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Best Korean Places in Annandale?

Any suggestions? I have yet to explore this area but love Korean food and have been told that there are many Korean restaurants in that town. Rather than go by trial and error, I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas on where to begin. Also, are there asian grocery stores in the area? Any recommendations would be appreciated, thanks!

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  1. Let's begin with the grocery stores: Grand Mart and Super H are the biggest, each with multiple locations and much to recommend them. I tried the newish Ara in K-Mart Plaza, Annandale, and liked it a lot. (You gotta love an Asian grocery next to a 100%-Hello-Kitty store).

    Each of the Annandale Korean places has its strengths and weaknesses, its fans and detractors.

    A&J on Markham Street (Rd?) has wonderful noodles and dumplings.

    Vit Goel ("Lighthouse") has the awesomest Soon Dubu I've tried (try "extra hot" around the time they open, 10am ... the rest of your day will be very interesting).

    Yechon is a 24-hour popular-with-Koreans wonder

    I like Il Mee for its lunch buffet (cheaper without the tableside grill, which I'm tired of just about everywhere)

    See this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585861

    1 Reply
    1. re: wayne keyser

      I concur.

      Yechon has a very big menu and is very good across the board.

      Vit Goel has a tiny, specialized menu and has my favorite dish as Wayne said.

      The only thing I'll add is that Gom Ba Woo is another small place with very good ji-gae.

    2. For all around, Yechon is a good choice. their lunch specials are superb. A bowl of cold noodles and bbq rib LA style are around 12 at lunch. But there is somewhere else to go to get almost everything else that is better, but I think no one deos as much as well, especially the banchan.

      Honey pig for BBQ. No comparison anywhere else. Tyler Cowan likes the place with the yellow sign with the cow on it and no English name but its not in the same category at all IMO. Pork Neck #33 is meatier and fattier all at once than the thinck belly #1. The brisket is superb and the chu pan is amazing. Banchan are just OK

      Oe Gad Jib has Dong Dong Ju which is Korean moonshine. I ave been told that you take water, rice and set it in a worm corner till it stops bubbling to make it. While they do an all you can eat stoneware BBQ, I am a fan of their soups and stews more. Kay gets the ginseng chicken soup and I have had both the Man Doo Guk and the Pork & Potato. Great if incredibly large Bossam.

      Vit Goel as mentioned for Soon Du Bu.

      Il Mee for the sushi and BBQ parts of the buffet. The cooked food is no beter than any other buffet. They ahve bowls of soon du bu or pork that they will cook for you. The pork comes in soy bean broth. The cinnamon punch for dessert in great and their sushi is pretty good, especially at 11:30 when it is all fresh. Great Kim Chee and other pickles.

      Not a fan of Hee Bin. I think Il Mee is just as good for a lot less.

      I have only been to Gom Ba Woo once on my own and the Mandoo Guk was very good except the Mandoo themselves were flavorless.

      Gamalsot is supposed to be great Seoul Long Tang but I prefer Yet Gol in Wheaton's version as the broth is brothier, less viscous.

      1. A&J is northern Chinese, not Korean, but a great place; we eat there at least once a month.

        For Korean, the Ara restaurant on Little River Turnpike katty-corner from the Kmart plaza has become a big lunch-time hit for our family. They have an extensive lunch special menu, primarily soups, but with some grilled fish and noodle dishes too. It turns into a loud night club in the evenings, so we've never been there at night. By lunch, it is largely empty and a pleasant space. This weekend's discovery on their menu was that they have added jajang noodles, much to my daughter's delight. The advertised house-made "noddles" were thin, rather than the thick hand-pulled variety we enjoyed in Seoul, but the potato, onion, and black bean topping was the real deal and very good. (Jajang mien is a Korean take on a Chinese standard of pork and vegetables in bean sauce on noodles; A&J serves what I believe is the actual Chinese dish for comparison.)

