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Entries Tagged as 'Korean Cuisine'

So Gong Dong

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I’m so excited about all these new Korean places that are popping up all over my food ‘hood of Duluth and Suwanee. SGD is a tofu soup chain with outlets in Jersey and Chicago. If you don’t already know yet, every Korean restaurant specializes in just one thing or two. Here, it’s soondubu. And it’s delicious.

Unusual but cool that you get a choice of ramen or rice with your soup order. Located in the same plaza as Assi in Suwannee. Not to be confused with So Kong Dong on BuHi.

So Gong Dong Tofu & BBQ
1291 Old Peachtree Rd NW
Suite 404
Suwanee, GA 30024
(678) 584-1488


Seo Ra Beol

Seo Ra Beol
It’s a stand alone building. The name of the restaurant isn’t in English.

Being an Atlanta native, I know the history of food in the city more than most. Because this is the only blog you’ll see that kind of information, I make it a point to include some of that history in almost all my posts. By now you should also already know I love Korean food. I’ve eaten so much of it everywhere. I’ve eaten at almost all the Korean places in metro Atlanta. We used to go to this one and only Korean place in Georgia located in downtown Atlanta when I was in elementary all the time. That’s when I decided Korean was going to be my favorite cuisine.

Seo Ra Beol

Tofu 88 on Buford Highway was the Asian Waffle House. It was open 24 hours and served cheap and good eats. It was the place to study on the weekends when most college libraries and coffee shops are already closed. It was also the only place to get the most amazing Pork Kimchi fried rice on the planet. It closed three years ago. Right next door to it was the most awesome Mandarin restaurant that was an Atlanta institution for the non-Cantonese Chinese community and has been around before I was even born. I remember going there regularly for family dinners while I was growing up. After about twenty years, sadly, the place closed. At that time, the Korean boom was just beginning in Atlanta. That’s when Han Il Kwan came into the picture and occupied the vacant spot. About three years ago, when most restaurants were closing due to the economic downturn, Han Il Kwan decided to close and relocate to Pleasant Hill where most Korean businesses are located, thus, having better exposure to Koreans. They got the old location of another failed (yet awesome restaurant) called Seoul Garden (which had the best chap jae). But business began to pick up and instead of closing and relocating, they decided to keep Han Il Kwan open but close around midnight instead of being open the usual 24 hours. They gave the new Han Il Kwan restaurant another name: Seo Ra Beol. You’ll find some of the staff from Tofu 88 here, too. Side note: I saw former Atlanta Falcons Hines Ward eating dinner here with his family two years ago. He’s very nice and humble.

Seo Ra Beol

How I’ve never written about this place still surprises me. Just like it’s sister restaurant, this place has amazing food. But unlike it, you will find hardly any Americans (or non-Koreans) eating here. I have yet to see one in the three years I’ve been eating here regularly (well, except for Hines Ward who is technically Korean so he doesn’t count, me, and the friends I take here). The menu is as extensive and mirrors Han Il Kwan except for maybe a handful of dishes. There’s Korean BBQ, soups, stews, and both authentic and mainstream Korean dishes. I love the spicy beef rib soup here. The broth is bold, not thin or watery, and has just the right amount of spiciness. The beef short ribs are very tender and flavorful.

Seo Ra Beol

The Yankee in me loves fried rice and I am known to beg any kitchen to make me some if I don’t see it on the menu. The one here has a smoky flavor and not mooshy just like the way fried rice should be. You can basically ask them to make whatever kind of fried rice you want. I get beef with Korean sausages and a fried egg. Sometimes, I beg for kimchi fried rice. Just remember to ask nicely.

Seo Ra Beol

This is one of the best places in the city for galbi, Korean short ribs. The marinade they use is phenomenal. It has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. They also cook the meat perfectly. Korean ribs isn’t steak. It’s also marinated. Cooking it to medium makes the meat stringy and rubbery. It has to be grilled enough to be a little crispy on the outside without burning yet tender and juicy on the inside. Not very many places can do that. They do here.

