Part 1: Hangjeongsal Suyuk 항정살수육 at one of my favorite mom n pop eateries. This might be the only place you can find it boiled instead of grilled – highlighting its unique firm yet springy texture – and it’s the only place selling it at a ridiculous price point of 7,000 won for roughly 200 grams. No funky off-smells unlike other special cuts because it’s boiled with coffee grinds or doenjang (maybe both?), creating noticeable browning on the exterior. Other terrific dishes on the menu, but this dish alone is worth traveling for. Note: hangjeongsal is a special cut from the neck area with approx. 600 grams being procured from a single pig.
Part 2: “My husband and I had a successful shop selling house-made mandu and naengmyeon in Yongdu-dong for over two decades. But over time, my husband’s health deteriorated and we wanted something less stressful, so we chose this quiet residential area for our restaurant/home. It’s been a welcome change of scenery. Unbelievably, we’re going on our 15th year of business and we have a growing menu to prove it, thanks in part to local regulars and nearby university art students recommending/demanding certain dishes. I’m pretty sure, among them, there’ll be something that you’ll enjoy, too.”
Pictured is more bomb food from this hidden gem in Seokgwan-dong: gochujang moksal gui (spicy grilled pork neck) 고추장목살구이 and tteok mandu guk (dumplings and rice cake soup) 떡만두국 for 7 and 6,000 won, respectively.
Part 3: “We take no short cuts when making any of our dishes. The potatoes for gamja jeon (potato pancake) are grated by hand, all of our meats are boiled for a few hours in aromatics before being frozen and cooked in a pressure cooker upon order, kimchi varieties are made in-house, and we’re fortunate to make new banchan dishes daily by using fresh seasonal produce sold at our small outdoor market. We even bring to life a plain bowl of rice by adding nokdu (mung beans). We’ve been doing this for a very long time and you learn really quickly that there are no short cuts when it comes to making proper Korean food.”
Last set of pictures as I worked my way down the menu here at Mandu and Naengmyeon, featuring aforementioned nokdu rice served alongside a mean bowl of kimchi jjigae (6,000 won), gamja jeon (6,000), bossam (10,000), mandu kimchi galbi jjim (8,000), and bibim makguksu (6,000). The latter two dishes – which I looked forward to the most – were slightly disappointing as the sauce for both was cloyingly sweet. However, that’s the only minor blemish at this terrific mom n pop restaurant that I’m lucky to have found in my neighborhood.
Food: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: 5 out of 5 stars
Mandu and Naengmyeon 만두와냉면
Address: 332-390 Seokgwan-dong, Seongbuk-gu (성북구 석관동 332-390)
Hours: Open every day 10:00 am ~ 10:00 pm
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/xZxl8QtQ