Seoul Garden in Raleigh is a great place for Korean barbecue (bulgogi) and even soups. If you haven’t tried Korean bbq yet you’re in for the experience, too. They come out with the meat raw and you cook the meat on a grill right in front of you! (If you ever go to Los Angeles, definitely try the bbq there, it is by far one of the best places to eat this heavenly food). My husband and I went here on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn’t too busy.
Vit Goal Tofu in Durham is known for its Korean tofu (sundubu). This tofu soup is made from kimchi and hot pepper flakes, so only come if you’re prepared to eat spicy! Their dumplings for appetizer are also delicious and they offer a lunch special Mon-Fri.
Lucha Tigre in Chapel Hill serves up a fusion of Latin and Asian flavors and has a bar with fantastic seasonal drinks. The atmosphere is fun and the staff is friendly. Try their salsa sampler or three-taco plate. For an entree you can choose from an array of eclectic dishes: lamb guisado, spicy bulgogi bowl, or hoisin-glazed duck breast. (I need to return to try their kimchi fried rice). For dessert you can’t go wrong with their tres leches cake or churros.
Buku in Raleigh was a nice night out with some girlfriends for a bridal shower. The bride-to-be and her sister selected this restaurant because it serves some Filipino flavors such as lumpia and adobo. Oh but man the prices! Because of time and money, I’d probably only return here for an anniversary date or if a Filipino friend was in town.
Akai Hana in Carrboro has a small, intimate feel and serves some good sushi. I remember liking their green tea the best.
Spicy 9 in Chapel Hill quickly became a local favorite and you’ll often see a group of people waiting to be seated at the door. Sushi is decent and even their Pad Thai passes the test!
Shiki Sushi in Durham is also a very popular place for sushi. It’s a large restaurant so it’s noisy with a crowd. For sushi just as good but with a dining area on a smaller scale, you can go to Sake Bomb which is also in Durham.
For ramen, hit up Dashi in downtown Durham. I heard the bar is fun at night, too. (Alas another aside and nostalgia: If you ever are in DC try Toki Underground, the place is as cool as it sounds).
Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe and Sage Vegetarian in Chapel Hill are both restaurants whose owners are rooted in the community and are committed to serving some of the best locally sourced food in the area.