Mandu – Korean Dumplings
We haven’t done a Korean food post in a while, and so we thought we’d do one on one of our favourite Korean foods: mandu. We’ve got a mandu shop right beside our new apartment, and we’ve been going to it so often that we figured that we should make a video about itâ€¦so here it is!
We might not have done justice to explaining Mandu in the video (Professor Whatsherfrigginname isn’t really a good lecturer), so we’re going to try to be as thorough in this post as possible, in hopes of convincing you to eat these delicious masterpieces of Korean food.
Mandu falls into the dumpling category, but we’re not talking about the Southern USA style of Chicken and Dumplings; this dumpling is more like the Chinese Dimsum or Japanese Gyoza. They actually reminded Simon of his Polish roots and of all the perogies he ate as a child, even though the mandu dough itself is very different from perogies.
Mandu is most commonly stuffed with minced pork and green onions in the Kogi Mandu variety, or spicy kimchi with the pork and onions for the Kimchi Mandu kind. Also, there are lots of different kinds that you can get; not all of them look like the giant bread type mandu we held in this video. The most common ones we find are as follows:
Mul Mandu: these are boiled dumplings usually filled with pork and green onions. They’re usually quite small from our experience: a one bite experiences.
Jjin Mandu: steamed mandu. They’re larger than the mul mandu: usually two-three bites, depending on how civil your table manners. There are specialty shops (such as Mapo Mandu) that serve more than the original Kogi and Kimchi Mandu.The shape can let you know if they’re home-made or out of a store bought bag. Round balls that pucker at the top? Hand made! Looks like a giant tortelline? Probably out of a bag. You’ll also find these in your Tteok Manduguk that you have during Lunar New Year.
Goon Mandu: Simon’s favorite kind of mandu. They’re panfried or deep fried. They’re similar to potstickers or Japanese Gyoza, but the filling is not as dense as the later. They’re more in the traditional perogie shape, except they’re a lot longer and thinner from our experience. Yeah!
Wong Mandu: Pronunciation is somewhere between a “wang” and “wong”, and these are the ones we showed in this video. The King Mandu. They’re most commonly found at subway stations or busy school areas. They’re huge, usually the size of your fist if not bigger. The texture is more like steamed bread and it reminds me of Chinese BBQ Pork Steamed Buns that I used to buy in Chinatown downtown Toronto. Think of them as Mandu sandwiches!
At the mandu shops like the one we were in today you can also find Jjin bbang. It’s actually bigger than a Wong Mandu, and it’s for dessert! It’s filled with a sweet red bean paste which looks suspiciously like chocolate to the untrained eye. It’s also sooooo delicious and every shop has their own taste, so if you didn’t like it the first time, don’t give up! Everything we mentioned in this post is delicious. Just…delicious.
Another thing we didn’t mention in the video: the price of these giant mandu. One of these bad boys will be the size of your fist, be completely stuffed with delicious meat and stuffing, and cost you only 1000 won. ONE THOUSAND WON THAT’S IT. Put that into your currency converter right now to see how much that costs in your country. In Canada, that’s 90 cents. No tax, no tipping as well. Seriously, this is like a meal for 90 cents. Korea, we sure do love you sometimes!
Anyhow, the location of this shop is right beside our apartment here in Bucheon, but we think that maybe it might also be a franchise. We’re not sure. The logo looks familiar, but that’s maybe just because we go there so often that it’s seared into our memories. If it’s not a franchise is should be! All we know is that we go there so often that we should start being on a first name basis with the owner. If you ever do decide to go to this place, you just might see us walking away with bags full of mandu. Ha!