When a chef asks you if you want to have him personally take your on a tour of some of his favorite spots, you don’t think twice, you just say yes. That’s exactly what I did when Chef Todd Kulper of Doraku Sushi asked me if he could show me some of his favorite Korean spots on Buford Highway in Atlanta and beyond.
Our first stop for Korean food in Atlanta was Woo Nam Jeong Stone Bowl House in Seoul Plaza. I’d been there before and had the Bibimbap, but never knew of the other delicacies that were on the menu. We were famished and practically devoured what was put in front of us.
We ordered the Nine Treasure Plate (Gujeolpan) and Steamed Black Pork Belly with Kimchi and Oysters (Bo Ssam). This was pretty much unchartered territory for me. And not something I would have ever known to order when trying Korean food in Atlanta. Chef Kulper and his sister in law, Annie were the best guides explaining what goes with what and the proper way to eat it.
After our first feast, we headed up the road to the most secret restaurant on Buford Highway for Korean food in Atlanta, Dongne Bangne. You would never know it existed, being located behind another restaurant, completely hidden from sight on Buford Highway.
At this Korean restaurant, we had one dish – Summer Stamina Goat Hotpot (Yeomsul Chongul). Because of the effort involved in this dish it is only available for groups. I suppose you could order it for one and just take home what you don’t eat. The idea is that it cools you down with the summer heat.
Again they came with a myriad of side dishes which included 2 kinds of kimchi, mushrooms, tiny shrimp (with shells on), rice, etc. The goat was delicious (not spicy) and I loved that I didn’t have to fight with bones as I do every other place I order goat. Oh and throughout the small restaurant you’ll see all different kinds of roots, displayed in glass jars.
Dongne Bangne – 3042 Oakcliff Rd Ste 104 Doraville, GA 30340
Our next stop on the Korean food tour of Atlanta was a bit of a drive in between restaurants which I think most us needed and were grateful for. Dan Moo Ji or Mi Favorite Place as it translates to, is much more modern and different from the first two visits on our Atlanta Korean food tour. Scantily clad young waitresses shimmy around the bright, Korean rock music playing, post-it note covered restaurant.
Todd says these are Korean tapas, but the portions are so big I have a hard time calling this Korean food, tapas. Here you can find what I’d consider, fun, comfort food. Plates are kids superheroes. Dishes are rice noodles (pictured above left) covered in a spicy red sauce that I imagine would make for the perfect hangover food, fish skin in broth, shrimp fried rice. Out total for all of this goodness? Around $20!
Dan Moo Ji -Nukoa Plaza 3230 Steve Reynolds Blvd Duluth, GA 30096
Lastly we visited a spot in the same shopping center for Korean Fried Wings. We were so full, we could barely manage to eat much, but oh were those crispy wings tasty. Funny enough the spot is really big on Karaoke. However, they do this in private rooms instead of one big room. It was interesting, but I didn’t partake.
Huge thanks to Chef Todd Kulper and Annie for taking time out of their busy schedules to show us some of their favorite Korean restaurants. We had an amazing time on this Atlanta Korean food tour. If you haven’t had the pleasure of having Todd’s cooking, what are you waiting for? You need to get over to Doraku pronto!