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RICE CASSEROLE (DOLSOT BIBIMBAP)
The combination of rice and vegetable—topped with an egg and ingredients such as spicy squid, pork, kimchi, mushrooms, or eel—must be stirred fiercely into the hissing-hot stone bowl, then left for a few minutes to form a crackly crust. Once you are done eating, pour boricha into the pot to loosen up the coveted bits. This is one of the best things at Woo Nam Jeong (5953 Buford Highway, Doraville, 678-530-0844). $9.99–$13.95

Crazy for Korean

Korean food—long in the shadows of its Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese cousins—is finally starting to achieve the popularity it deserves. These ten dishes set the standard for food too delicious to overlook any longer.
updated 03.22.12

  • KOREAN BARBECUE (BULGOGI)
The basics always include sliced sirloin or short ribs marinated with soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil; a plate of lettuce leaves; raw garlic cloves; and a fermented bean sauce known as doenjang. Cho Sun Ok (5865 Buford Highway, Doraville, 770-452-1821) may lack in decor and patient service, but it compensates with live embers for grilling plates of traditional bulgogi ($15.99) and kalbi (ribs, $20.99) that easily feed three.
    KOREAN BARBECUE (BULGOGI) The basics alw…
  • KING   DUMPLINGS (MANDU)
The largest and least expensive version of these pillowy, steamed jumbo dumplings come in several flavors (pork, chicken, tofu, vegetables) and levels of spiciness served over one of the counters on the ground floor of Mega Mart (2106 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, 770-495-0345), where they are made throughout the day. Eat them with two hands, hamburger-style, in the stylishly designed dining area. $1.99
    KING DUMPLINGS (MANDU) The largest and…
  • TOFU STEW (SUNDUBU JJIGAE)
This comforting slurry includes soft cubes of fresh tofu, red chile powder, mushrooms, and a choice of seafood such as tiny clams, oysters, mussels, or shrimp. Crack the accompanying raw egg into the bowl and stir the bubbling broth, taking a few breaks between bites to cool off with the side of rice that always accompanies the stew. Jang Su Jang (3645 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth, 678-475-9170) makes a superb version. $8.99
    TOFU STEW (SUNDUBU JJIGAE) This comforti…
  • RICE CASSEROLE (DOLSOT BIBIMBAP)
The combination of rice and vegetable—topped with an egg and ingredients such as spicy squid, pork, kimchi, mushrooms, or eel—must be stirred fiercely into the hissing-hot stone bowl, then left for a few minutes to form a crackly crust. Once you are done eating, pour boricha into the pot to loosen up the coveted bits. This is one of the best things at Woo Nam Jeong (5953 Buford Highway, Doraville, 678-530-0844). $9.99–$13.95
    RICE CASSEROLE (DOLSOT BIBIMBAP) The com…
  • SEAFOOD PANCAKES (HAEMUL PAJEON)
This hearty appetizer—made with egg, rice flour, and wheat flour—resembles a dense omelet flecked with green onions and studded with vegetables and luscious morsels of shellfish and squid. Be quick with your chopsticks to snag the desirable crisp edges at Yet Tuh (3042 Oakcliff Road, Doraville, 770-454-9292). $14.99
    SEAFOOD PANCAKES (HAEMUL PAJEON) This he…
  • INSTANT NOODLES (RAMYEON)
Many versions exist of this dish, which the Koreans inherited from Japan, but the crinkly noodles served in a Pyrex baking dish with golden broth and a sprinkling of seaweed at Dan Moo Ji (3230 Steve Reynolds Boulevard, Duluth, 770-814-2310) is the most fun. Meals include complimentary soup charmingly served in measuring cups. $4.99
    INSTANT NOODLES (RAMYEON) Many versions …
  • ACORN JELLY (DOTORIMUK)
Served cold or hot in a clear broth with fermented cabbage, these squarish noodles made with acorn starch have a delicate, slightly bitter taste and an enchanting texture between soft and firm. They are one of the many specialties served in the cozy dining room of Yet Tuh (3042 Oakcliff Road, Doraville, 770-454-9292), a tiny jewel in a near-invisible shopping center—look for picturesque dining cabanas outside the front door. $14.99
    ACORN JELLY (DOTORIMUK) Served cold or h…
  • PORK BELLY WRAPS (BOSSAM)
Picture a large plate of fresh bacon boiled to a state of utter tenderness and cut into fat slices. Arranged on the periphery are colorful, thin slivers of daikon marinated with beet juice or wasabi, salted Napa cabbage, jalapeños, and kimchi. Roll these little bundles of goodness at Jang Su Jang (3645 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth, 678-475-9170) and dip them into pungent sauces alongside. $8.99
    PORK BELLY WRAPS (BOSSAM) Picture a larg…
  • RICE PORRIDGE (JUK)
Creamier than its cousin, Chinese congee, and not as salty, this thick, heavenly porridge typically contains chicken, ginger, dried abalone, and mushrooms. Bonjuk (2645 North Berkeley Lake Road, Duluth, 770-232-1944), an attractive modern restaurant with a focus on healthy options, serves more than a dozen versions of this traditional comfort food. $7.95 and up
    RICE PORRIDGE (JUK) Creamier than its co…
  • MINCED RAW BEEF (YUKHOE)
Like steak tartare, only lighter due to the presence of cubed Asian pear, this dish derives deep flavor from sesame oil and egg yolk. Chung Dam (2550 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, 770-623-0311, chung­damrestaurant.com) is one of the community’s higher-end destinations, but its yukhoe combined with the spread of unusually refined banchan equals an affordable, memorable meal. $19.99
    MINCED RAW BEEF (YUKHOE) Like steak tart…