Cheap Eats 2015: Moa

Where we go for shareable, flavorful Korean food.
Moa in Rockville. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Long, picnic-style tables aren’t just laden with food at Moa—they practically sing. Marinated beef ribs and onions sizzle in their skillet, a cauldron of heady fishcake soup bubbles long after arrival, and a hot-pot casserole of tender pork ribs, rice cakes, and kimchee keeps an ebullient tempo thanks to the blazing flame beneath. The chorus isn’t all show. Flavors are lively, as is presentation: A waitress plucks a full head of pickled napa cabbage from the aforementioned stew, snips it with shears into bite-size ribbons, and apportions the soup among individual bowls. The spicy house condiment—a blend of soy, toasted chilies, scallion, and sesame—matches the vibrance and should be liberally used. Like the shareable dishes, cocktail carafes of soju blended with fresh watermelon purées can easily serve two, making the seemingly steep prices fairly tame. The one dull element: an industrial-park setting surrounded by auto-repair shops.

Cuisine: Korean

Where you can get it: 12300 Wilkins Ave., Rockville; 301-881-8880

Also good: Mandu (dumplings); seafood pancake; bibim bap.

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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 Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.