        Everyone else has also given good recommendations. Annandale is full of solid Korean restaurants, each with its own specialties. The only real disappointment I've had is the Korean-Chinese place near Duck Changs and the pet store (across LRT from K-mart), where we found the jajang mien to be a sad mockery of what we had experienced in Korea.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PollyG

          A&J is definitely Northern Chinese, Manchurian possibly, definitely north of Beijing food. I went there with a Cantonese girlfriend of mine who grew up in NoVAn and has passable Mandarin. She knows all the places to eat around here. The dan-dan noodles at A&J are awesome.

          1. re: dc_food_lover

            It's definitely not Manchurian, but generic northern Chinese where the emphasis is on wheat based food such as noodles and breads, though they do have rice dishes.

            1. re: dpan

              FYI: A&J serves one version of congee (rice porridge) and serves only thee dishes (like pork chop) that come with rice, but none are truly a rice dish. All the other dishes have no rice and if you want rice, they will charge for it.

              Menu link:
              http://www.dc495.com/wiki/index.php?t...

        2. Recommend trying Dduk Sarang for Korean porridge - the tuna and veg one is delish! To see pictures of the Korean porridge, visit the link below:
          http://geeksqueek.blogspot.com/2008/1...

          Also, the tofu dish at Tofu House ROCKS! I tried to search out the address for you, but had little luck. It's in the same center as the Giant grocery store and Gom Ba Woo (which is also good Korean food!

          )

          -----
          Dduk Sarang
          4231 Markham St, Annandale, VA

          Gom Ba Woo Restaurant
          7133 Columbia Pike, C Annandale, VA

            1. re: chaofun

              Hi Everyone,

              Thank you so much (!!!) I am so excited to try these places, especially the 24 hour place, Yechon, for those nights when I don't manage to get home until quite late and everything else is closed for food. Thank you also for the addresses, I am horribly directionally challenged, so this helps a lot. :) Where I went to undergraduate, there was a tiny Korean grocery store more or less on campus that had ready-made food, including kim bap, which was to die for. I was just visiting Boston 'x' months ago and had to squeeze in a visit to the campus and to that exact store. I miss it dearly, hopefully I will find that at one of the grocery stores mentioned above. I have always found it hard to find them in restaurants, for whatever reason.

              Totally on a side note - has anyone been to the seafood market on Maine street . (Is that correct, how I phrased that?) I was watching glimpses of "No Reservations" the other night, and they had visited there. Just curious.

              Oh, sorry, another question...is parking relatively or moderately easy in Annandale? Thank you so much (!!!) again, sincerely

              1. re: Lucky Basil

                There's plenty of parking in Annandale. No need to worry about that. If you're used to the Boston Korean food scene, you will be astounded by the options in Annandale!

            2. Not really had bad korean food in Annandale. Even the average place is pretty good.

              Beyond what has been metioned Seoul Soon Dae and To Sok Jip are two great choices. Also try the new korean place (cannot remember the name) where HR Ribster used to be (right next to washington sports and health).

              4 Replies
              1. re: Soup

                I have been to the Seoul Soon Dae in Rockville and love the blood sausage. I always get funny looks and "Are you sure you want that?" looks when I order it. I have seen a lot of folk eathjing a hearty looking stew/soup at lunch that I cannot figure out from the menu. I have yet to just ask someone "What is that?"

                Another great non Annandale spot for Korean is Da Rae Won for Korean Chinese. The special appetizer dish (shreds of lots of different stuff with a warm stir fry in the center and rice noodles) and the sizzling rice seafood are both great, the best mad doo (fried) and incredible chicken wings. The JaJa Mein is really good but I prefer the spicy seafoos soup with the hand pulled noodles.

                1. re: deangold

                  Hi Everyone,

                  These reviews have been very helpful in my search for the best Korean food. However, there is one place I went to last year with an ex-friend of mine, but I can't remember the name. It was a Korean restaurant located in the basement of a tall office building. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I think it is known for their BBQ, but I had their Ja Jang Myeon and it was fantastic! They gave you large portions at a very reasonable price. I would appreciate any guesses on the name or address of this restaurant. I am dying to go back!!! Thank you:)

                  1. re: EverythingKorean

                    The place used to be called Lunch Time. Not sure what the korean name is. This is the high rise right behind yea chun. The place specializes in korean chinese. Decent place used to be know for hand pulled noodles. Their Ja Jang Mien is what was good but they stopped pulling the noodles by hand a few years back. Never had BBQ there.

