Seoul’s Gaesung Mandu & Korean Dumplings

The Jongno-Gu district in Seoul’s city center.  It’s home to many of the Korean palaces like Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Changgyeong and Gyeongbokgung

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With landmarks like those, it’s hard not to find amazing restaurants in the area unless you’re totally lame and only want to eat at Western restaurants.  If that’s the case, it might have been better to stay home and not spend money on traveling the world.  Who cares about a simple case of food poisoning that puts you out of commission for a few days?  I’m letting you know now that food poisoning is one of the world’s most underrated diet plans.

Gaesung Mandu's store front
Gaesung Mandu’s store front

Seoul is the capital of South Korea.  It’s filled with culture, bars, arts and amazing restaurants.  One of those restaurants is Gaesung Mandu.  The restaurant is located in the Jongno-Gu district, which appears to be the art district of Seoul.   Who cares about art?  It’s just a bunch of paint scribble on a wall or canvas.  It doesn’t mean much to me unless it comes with some banchans.

Gaesung Mandu is an extremely popular.  It’s a little cozy restaurant serving Korean dumplings.  Gaesung Mandu has been around more than 75 years and a family run restaurant.  It was started by the owner’s grandma and mother.  The most important thing is the restaurant is filled with locals, which is a good sign of the goodness of the food.  It’s not filled with ignorant tourists trying to get a Big Mac.  Shoot yourself if that’s you.

The restaurant decor
The restaurant decor

There’s a woman by the window making the dumplings by hand.   Gaesung Mandu have Korean and English menus .   The restaurant doesn’t have more than 20 tables; each table comes with friendly service and sarcasm.  The host was very helpful.  He assisted me with ordering and demonstrated the proper way to eat the bossam with the dumplings.  I’m glad he was willing to aid me even when it wasn’t solicited.  However, as a man, I don’t need any help and I don’t need to ask for directions either.

Now, the food.  The meal came with all the traditional Korean side dishes — banchans.  I decided to go with one of their specials; it included 3 large dumplings, a serving of bossam, veggies, radish, and cabbage.  It was a good amount of food especially for a brunch appetizer.  Where is the rest of the meal?

 The banchans
The banchans

The dumplings were half the size of my hand.  It doesn’t mean much cause my hand size is about the size of Trump’s hands.  The dumplings were cook in beef broth; the fillings included chopped pork with the additions of a few veggies.  It had the same plump texture like Cantonese Shiu Mai.  The flavor was sweet; the taste changed with the addition of kimchi.  In that instance, the dumpling should be split in half to add a layer of kimchi.  It gives the dumplings a sour taste like how Trump goes on a Twitter tantrum after a New York Times piece.

The bossam (i.e., pork belly) was broil and soft like a new pillow.   The correct way to eat the bossam is to layer the veggies (e.g., cabbage, radish, greens and kimchi) with the bossam in the middle.   With every bite, there will be a mix of flavors from earthy to sour to sweet.  The overall bite tasted very earthy and fresh due to the layering of the veggies.  I finally knew how vegetarians and vegans feel when they eat their food.  I was “food conscious” in that moment then I got over it really fast.

Dumplings and Bossam
Dumplings and Bossam

Gaesung Mandu Koong is a great option for a traditional Korean meal.   Every Asian ethnicity has its interpretation of dumplings from the Chinese to the Japanese.   Gaesung Mandu Koong brings the Korean interpretation in a comforting and relax setting with fresh ingredients.  They will help you with your meal even when it’s not solicited.  That’s service.

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  • 8/10
    Service - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Presentation - 7.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Flavors - 8.5/10
  • 7/10
    Decor - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Ambiance - 7/10
7.6/10

Summary

Gaesung Mandu is an extremely popular. It’s a little cozy restaurant serving Korean dumplings. Gaesung Mandu have Korean and English menu. The dumplings were half the size of my hand and it’s a great stop for breakfast or brunch. Actually, brunch cause they don’t open until like 10 AM. What a bunch of lazy asses.

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