Why You Should Go: This is one of the most popular restaurants in Annandale, and the line will be out the door on most nights.
Yechon has special menu sets where you can get marinated beef or grilled fish with a ton of different side dishes, dumplings and soups included. If you try the special menu, you will not go away hungry. It’s so delicious and so much variety. I recommend picking one set with Korean-style grilled fish.
This menu set is the closest you can get to something authentic you would eat at a traditional restaurant in South Korea. I searched for a long time in the US to find the same combination of small plates I used to eat in Seoul and Daegu, and Yechon replicates the taste very well.
Other dishes include casserole stews, spicy and mild bubbling hot soups, rice cake soup called mandu kuk (만두국), and haemul dolsot bibimbap (해물돌솥) which is a bed of rice with different vegetables, shrimp, mussels that you mix together with a fried egg in an hot stone bowl.
Phone: (703) 914-4646
Address: 4121 Hummer Rd, Annandale, VA 22003
Why You Should Go: Their hot stews and soups are some of the best in the area. The Washington Post recently reviewed Tosokchon and called their tofu stew “grace.”
I love Tosokchon’s sundae soup, (No.17 Sundae Guk 순대국) which has Korean sausage in a clear broth with rice cake and green onion. It has a mild flavor and tastes delicious with a side of kimchi. You can roll the Korean sausage in a tiny bit of salt they provide you and it tastes so good.
Fair warning that the waitresses probably will not speak much English or explain in detail how to eat the food if you are unfamiliar with Korean dishes. Take the advice from the Washington Post reviewer and observe other Korean people eating and do what they do. The menu has pictures so you can tell if the dish is spicy or not because of the red pepper.
I love to come here when it’s winter. The soups from Tosokchon will warm you up and you will walk away feeling full and content.
Phone: (703) 333-3400
Address: 7031 Little River Turnpike #21D, Annandale, VA 22003
Why You Should Go: If you love sashimi or sushi, you will not regret going to Soju Sarang. Sashimi dishes are carefully laid out on large plates, sometimes with abalone. The sashimi combo comes with lots of delicious side dishes like grilled mushroom, gochujang broccoli, sesame kale, seasoned mashed potatoes, and Korean-style cheesy corn.
I have been to Soju Sarang both on dates and once as a very Asian Thanksgiving meal with my Korean in-laws. It always feels like a procession of small plates that surprise you. Come prepared to eat a lot, because the sets have a variety of different dishes leading up to the sashimi plate. Really yummy and worth going for a very special anniversary or birthday dinner.
Phone: (703) 256-3565
Address: 4231 Markham St, Suite E, Annandale, VA 22003
Siroo Juk Story Tea and Cafe
Why You Should Go: After eating out in Annandale, head to Siroo Juk Story Tea and Cafe for some traditional Korean dessert. They have the best shaved ice, or bingsu (빙수), in Annandale.
The ice is so finely shaved it melts like you just ate falling snowflakes, and the fruit toppings are always fresh.
Bingsu is a popular summer treat in Korea, and I used to eat it regularly with friends in Daegu. Sometimes Korean cafes will top it with ice cream, but Siroo Juk uses finely shaved ice and condensed milk, which gives it a distinct flavor. It tastes like something you could have eaten in Korea in the early 1800s with an old time ice shaver.
I recommend getting either the Strawberry Bingsu or the BerryBerry Bingsu.
Strawberry Bingsu has an Instagram-worthy strawberry topping while Berry Berry Bingsu has blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and kiwi. You can choose the shaved ice to be regular “snow” or green tea flavored “green.” It is topped with your choice of fruit along with mochi rice cakes and crunchy cereal.
Other flavors include “gold” red bean, matcha green tea, coffee, chocolate, and mango.
Phone: 703) 354-5488
Address: 4231 Markham St, Annandale, VA 22003