                    If you want good BBQ Jung Da gam (hope I got the name right) in the parking lot of Giant in annandale is good. Han song oak is also good. I hate to say this but woo lee oak quality of meat is good. Haven't been to han gang yet.

                  2. re: deangold

                    Agreed. The rockville and annandale is pretty similar.

                    Soon Dae is a great rendition of blood susage The soup is also excellent. Also like the pork belly with oyster dressing, and the slice pork hocks. Just a great place when the wether gets cold.

                2. *Bump*

                  Friends who are Korean will be in town and want to take us out to dinner in Annandale this weekend. (They regularly take my husband out to dinner at Korean restaurants in LA when he's there on business and he has talked about DC's Koreantown.) After reading this year-old thread, I can't come to a conclusion about where to eat.

                  I assume that the new smoking regulations in VA has eliminated the cautions about smoking being allowed at Honey Pig. However, the sound levels mentioned in the WAPO review make this seem like the wrong choice for this event.

                  What one restaurant will combine good food and a pleasant atmosphere (doesn't have to be fancy) with noise levels that will allow for easy conversation?

                  Thanks!

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: Indy 67

                    Han Gang, make sure you get the #1 galbi and order the #10 pork spicy. An elegant place, this is as good as it gets for kbbq.

                    1. re: Steve

                      seconded. And for the ladies, bring a wrap or a sweater. The ventilation system works very well but it can get quite chilly as a result.

                      1. re: weezycom

                        Steve and Weezycom,

                        Thanks for the help.

                      2. re: Steve

                        This would be my choice, too. I think it's the most elegant with good food.

                        1. re: chowser

                          I'll be moving from DC to Milwaukee next month, but friends are taking me lunch at Jang Won on Braddock Rd in Centreville in about ten days. I saw references in a review to a Jang Won in Annendale. Is this the same restaurant in a new location? If you have been there, do you have any recommendations.

                          1. re: Father Kitchen

                            Sorry, I haven't been to either. That's a good location in Centreville--some good little places.

                            1. re: chowser

                              I'll let you know after lunch next week.

                              1. re: Father Kitchen

                                Bumping up to ask for specific Korean-Chinese restaurants in Annandale. I was reading about "Jang Won" on Yelp. Is this the go-to spot for Korean-Chinese? Any other recommendations? Thanks in advanced!

                                // start mini-rant

                                Also, I had recently taken a trip to Yechon and I absolutely HATED IT. I wanted to like it so badly, but the food was cold, salty, and "soulless". Despite that, the place was packed to the brim. What gives? This can't be the best of Korean food in Annandale? Was this a one-off? I ordered all the standard dishes (BBQ, Jigae, Hameul Pajun/Seafood Pancake).

                                I'm Korean-American and I'm from Queens. This isn't me being a biased New Yorker, as I would take any type of Korean food that I can get in this part of the country.

                                // end rant

                                -----
                                Yechon Restaurant
                                4121 Hummer Rd, Annandale, VA 22003

                                1. re: Linda

                                  I too was a tad disappointed in my one visit to Yechon, but I chalked it up to being spoiled by having my base line for Korean in LA. I didn't hate it or even dislike it though, just thought it was merely "above-average", which is higher than any praise for my limited exposure to DC Korean thus far.

                                  -----
                                  Yechon Restaurant
                                  4121 Hummer Rd, Annandale, VA 22003

                                  1. re: mdpilam

                                    To be honest, I've not come across anything as good as the better places in LA or NY in annandale. What I wouldn't wish for 3 speciality places: a real BBQ place( with charcoal and great quality meat), kal guk soo, and a nang myun place.

                                    Yeachon is easy and pretty solid but I've noticed that the banchan hasn't been as good. I've been going to Nak Won lately and it is a solid place. Some of their dishes are really good.