Seo Ra Beol

Seo Ra Beol

Seo Ra Beol

The soondubu, bibimbap, spicy beef soup, black goat soup, pancakes, are all good here. So if you’re hungry or craving Korean late night, you can go here (or to Han Il Kwan). You won’t be disappointed.

Note: The restaurant is accessible on both Pleasanthill Rd. and Steve Reynolds Blvd. Please note that the sign is NOT in English. You can read my friend FNS’s post here.

Seo Ra Beol
3040 Steve Reynolds Boulevard
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 497-1155

Seo Ra Beol on Urbanspoon

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Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Remember what I said about Korean restaurants constantly reincarnating itself? This is one of them. This used to be my beloved Moon Family restaurant. I was so sad when I came in the day after Easter to find out they were closed — they never close! So I came back a few days later, on April 6th, and sure enough, my favorite place has been replaced by a new restaurant. They had only been open the day before.

Don Soo Baek

I came in ready to find faults. After all, they can’t be as good as the best Korean restaurant that has ever opened in Georgia; no one can replace (nor replicate) Moon Family. So I came in, pouting, stomping my feet, and with a heavy heart. I was immediately impressed by the warm reception from the servers, even though they still treated me like an amateur yankee. The menu was very limited and nothing was in English (that’s still the case up to now). I started asking about dishes using their Korean names — I may not speak Korean but I speak Korean Food fluently — I guess I earned street cred after that because they all started telling me what’s on the menu… in Korean. So for my first meal, I went with their specialty: pork soup.

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

One spoonful of this pork soup and DSB became my most favorite restaurant. I thought no restaurant can ever top Moon Family when it comes to awesome tasting Korean food. But this one is it. How do I know? If you haven’t noticed yet, I have eaten at almost all the Korean restaurants in the metro. I’ve been to 80+ of them. I can tell you the specialty of each Korean restaurant in Duluth and Suwanee. But back to the soup. This is the best soup in the history of Korean food in Georgia. The glorious tonkotsu broth has that glistening fat on top and the creaminess that only hours of boiling and breaking down the collagen from the pork bones can produce. There’s a lot of pork slices and offal, too, and those don’t taste porky at all. The correct way to eat this is to dump the rice into the soup. It’s why they call it pork rice soup (Daeji Guk Bap) to begin with. But the Chloe way to eat this is to spoon some soup and pork slices into your rice bowl a spoonful at a time. That way, you can adjust how soupy your every bite is.

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

I sent my good friend Gene, a Korean, of Eat Drink Man fame (and who also used to blog for the AJC) to this place the same week he came back from an eating tour of Korea and he, too, found this place legit. A “restaurant for the working class” is what he said the term is for good places like this. I made him eat their hearty Dak Doritang, a super spicy chicken stoup (a cross between a thick stew and a soupy soup). It’s my other favorite here. His verdict: delicious. The bold broth/sauce has the perfect balance of sweetish, savory, and spicy with large pieces of potatoes and at least half a chicken cut into huge chunks. The Chloe (and easy) way to eat this is to scoop out the chicken and transfer one piece at a time to the empty bowl provided to remove the bones and get the meat parts. Transfer the meat to your rice bowl, add soup and potatoes, then scoop to your mouth. Now you’re eating like a true Korean!

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Every meal is ended with the awesome Yakult. If you didn’t grow up in a household where your mom’s weekly grocery shopping in Atlanta involved Food Giant, A&P, and YDFM and bringing home loads of Yakult like I did, then you missed out. This is a tasty, yogurt-tasting, lacto-bacilli drink that was really meant to be a kiddie drink. And if you’re like me and find yourself being liked by Asian elders everywhere because they are so tickled that you’re eating their authentic, acquired-tasting food, then you’ll get many presents from the kitchen. Like fruits and desserts reserved for the staff.

