order to give it some positive publicity. If you want it to remain here, post about two-or-more restaurants, but I'll be surprised if you find them. :)]

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