Cho Dang Tofu
Cho Dang's exterior may not give non-Korean-speakers seeking exquisite tofu stew many clues, but once you're inside, the servers are attentive, courteous and, understandably, more fluent in English in person than on the telephone. The stews, called soon dubu in Korean, are all variations on an excellent theme, bubbling and spitting like lava from a vent in the earth. Starving? Order the sweet and butter-tender barbecued beef ribs to pacify you until the stews cool enough to be eaten. 5907 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-220-0667.
Housed in one of the winding strip malls that orbits Gwinnett Place, Dongbaek Garden's foyer doors are propped open in a perpetual gesture of welcome. The tabletop burners are also used to cook large hot pot meals. These folks do not jest when they warn you it's a lot of food. Try the summery buckwheat noodles, otherwise known as "water noodles." 3525 Mall Blvd., No. B-2, Duluth. 770-232-9910.
Hae Woon Dae
For most of the 18 hours a day that Hae Woon Dae is open, it's packed. And with good reason: This bustling joint serves up outstanding Korean barbecue. A glorious spread of pickles, salads, soup and rice cleanse your palate between bites of bulgogi (wafer-thin rib eye) and kalbi (short ribs), which are the best choices for tossing on the table's built-in barbie. 5805 Buford Highway, No. 5, Doraville. 770-451-7957.
This lovely, tranquil Korean spot serves a whole chicken cut up into slightly larger-than-bite-size pieces and fried. There's little seasoning in the crust, but a bowl of salt, pepper and sesame seeds is provided alongside. Dip the chicken in the seasonings bowl and chow. It's familiar yet novel. Any open-minded Southerner will love it. 5872 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-220-3013.
Yong Su San
The modest entrance in a strip mall set back off the road belies Yong Su San's vast interior. While traditional dishes like bibimbop are faithfully executed here, adventurous types will want to indulge in the "royal" multicourse meals. You may start with a pumpkin soup with dumplings and progress to noodles with beef, tempura, and end with a sweet rice drink and chewy cookies. 5979 Buford Highway, Suite B-1, Doraville. 770-220-0682.