Hands down, the best Korean fried chicken in DC, and I stand by that statement 200%, fight me. DC has a poppin’ food scene, but it’s hard to find good Korean food in the DMV area. Yes, I know about Annandale, Centreville and Ellicott City (eh), but I have yet to be blown away. The only Korean restaurant I’ve recommended in the past is Da Rae Won, and that’s not even traditional Korean, it’s Korean-Chinese – but more on their noodles another time.
Located on 1805 18th St NW, Anju is Scott Drewno and Danny Lee’s latest food child. The name is a term we Koreans use for noms that are typically consumed with alcohol, and by alcohol, I mean soju. I’ve spent far too many nights at pojangmachas with friends, enjoying delicious food and drink in tents on the street until wee hours in the morning. Good times all around.
You obviously get something much more elevated at Anju. The space is stunning, the service is on point, and the ambiance is classy – perfect for date night. My recommendations are as follows: their mandu ($9), their yukhoe ($15), and their chikin ($14/$25).
I’m honestly realllllly picky when it comes to Korean food – that’s what happens when your mom is a truly kickass cook – but I genuinely loved the aforementioned dishes, and trust me, that’s saying a lot. Here’s a shot of their chicken – it’s $14 for half and $25 for a whole. It’s fried to crispy perfection and the meat’s really juicy, but the star IMHO is the gochujang glaze. It has a great kick to it, but it won’t burn a hole in your stomach – expect pure flavor that’s enhanced even further with white BBQ drizzle.
Next up, their mandu. You get 5 big pieces for $9 so definitely get an order to share with your frands. They’re pan fried and contain a flavorful mix of pork and kimchi – the filling to wrapper ratio is solid, and the exterior has a wonderful crispiness to it.
I’m not usually a big fan of yukhoe, but I really enjoyed their spin on this staple. Think of it as Korean beef tartare – they made theirs with palm sugar, chili basil seeds, pine nuts and lotus crisps. It’s packed with flavor, and it’s something I’d love to just devour with a side of rice – a definite must try when you go!
And last but not least, dessert, because who doesn’t want to end their meal on a sweet note? Pass on sorbet/gelato because you can get that anywhere – instead, order their bananas foster hodduk. I have very fond memories of me as a child enjoying this treat while exploring street markets with my fam in South Korea.
They’re typically $2-3 per pop in the mainland, and you can get them stuffed with different fillings – I always liked mine with the traditional brown sugar/cinnamon combo, although cheesy savory options are always a good idea in my book. Anju’s version is stuffed with syrup and assorted nuts and served with vanilla-boricha gelato. So what are you waiting for? Get your fix.
Alright friends, I hope you enjoyed reading my latest review featuring Anju. Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment below, and keep an eye out for fresh, new content hittin’ the blog on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. For more on DC noms, make sure to browse this tab. Until next time, friends. Happy eating!