There aren’t many Adelaidians who haven’t heard of Mandoo. The little hole in a wall Korean dumpling shop on Bank Street has even been visited by Pete Evans. To illustrate how good this place is, there’s always a line outside even on weeknights. A family run business with Ki Dong Ra in the kitchen wrapping handmade dumplings every day while Mi Ran Lee also prepares the ingredients, sauces and other dishes. Service is very friendly and they are the most humble, loveliest people I’ve met.
The menu is very simple. Dumplings. Dumplings with chicken, pork or vegetarian filling then fried or steamed. Otherwise, bibimbap or hotpot is the go. Mandoo is Korean for dumplings, the Asian sort with filling. Not the dough only dumplings you put in stews. Most of us are familiar with Chinese dumplings that are filled with mince meat. This is a bit different. They are larger dumplings with a mix of meat, vegetable and glass noodle filling. Even for a meat lover like me I found it really delicious and a fresh change. It made the dumplings juicier. All the sauces and pickles are made in house with no artificial nasties. All the dipping sauces taste really good but of course, the recipe remains a secret.
We also had Bibimbap which is a Korean rice bowl with pickled and fresh vegetables, meat, egg and sauce. It’s a really vibrant looking dish when presented. You then mix everything in with sauce and enjoy the combination of flavours and texture. The serving size here is quite big so it’s very filling.
One of the dishes MiRan recommend to us was the Bi Bim Mandoo. A bit like the Bibimbap concept of mixing things in with sauce this dish comes with fried vegetable dumplings and a salad of finely shredded cabbage, spring onions, cucumber and carrot. You get a choice of spicy chilli sauce, sesame or mayonnaise for your sauce. We went for the spicy chilli and were told to toss the salad with the sauce then have it together with the dumpling. It was actually really delicious!
On a separate occasion we managed to try the Kimchi Hot Pot for 2-3 people. It sets you back $58 but when it says 2-3, it felt more like 4-5. The pot looks glorious. Carefully filled and stacked high with a variety of dumplings, Kimchi, tofu, pork, mushrooms, rice cake, noodles and other bits and pieces. It’s served with side dishes of Korean pickles and seaweed salad. You can order extra dumplings or noodles if you like. It was the middle of winter so this was ridiculously tasty and satisfying. There was so much flavour in every bite.
It’s no surprise why this place is always packed out and loved by all. I often see Korean students dine here too, clearly reminds them of home. The prices are very reasonable for what you get and the portions are generous. When asked about expanding he just said he’s happy the way it is, that way he can control the quality of the dumplings that go out. What a perfectionist.
3/26 Bank Street
08 8231 3303