Stepping inside is like entering into a kitchen in Korea. The food is about as authentic as it gets when you are in search of real Korean cuisine, and in Fredericksburg, that’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
I am told that customers trek from Northern Virginia just to eat here. Finding the awesome eats that Choi’s prepares was tough to narrow down because the offerings are extensive and all made fresh.
Choi’s makes its several varities of its own Kimchi, which is a fermented vegetable. Kimchi can come in different degrees of hot depending on the amount of red pepper used in fermenting. It is so popular at Choi’s that it is available for take away in large containers. Kimchi-Jun is a fermented Kimchi pancake, and a real treat to find.
Eight small side dishes arrived on the table along with a bowl of white rice; the assortment is to be eaten along with your entrée. Kimchi cabbage, Kimchi cucumber, Kimchi radish, fresh bean sprouts (not the kind you buy in the grocery store), fish cake, sautéed potato, pickled zucchini and sweet-and-sour radish were as pleasing to the eye as they were to the palette. One of the side dishes served was soy sauce-marinated bamboo shoots, which were flavorful and delectable thin crisp slices of heaven. The side dish is very, very, labor intensive, taking three days, which may be why it is not always on the menu. But it was definitely one of the side dishes on the table that I wanted more of after I finished.
Kimchi Soup is packed with soured Kimchi, pork, onion, soft and silky tofu in a hot spicy broth. It looks more like a stew than a soup. Allergy sufferers and those with a head cold would consider this the Holy Grail as an all-natural remedy. Other authentic and hard to find soups made at Choi’s include Oxtail Soup with noodles served over rice; Yuk gae jang, which is a spicy beef soup with green onion and egg; Duk Man (fried dumplings); and a Seaweed Soup with beef, which is a Korean birthday delicacy.
Kal-bi is served on a hot-sizzling cast-iron plate and is an Awesome Eats for the meats and sweets lover. No pre-processed meats or MSG are used at Choi’s and it is evident in the dishes served. The beef short ribs are marinated in Choi’s special soy sauce that hugs every tender morsel of meat. Because it is marinated and then cooked on the cast iron at a high temperature, the sauce is almost seared as a coating. The ribs are finger-licking good!
Bi-Bim-Bop is what our northern neighbors make the drive down for and I see why they make the trip. Served in a bowl with rice and a variety of vegetables, you have a choice of beef, pork or chicken. On top of all of this is a half-cooked egg that finishes cooking once it is broken open with a fork and stirred around and through the hot rice, making what is essentially stir-fried rice. The dish is a visual work of art and a well-balanced meal containing protein, starch and vegetables.
Sushi offerings include the usual favorites such as Rainbow Rolls, Smoked Salmon and Spicy Tuna, but what is not usual is that they can be had in 30- and 50-piece combo orders.
Some other great dishes are the spicy shrimp and scallops stir fried with mixed vegetables and served over thin-wheat noodles, pan-fried Tilapia and Croaker.
Choi’s mission statement, which is written on the menu, is to provide healthier and safe food in a clean environment. The fact that Choi’s offers all Korean War veterans (who served in Korea before 1960) and their spouses 50-percent off of their meals makes this restaurant extra special.
If you want to enjoy Choi’s fresh-made Korean dishes, the restaurant is located at 1625 Carl D. Silver Parkway. Tell them you have come to their Korean kitchen for some Awesome Eats as seen on Fredericksburg Patch.