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Best korean food?

bulgogi, kimchi, mandu, bibimbap — hot and spicy and sweet and savory...where is the best? I've been to woo lae oak, which was so-so — OK to satisfy a craving but all in all not worth the trip to tyson's. I've heard of course that annandale's got it going on but don't know specifics of where to go. Places in DC/NOVA are a plus.

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  1. Haven't been and can't remember the name, but have heard and read good things about the Korean place in Fairfax. It's in the Circuit City/Pier One shopping center at the corner of Rt. 50 and Waples Mill.

    1. I love Hee Been. Right off 359 and little river turnpike. I am definitely NOT a buffet person, but this was really really good.

      1. Honey pig for BBQ
        Yechon for more cooked dishes
        Yet Gol in Wheaton for Myul Naeng, seafood pancake, seoul long tang, soon du bu
        Da Rae Won for Korean Chinese which is a hoot and a half. Nothing like Chinese really but really good. Sweet and sour that is really both, hand pulled noodles (jaja mein), sizzling rice seafood, shredded salad. Go with a big group
        Gom Ba Woo for soups. Supposed to have great mandoo dumpling soup.
        Il Mee for buffet, better bbq and sushi than Hee Bin and lots cheaper too. I stay away from the pre cooked food at the various buffets, concentrating on the cold dishes, the bbq and Korean style sushi wich is more colorful, more decorated and sauced up. Il Mee has both soy bean paste stew and kim chee chigae which are stews. You take them to your table and the waitress takes them to the kitchen and they return bubbling hot.
        Gamalsot for Seoul Long Tang
        Lighthouse tofu in Rockville for soon du bu (Tofu seafood stew) and good seafood pancake

        6 Replies
        1. re: deangold

          deangold hit my two favorites which happen to be next to each other in Annandale. Personally I like Gom Ba Woo for everything. There's no "make it at your table" burner, but when it comes out its fantastic. Everything I've had there is good, super friendly. The other, Lighthouse Tofu, which also has a location in annandale, is one of my favorite cold weather soups.

          1. re: deangold

            What about bibimbap? I am craving it for lunch today.

            1. re: sekelmaan

              The bibimbap at Gamalsot in Springfield is very good. They have cheap lunch specials there.

              1. re: Steve

                Thanks. I wasn't sure. I just had the soup there.

              2. re: sekelmaan

                Keep in mind that there are two different styles of bibimbap. If the dish name includes the word dosot (or dosol, depending on who transliterated the menu), it will be served in a blazing hot stone bowl, which will make the rice on the bottom very crispy. Yechon in Annandale makes a pretty credible bibimbap and has several options for toppings.

              3. re: deangold

                Honey Pig for BBQ for sure. Went there with a Korean lady, and we gorged ourselves at dinnertime for less than thirty bucks.

              4. Not in exactly in NOVA or DC, but I think Baltimore has some of the best Korean food in the area. Located in Baltimore's "Little Koreatown," Jonga Kak rivals any Los Angeles Korea Town eatery. The BBQ is excellent as well is my favorite winter day Duk Mandu Guk.

                1. Vit Goel (aka Lighthouse Tofu) specializes in soon doo boo. My favorite Korean meal in the area. I also think the Kalbi is excellent. Bulgogi is only ok, but still better than most. Very limited menu, go for the spiciest version. They have a location in Annandale. This would be my first stop.

                  Gom Ba Woo has wonderful ji-gae and a simmered beef dish that you wrap in lettuce. Sublime. Also Annandale.

                  Yechon is open 24 hours, is extremely popular, has a huge menu, and probably is the best place for overall eatin'.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Steve

                    I always enjoy Woomie Garden in Wheaton MD. It is always crowded with large groups of asians. food is always good

                      1. re: elgringoviejo

                        I just had their udon soup special at lunch for $8.00 and it was really good. Man Du Guk is $9 at lunch and is as good as anywhere

                        1. re: deangold

                          I haven't been to Woomi for the past couple of years because the service I received there is always horrible. I mean horrible. Rude, condescending, inefficient, absent-minded, the whole nine yards. Many of my English-speaking Korean-American friends have felt the same way and vowed never to return. Does anyone know if this has improved?

                          1. re: ineemeeny

                            I was in your camp and had a very strong argument with the owners/manager and was not back for over a year. Even though they apologized, they never once acknowledged the problem. In three recent visit, the service was good if not warm. Enough that I do go for the lunch specials or the buffet occasionally.

                          2. re: deangold

                            Thanks for the report, deangold. Good to hear that service has improved!

                            1. re: ineemeeny

                              Let me be clear, for s ervice I'd go to Honey Pig or Odgadgib hands down. Ill Mee even. But since its on my way to the restaurant and good at lunch, I go. The waits and bussers are friendly but the management is still a little stiff but not off putting as they were for a while.

                    1. There used to be a fabulous place in the midst of the GWU campus in NW....for the life of me I don't recall the name or the street but it was on the street level of a townhouse.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: intrepidone

                        Maybe you are thinking of the very downscale DJ's Fastbreak: burgers, hot dogs, bibimbap, tofu jigae. It was $5 bowls, very plentiful and cheap and spicy. They had about 12 different sauce variations they would dump over their microwaved noodles, dumplings, and tofu. If you worked in the area, it was a haven. It is no more.

                      2. Ichiban in Gaithersburg.