I’m finally back to updating the blog now that I have some time to really stay in my room and have a little rest. The last two weeks was extremely hectic for me as I was totally invested both physically and mentally in the communication marketing project at school, to the point I had to suffer minor panic attacks which in hindsight were rather embarrassing. But yeah, I’m here for a really quick (but equally important) post before I disappear again for the finals!
Long story short, I had the best kalguksu in my entire life and a really good basket of mandu at 명동교자 (Myeong-dong-gyo-ja). At this point this blog is going to be a mandu specialised blog thanks to my talent of only eating mandu when I go out. Mandu has never been my first choice when ordering, but somehow it always ends up presenting itself on my table. Oh well, not that I’m complaining.
I like Seoul and all its diverse ranges of food and cultural venues, but soon enough new places start running out and sadly so does my creativity when it comes to choosing a good one to hang out. In addition to my pent-up frustration, the weather is at its worst these days (raining mornings, wet snow and blowing winds etc.) which makes every Friday aka the only time of the week I have a full day off a problem. This weekend, in order to celebrate non-existent Thanksgiving in Korea aka a reasonable excuse to get out of Seoul, I headed to Incheon and spent the day walking around Korea’s only official Chinatown.
This post is pretty personal what with my face plastered all over on photos, trivial complaints and cat-centered stories so…you have been warned.
As much as I like Chinese dumplings never in a decade had I dared to think there would be a decent Chinese dumpling house in Seoul, let alone Itaewon. Chinese food, in the process of being imported to Korean cuisine, has changed and lost most of its specialties in order to suit Korean people’s palate. Mandu – Korean dumpling is not that bad but even the best mandu at Bukchon Mandu can’t compare to the other members of its family. It was merely by chance I discovered Jonny Dumpling but I’m glad I did because now I finally have a place to go to when in need of a good dumpling fill.
When I was in Hong Kong, I jumped at any chance to (over)indulge in the big, big world of dumplings. Xiaolongbao, shaomai, zhengjiao, shuijiao, har gow, steamed buns… just thinking about them makes my heart jump with joy and my salivary glands work. My life in Vietnam, too, was incomplete without a hot hot steamed bun filled with vermicelli noodles, wood ear mushrooms, quail eggs, minced pork, and LOTS of pepper, every morning. It is sad that I cannot find that simple happiness in a bun in Korea. The Korean member of the dumpling family–mandu 만두–is like the family’s spoiled child. It lacks everything that a respectable dumpling should have. The filling is a bland, almost unseasoned, jumble of indistinctive pork, soggy vermicelli noodles, and overcooked vegetables. The wrapping is either too dry, or too mushy, or dry on the top and soggy on the bottom. I had never had a good dumpling in Korea before today; and just when I thought that the nearest place I could go for a good dumpling is Hong Kong, my friend told me of a place called 북촌손만두 (Bukchon Son Mandu–Bukchon handmade dumpling http://www.mandoo.so) just around the corner from Sinchon station…