Why go: Amid the all-you-can-eat buffets, barbecue joints, and soup parlors that animate Annandale’s Koreatown, this cozy cafe seems bland by comparison, lacking the charge of its competitors. But it serves up the strongest package: quality, freshness, and value with a warm and gracious smile.
What to get: Steamed dumplings called mandu; the area’s best seafood pancake, a light frittata veined with green onions and studded with shrimp and octopus; spicy pork-belly barbecue; soondubu, a thick, red-pepper soup with a cracked egg; sul leung tang, a broth derived from beef shin bones and festooned with rice cakes, drizzled egg, and strips of beef.
Best for: A good introduction to the gastronomic glories of Koreatown.
Insider tip: Forgo dessert and head to the nearby Shilla Bakery (7039 Little River Tpk., Annandale; 703-333-2001) for marvelous crullers, sugar-topped doughnuts, and strong coffee.
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