I’ve been doing a ton of guide reels on @nomtasticdc, and I recently shared one featuring lesser known Korean restaurants in the DMV. Instagram captions have character limits so I wanted to do a full post to share more info with you guys. This is probably the first of many to come so stay tuned for more coming your way!
1. Myung Ga
This is my FAVORITE place to get kimbap in the DMV. Their original location’s in Fairfax, but they recently opened a second brick and mortar in Centreville. They have all kinds of proteins available – and I’ve tried almost every option – but my favorite’s their beef and kimchi.
2. Rainbow Catering
Rainbow Catering is the epitome of hidden gem. Located at 7326-B Little River Turnpike in Annandale, Virginia, this unassuming spot’s located in a small strip mall next to a Korean hair salon.
I actually found out about this place thanks to my hair stylist. I’d get a cut then hit up Rainbow for food afterwards. Their wang mandu (king dumplings) are THE BEST, but they sell everything from banchan to dduk so go wild, friends.
3. Da Rae Won
Their jjajangmyun is stupid delicious, like it’s obscene how good their noodz are! They’re located in Beltsville, MD, and my biggest fear is that the owners are going to retire and close the restaurant, lol. For those of you unfamiliar with jjajangmyun, it’s a Korean-Chinese staple; noodles in a delicious black bean sauce with ground meat and other vegetables.
If you dine in, chances are you’ll hear a bunch of loud, slapping noises – that’s the chef making your noodles fresh in the kitchen! Music to my ears, haha. And make sure you get an order of their fried dumplings and tangsuyuk as well. Anddd you’re welcome in advance.
4. La Boulangerie
Located across the street from the Lotte Plaza in Ellicott City, La Boulangerie’s easily one of my favorite Korean bakeries in the DMV. I’m convinced they have the best chapssalteok (korean rice cakes stuffed with red bean) in the area, but I also love their red bean buns and soboro (Korean streusel bread). A definite must the next time you visit EC!
5. Seoul Soondae
Korean blood sausage FTW! Soondae’s one of my favorite snacks, and they do it so well here. This is yet another spot my parents and I frequent when they visit!
I like to get their soondae guk (blood sausage soup), and it’s a combo so it comes with a side of soondae and sliced liver. You dip everything in their delicious salt blend and enjoy! I absolutely love the texture, and it’s something that I find extremely comforting and nostalgic.
6. Meokja Meokja
For those of you looking for awesome KBBQ, you gotta head to Fairfax and enjoy the deliciousness that is Meokja Meokja. You can get combos, but it’s not AYCE… which is actually a good thing IMO. The quality’s solid, and their banchan’s delicious. I really like their kalbi, but their samgyupsal’s (pork belly) always a favorite – always so thick and succulent.
7. Choongman Chicken
If you follow me, you already know that I think Mandu and Anju do some of the best (if not THE best) Korean fried chicken in the DMV. With that said, Choongman Chicken also has fire wings as well, and I love their garlic soy and snow onion flavors. They fry their wings and then bake ’em to get rid of excess grease so you’re left with crispy magic. Kochix is also another solid KFC option in DC as well so go and get some. Life’s short so eat all the things!
8. Ssong’s Hotdog
Apparently, Korean hotdogs are going to be huge this year? Whether that’s true or not, you need to get to Ssong’s ASAP because their food is the bomb.com. They have locations in Bethesda, Columbia, and Towson, and their menu’s are the same at each location so go wherever’s closest. I have a soft soft for these treats since I grew up enjoying them as a kid, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love these as well.
The owner, Josh, takes a lot of pride in the quality of his food. Their potato mozz or potato sausage stick are my favorites, but there’s a lot to choose from. Think spicy sausage, crab stick, seaweed rolls, and more. I haven’t had a chance to try their tornado potato yet, but that’s on my list as well!
My lovely friend Valerie Hammer recommended this place to me, and I’m so glad I took her advice. Located in Rockville, my go-to order their is their boodae jeongol (army stew) + bossam combo.
I’m not sure if they still offer that, but this gem’s worth a visit regardless. Army stew is ideal for wintertime, and if you haven’t had it yet, it’s a spicy soup with basically everything that’s tasty in life. They make theirs with ramen noodz, sausage, ham, rice cakes, bacon and more. Nom.
10. Lighthouse Tofu
I’ve always been a fan of soondoobu, and I’ve loved Lighthouse for so long. My cousin lives in Fairfax so we’ve gone for years now, but I also used to frequent the one in NJ and NYC’s K-town as well. My go-to’s the mushroom or kimchi & beef, and I would ask them to make it ungodly spicy because I’m low key crazy.
The soup’s served with an array of banchan, rice and a raw egg. You add said egg into your stew while it’s bubbling, and it’s just the best thing ever. Just go and experience it. I promise you’ll love it. Maybe don’t ask for an ungodly amount of spice though… unless you think you can handle it, haha.
Alright friends, I hope you enjoyed my latest post! I could honestly write a freakin’ book on Korean food in the DMV area, but I’ll stop for today. We’re so spoiled here – there’s so much good food to choose from, and I’m excited to share more with y’all. Maybe keep an eye out for part 2? We’ll see. Until then, make sure to check out my food tab for more!