Don Soo Baek

I go here at least 2-3 times a week. Not only because I love Korean food but it’s like comfort food to me. Everything is good. The cold noodles (naengmyeon), the pork bone soup (gamjatang), and the pork and sundae (blood sausage) ssam are all phenomenal. I’ve added the Korean names of the dishes on this post to make it easy for you to order. One more note, this isn’t for the newbie Korean eater. It’s truly an authentic Korean joint. You won’t find mainstream Korean dishes here like tofu soup of bulgogi. I want all of you to love Korean food as much as I do and my honest advise is to start out with mainstream dishes at the myriad of places offering delicious versions in town (like Han Il Kwan, So Kong Dong, Seorabeol, Well Bean, or Book Chang Dong). Once you’re accustomed to the different flavors of the cuisine, graduate to a more advanced palate and come here. After all, it takes an acquired taste to love offal or pork neck bones in soup.

Don Soo Baek
3473 Old Norcross Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 622-7780

Don Soo Baek on Urbanspoon

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Reincarnated: Seoul Shinjung

One of the things that is very common among Korean restaurants is how they reincarnate. When they go out of business, the space doesn’t get abandoned. Instead, they get bought out by new owners and they stay the same way — the same concept, the same restaurant name, the same decor, the same menu (most times). There may be different management/owners and a different chef but sometimes even the chef stays behind. That’s what happened with Cafe Toh Dam in Suwannee, Myung Ga Won, Nam San Gol, Well Bean, and Kal Guk Si in Duluth, just to name a few. It’s also exactly what’s happened here. This place used to be called Seoul Restaurant. It’s now Seoul Shinjung. New name, new owners, new management, new chef, new menu, same location, same decor.

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

One thing that’s noticeable here is the improvement in service. Asian restaurants aren’t really well known for service. You just have to accept it and get used to it. Flagging down a server for anything you need is a way of life. The menu has also been whittled down considerably. I wasn’t shown an English menu so I’m not sure if there even exists one. The good thing is that the servers speak more than a bit of English and will tell you what’s on the menu. The bad thing is that they’ll tell you the names of the dishes in Korean. Asking them to describe what those are, well, that’s almost impossible.

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

Did you know? The number one reason I love Duluth is because there exists a myriad of Korean restaurants that offer good and cheap eats. Combo lunches at Seoul Shinjung from 11AM until 3PM will only set you back $7.49. That includes 7-8 types of banchan, a huge bowl of soup, and a meat dish. On this visit, I got yukgaejang (spicy beef soup) and pork bulgogi. The soup broth is so much better than before. There are huge chunks of beef and even a piece or two of beef tripe! It may not be the best version in the city but it’s decent enough to eat on multiple visits. The pork bulgogi has lots of tender and flavorful meat. What’s not to like?

So, if you ever find yourself in this parts of north Peachtree Industrial Blvd, a trek for everyone, you have to stop by. You won’t be sorry.

Seoul Shinjung
3585 Peachtree Industrial Blvd.
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 584-1103

Seoul Shinjung on Urbanspoon

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Korea Garden (Buford Highway)

Korea Garden (BuHi)

Just a quick post about this new addition to our Korean dining scene. This one opened a few months ago right before winter and sits next door to Cafe Mozart. It used to be First China restaurant. The menu is extensive and includes almost all mainstream Korean dishes.

Korea Garden (BuHi)

I’ve been here a few times. Banchan is good: tasty, fresh, good selection. Dumplings are your regular frozen then fried variety. But at $4.95 per order of five huge ones, it’s a great deal. The soy-sesame dipping sauce is wonderful, however.

Korea Garden (BuHi)

Soups are okay. They’re a little on the thin side but will do in a pinch. They do come in bigger-than-usual and bigger-than-everywhere bowls. The bbq meats are pretty solid. Rice dishes are decent.

I’m grateful we have another place to add to our pool of Korean restaurants to choose from. Prices are on the cheaper side, too, so you can hit it several times a week.

Korea Garden
5295 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 558-2282

Korea Garden on Urbanspoon

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