Finished. Done. Over. It’s strange. I had been so preoccupied with the idea of the end that it caught me by surprise. Rather than overwhelming joy, sparks of relief, happiness, worry, bewilderment, and, to my bemusement, nostalgia pepper me. I’ve felt this way many, many times before: when I won a piano competition for the first time, when I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when I slept in on the first days of past summer breaks, when I graduated from high school, and now, today, when I have finally finished taking the MCATs.
I’m at a complete and total loss – what am I supposed to do with myself now? Have a mini celebration, I suppose. I determinedly plowed through almost two hours of traffic from my test location in Smyrna to reach my destination on Buford Highway: Go Hyang House.
I actually stumbled upon this small restaurant for the first time completely by coincidence. When my father had driven from Wisconsin to Atlanta with me for his mini vacation, I had been determined to share my favorite places to eat with him. According to the little schedule I had sketched, that night had been Korean tofu soup night. Without hesitation, I had brought my dad to So Kong Dong, my go-to Korean tofu soup and Kalbi spot. The deserted parking lot had alarmed me – So Kong Dong is almost always busy. Turns out I had chosen to come on the one day of the week they’re closed: Tuesday.
The next night had Japanese ramen scheduled, and thus, I had no choice but to search for another tofu soup place nearby. At times like these, I really, really love Yelp. After a quick scan of various Korean restaurants and their reviews, I settled on Go Hyang House. It took me a minute to find it – it’s actually at the very end of the same complex as Chef Liu’s.
My first time here with my father, we ordered galbi, seafood tofu soup, and the seafood pancake. We had already devoured most of the food before I realized I hadn’t taken any pictures. The galbi, basically Korean-style bbq short ribs, had great flavor, but the ones at So Kong Dong were more tender. However, I preferred the tofu soup here. At So Kong Dong, oftentimes, when I order the soup as “hot,” all I taste is spice. I like spice. I like other flavors, too. Rather than overpowering the soup, the spice in Go Hyang House’s tofu soup enhanced the underlying seafood notes to create lovely deep flavors. The seafood pancake was solid – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Chock-full of seafood, it came with a vinegar-based dipping sauce.
Although I’m not Korean, Go Hyang House reminded me of home. I fell in love with the small, cozy restaurant. (Wo)-manned by two Korean aunties whipping out homely meals from a tiny kitchen with a 4-burner stove, it’s been open for an amazing twenty-five years. I’ve already visited three times and I plan on returning again soon.
If you’re looking for reasonably-priced, homey Korean food ($6-$12), try Go Hyang House. It won’t disappoint.
Go Hyang House
5269 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30340