Cheap Eats 2010: Gom Ba Woo

100 places that offer great food at low prices.

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.

>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.