Opened in 2013 by Jeoungwoo Seo, Inter Korea House is situated at the corner of Highway 55 and Highway 54 in Durham. Due to its prime location, this Korean restaurant has become frequented by families and RTP professionals alike. Inter Korea House keeps things refreshingly simple by offering a concise menu of traditional Korean items ranging from mandoo to bibimbap. The interior of the restaurant is simply decorated and offers plenty of table seating in two sections of the establishment.
Per my friendly and welcoming server, Kwangshin An, I tried one of her favorite dishes, the seafood pancake ($15.99). The pancake was incredibly crisp on the outside and filled with shrimp, squid, scallions and shredded carrots. Apart from the fillings, the pancake itself was airy and light with a rich egg flavor. I’ve had Korean seafood pancakes in the past, but none have stuck out in my mind as being this memorable. The pancake was tasty on its own, but the flavor amplified with the addition of the soy dipping sauce laced with red chili powder.
Inter Korea House’s Yaki Mandoo (10 pieces for $7.99) were unlike any mandoo I’ve seen before. They were tiny little dumplings expertly folded and fried until caramel brown and crisp. The filling of beef, bean thread noodles and scallions was seasoned well and lended well to the accompanying soy dipping sauce.
Jap Chae is one of the first Korean foods I remember eating as a kid, so my expectations for this dish were pretty high. Unfortunately, Inter Korea House’s version ($13.99) did not deliver. The menu states it has “beef, vegetables and mushrooms,” but there were a few pieces of beef and one piece of mushroom mixed into the whole dish. The overall flavor of the noodles and vegetables was decent, but I would not order this again.
Traditional beef bulgogi is good, but the spiced up version of Inter Korea House’s Chulpan Pork Bulgogi ($14.99) was incredible. This dish was a true show stopper, served on a sizzling hot plate that was steaming and crackling as it came to the table. The pork was well seasoned and wasn’t overly spicy, salty or sweet. The highlight of reaching the end of this dish was finding the bits of meaty deliciousness that had started to char and caramelize to the bottom of the sizzle platter. Regardless of my affinity for this dish, if you are adverse to spicy foods or have a low threshold for heat, this would not be the item for you.
The banchan accompanying the entrées included kimchi, pickled eggplant, fishcake and sweet pickled daikon. Their house-made kimchi was so hot it cleared my sinuses, which is something I have oddly grown to love about this Korean condiment that could be a star item on its own.
Inter Korea House’s straight forward take on traditional classics is a bold move when many places offer Americanized or fusion offerings. It takes guts to stick to what you know and do it well, which Inter Korea House is doing, as evidenced by its packed restaurant during the week and on weekends. Despite being in a heavily trafficked location, Inter Korea House is still somewhat of a hidden gem you have to look for as it’s squished in between Big Lots and Auto Zone. Once you find it, you won’t be disappointed.
Address: 4731 NC-55, Durham, NC 27713
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @