Cycle 4 – Item 189
13 (Sat) July 2013
Mandu + Dak Muchim
-Jeo, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
The mandu were pretty good. Each was about the size of a racquetball, just right. While northern-style mandu tend to be quite large, I believe that the dumpling should be finishable in two bites; anything larger breaks apart and gets messy. The hand-made skins were thick and rough, as they should be. Good clean flavor, no floury aftertaste. The stuffing comprised the basic pork-bean sprout-dubu combination, as per northern tradition, but also contained onion, scallion, maybe garlic, and a tiny bit of kimchi, making it more southern, which isn’t a bad thing per se, of course. 7,000 won for 6. A solid 3.0 on its own.
But 3.5 with the dak muchim. Chopped chicken + sliced cucumbers + pickled radish strips + vinegar + sugar + red chili powder + sesame oil + garlic, etc. An aggressive harmony of sour/sweet/spicy in every bite. The meat was dry, like jerky, but the tough texture provided a firm structure to carry the strong flavors. I’ve never seen anything like it elsewhere. Regardless, the tanginess provided counterpoint to the generally mild character of northern cuisine. And it’s free. However, they refused to pack up the leftovers for me to take home. I wonder if they’d let me use my own container. The menu offers a larger, fancier version at 17,000 won.
(See also MUL NAENG MYEON)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)