Getting authentic Chinese dumplings is difficult in Seoul despite its proximity to the Middle Country. But at Mr. Suhwang Dumpling, you can get a taste of the real thing at an affordable price. Though the xiaolongbao here has quite a thick skin, the rich juice and the savory, soft pork filling is enough to redeem it. Each dumpling is stuffed to the brim with delicious filling and a plate of these could easily serve as a meal.
Try Google-ing Sindang-dong. You’ll be bombarded with images and links to tteokbokki. After all, the alleys of Tteokbokki Town, reminiscent of the 80s, have a long history of the street food dating back to the 50s. However, for a little change in menu within the same district is Baozi, a restaurant specialized in Chinese style dumplings. The main dish, baozi (a steamed bun sometimes filled with meat or vegetables) comes in two sizes, King or Little. While the rest of the mandu (dumplings) menu includes gyoza, fried gyoza and jjinppang (steamed bun). They also serve cold buckwheat noodles and manduguk (dumping soup). While you can choose between mild and spicy for the baozi and gyoza, the spicy, (described as Shin Ramyeon’s level of spiciness by the employee) is the recommended choice. If you can’t take the spice, ask the chef to mix the two flavors. The softness of the baozi bread goes in well with the texture of the filling, consisted with a generous amount of chives. The Little version comes in 6 and is enough to be called a meal. As for the gyoza, it has the same filling but the skin made with sticky rice has a chewy texture. With a perfect combination of crispy and chewy, the gyoza will have you thirsty for some beer. At the friendly price of 5,000 won to 6,000 won, and with only 3 tables on the first floor and a few more in the basement, Baozi definitely gives off a cozy ambience which makes it a great place to enjoy a dumpling meal.
If you’re on the search for a light and budget meal without forgoing taste, Jonny Dumpling is the answer to your problems. Don’t be fooled by the joint’s humble décor, the food here is notoriously good. Jonny Dumpling specializes in handmade Chinese dumplings and serves them in five different varieties. The lumpy dough shell hides a chewy texture and while all of them are worth a try, the boiled shrimp dumplings and half-moon dumplings are indisputably the best. Each shrimp dumpling cuddles a whole shrimp, which releases a hearty broth at first bite, much like xiao long bao. The half-moon dumplings are winged and pan-fried only on one side, similar to the Japanese gyoza, while the other side maintains its steamed form. When going with a friend, get the best of both worlds and order one boiled and the other fried.