My boyfriend and I have been eating our way through Annandale lately. It's hard to think of another area with so many interesting and affordable options. Last night we tried out a Korean-Chinese place recommended by his coworker. Choong Hwa Won is on John Marr Drive, right behind the Popeye's and near Il Mee and Shilla Bakery on Little River Turnpike. It's super casual and open until midnight.
The English explanations for each menu item are ok, although it helps to know a little about Korean dishes.
We were there for the jjambong, spicy red pepper soup with noodles.
The service was fast, efficient and nice. The kimchee was good, and I liked the pickled daikon. Never figured out what the dark paste in the middle was. They serve a warm barley tea when you arrive which helps on cold November nights.
Large fried dumplings ($7.99). They were not panfried, but deep-fried with a taste that reminded me of egg rolls. Inside was a mixture of bitter greens. Good.
#31 Sam Sun Go Chu Jham Bbong ($9.99)
This is a fiery red hot pepper soup with shrimp, squid, scallops, mussels, vegetables and noodles. The server will cut the noodles with a pair of scissors if you'd like. Excellent and spicy.
#28 Sam Woo Gan Jha Jang ($8.99)
Shrimp and onions in a black bean sauce
The noodles come on the side with cucumber, and the server will cut them for you with scissors.
All mixed together. It tastes better than it looks. I wanted it to be spicy, it was not.
I heard about jjanjangmen from my Korean friend who told me about Samos in Baltimore. I trust his judgement and had wanted to try jjanjanmen for awhile. Online reviews about Choong Hwa Won rave about the jjangjanmen and jjambbong. Maybe I'm just a spicy gal, but I liked the jjambbong a lot more than the jjanjanmen.
The portions are huge. They provided smaller bowls and my boyfriend and I shared our respective choices with each other. I would skip the mandu the next time and order a steaming, spicy bowl of #32 next time. Even without anything else, I doubt I could finish the whole bowl by myself. But I would have a good time trying.