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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 So I came back a few days later, on April 6th, and sure enough, my favorite place has been replaced by a new restaurant.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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