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Almost like old times at Mandu

July 19, 2010

When I moved back from Korea, I think the words ‘I never want to eat Korean food again’ may have crossed my lips. 😳

You see, in Korea, Korean food is everywhere. That may sound obvious but compare it to a country like the USA, where there’s a wide variety of foods available on every corner for a decent price.

Plenty of cuisines and international restaurants are in Korea, especially Seoul, but you definitely paid more for it. Plus, I had a few too many run-ins with the infamous congealed gelatinous fish product and let’s just say I was ready for a few months of salads and stews.

But over the past few weeks, I’ve been majorly craving Korean food. I want:

dolsot bibimpbap

chamchi deopbap

Typical Korean meal: bibimbap, soup, kimchi, side dishes

Yum.

Thankfully, my Seoul-mate Melissa is back in DC and found Mandu, a Korean restaurant near Dupont Circle. The restaurant advertises ‘traditional Korean cuisine,’ although we couldn’t help but laugh to walk inside and find that every single employee was white. 😉

The entire meal, we kept exclaiming, ‘This is so weird! We’re eating Korean food… in America… and can order in English!’

The menu had a lot of dishes that are common in Korea.

We started with an order of vegetable mandu and it was tasty, but certainly no Sinpo Woori!

The flavor was good but lacked enough… oomph! There was some essential flavoring or spice needed, rather than just the taste of vegetables. Good, but not good enough.

A platter of side dishes was brought to the table, many of which were identical to sides served at restaurants in Korea and a few that were new to us.

The potatoes, especially, were exactly what they served in our school’s cafeteria. They always served potatoes and sesame seaweed (better than it sounds!) on the same day, so I’d eat that with rice and call it a meal–how starchy!

And, of course, kimchi:

For my entree, I went with kimchee bokum bap, stir-fried rice and kimchi. A nice, somewhat spicy flavor that just simple comfort food.

Melissa went with an old favorite, sundubu, tofu soup. It was good but way spicier than any sundubu we’d had in Korea! The poor girl’s mouth was on fire!

Overall, I would go back to Mandu again although I would not order mandu there. The entrees and side dishes were authentically Korean to the point I was having crazy flashbacks. It’s hard to believe that I lived in Seoul for an entire year and I’ve already been home for more than nine months!

Crazy!

Any Koreans (or anyone!) in the DC-area have a great Korean restaurant to recommend?

We finished up the evening in true Erin-and-Melissa style: with frozen yogurt at Mr. Yogato. Gotta love any place that has a flavor named after me! 😉

Have you had an experience that feels more like a dream than reality? What was it? To me, it feels like I dreamt living in Korea for all that time. How can it have actually happened?!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2010 5:45 pm

    Go to Annandale!! I’ve been to Mandu before but I found the flavors were a little muted compared to the other Korean restaurants in Annandale. Sounds like they’ve upped the ante!

    Yechon, Honey Pig, Bonchon…so good!

    • July 19, 2010 7:03 pm

      Specific restaurant? I’d definitely make the trek for some *good* food. This was good, but not amazing.

      • July 22, 2010 1:36 pm

        Yeah Yechon is pretty close to the highway and they have good BBQ. They’re also open pretty late, if you crave after drinking food hehe. Honey Pig is a BBQ place with better prices but limited English (but you should be fine with that). Bonchon serves Korean fried chickennnn!!

  2. July 20, 2010 3:23 pm

    I’ve never tried Korean food but it looks good! I’m hoping maybe I forget living in Vegas once I’m all done. LOL! Just kidding, it’s not that bad but I definitely will never come here on vacation once I move!

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