There must be about a billion Korean barbecue houses in Annandale, and I really wish I had the time, money, and clothes budget to eat at all of them. I suspect the subtle variations among them would say something about the owners, their hometowns, and the clientele that they’re catering to. I say this because my most recent trip to Honey Pig Gooldaegee varied in small but significant ways from past visits. For starters, the “flaming hot” chicken wasn’t so much. Sure, it was spicy, but not like during my last stop at Honey Pig, when the waitress practically had to send us all to the burn unit. I also noticed that the crispy scallion pancake had about 1,000 fewer milligrams of salt. And what’s this? Did the waitress just crack a smile? I was beginning to feel played, as if they were giving me the watered-down, white-folk foodie experience at Honey Pig. Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe my ego was just bruised because they’d pegged me dead right: I really do prefer my flaming-hot chicken with a spicy coating that allows me to taste the terrific dark meat underneath.

7220-C Columbia Pike, Annandale (703) 256-5229