When the Koreans say spicy, they mean it, especially with the soups and hot pots. Korean food has an aesthetic which is raw, cold, and bare. I prize it highly. The accompanying vegetables are always excellent. The Kimchee (pickled cabbage with chilies) is an acquired taste, but that taste should definitely be acquired.
Beginners should try the Bul-Gogi. I often order the Korean Pancake. Bibim-Bansang (the spelling or transliteration may vary!) is a combination of rice, vegetables, beef, egg, and spicy brown sauce; it must be mixed together by the patron. A Korean specialty, and one of the treats at any Korean place. The seafood and bean pancakes are usually excellent as well. Korean stews, however, can sometimes be too sharp, too soggy, and too full of bizarre kinds of seafood and tripe. Some are excellent, but you should know what you are doing if you order one.
Korean restaurants in this area are remarkably consistent; there are few bad ones. I’m always looking for the perfect Bibim Bap, I will let you know when I find it, in the meantime I remain searching.
- Korean Restaurants in Washington DC Area – from Korean DC
- “Korean Restaurants: Barbecue and Beyond,” The Washington Post, July 28, 2005
- “Seoul Food,” by John Feffer, Washingtonian, April 2003
- “Opening the Door to Koreatown: From Kimchi to Karaoke, 28 Great Reasons to Head to Annandale,” by Walter Nicholls, The Washington Post, September 20, 2000
- Korean Restaurants – on DonRockwell