                                    I have 3 places that I like right now (Not in any specific order): Nak Won, To Sok Jip and Goh Yang Jip (chantilly).

                                    There are a lot of koreans in NOVA. Where are they eating? I ask the question because most of the places seem to cater to koreans and they are just above average. Nothing spectacular.

                                    1. re: Soup

                                      Where is Nak Won? CH linked to a place in Baltimore. Is Goh Yang Jip the soup-only place in Chantilly in the same plaza as the big spa? If so, we've had some very nice meals there. The spouse is crazy about the pork neck-bone soup.

                                      -----
                                      Nak Won Restaurant
                                      12 W 20th St, Baltimore, MD 21218

                                      1. re: PollyG

                                        PollyG

                                        NakWon is right across the street from the korean french bakery (Le Matin de Paris) in annandale. Nak Won is better know for their Duk (it is primarily a Duk Jip/house). They also do catering which I've used and they were solid. They have a small hole in the wall resteraunt right next door to the Duk house/catering operation.

                                        As for Goh Yang Jip (see below - my bad spelling), if you want prok neck-bone soup, this is the place to go. The best I've had in the states and better than most places I've been to in Seoul.

                                        Koo Hyang House‎
                                        4265 Brookfield Corporate Drive
                                        Chantilly, VA 20151-1696
                                        (703) 378-0105

                                        really really good korean.

                                  2. re: Linda

                                    I don't think any one Korean restaurant in Annandale does EVERYTHING well. Each has their specialty. I prefer Oegadgib over Yechon for Korean BBQ, for soup I like Gom ba woo, etc. You will determine your favorites the more you try, but the good thing is that there is some variety here.

                                    -----
                                    Yechon Restaurant
                                    4121 Hummer Rd, Annandale, VA 22003

                                    1. re: Linda

                                      Maybe it's going downhill? SInce it's open 24 hours, it is a popular gathering spot, usually more crowded late at night.

                                      The best pajun I've had in the area was at Yechon, but that was a long time ago.

                                      I abhor all the Korean-Chinese food I've had in DC, so good luck if you find any.

                                      Get the soon dubu at Vit Goel. I like the seafood/pork combo at the highest spice level.

                        2. Then there is this place, as detailed by Tyler Cowen. Has anyone else been or heard about it?

                          Bang Ga Nae, 6499 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA, 703-941-2722

                          Located in the little house where the North Korean place (Pyongyang Soondae) used to be. Now they specialize in goat dishes, done three ways, spicy or not. Soft, tender, and juicy meat, try it even if you don’t like goat. Goes with excellent greens, and good cold vegetables with the meal, especially the tofu. At the end they pour some rice into the simmering sauce, pour in some black sesame seeds, and pour in some extra spices to make a Korean fried rice dish which is one of the area’s best, very theatrical too. The goat is first-rate and overall this place is highly original. The menu is short but they also serve Cornish hen stuffed with rice, a cod dish, pressure-cooked pork feet, and seafood pancake. The service is also good and mostly they speak decent English. Right now this is probably the best “specialty” restaurant in the Korean section of Annandale.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Steve

                            I love Bang Ga Nae. I go there quite regularly. I've never had Korean goat stew or the Cornish hen dish before this place. Now, we crave it. It really is worth a try. The new owner has also expanded the menu to include more standard dishes like bulgolgi and kalbi. The menu used to have only about 10 items.

                          2. Thanks, everyone. I've moved to Milwaukee, and I already miss the Korean-style Chinese food. A relative of mine married an Indian who cooks Indian-style Chinese food. Fusion happens everywhere, and we are often better off for it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Father Kitchen

                              I have a relative coming into town who wants to go for Korean, but that is not my area of expertise. I have been reading the great suggestions in this string, so I know there are a lot of people out there who know way more than I do—are there good places more toward Tyson’s Corner or Falls Church? The only place I know from actual experience over there is Woo Lae Oak. I’d love to get a sense of the real depth and breadth. Please help!

                              -----
                              Woo Lae Oak
                              8240 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182