Every dumpling sold at Mandoo Korean Dumplings is hand pinched and twisted by owner Ki Dong Ra. Tall stacks of metal steamers tower over his station at the front counter, while orders for golden fried dumplings are called out in Korean to the back of the store.
Chicken, pork and vegetable dumplings can be ordered steamed or fried, but Mandoo’s specialty kimchi dumplings only come steamed. There’s a special delight in taking a bite from your dumpling before dunking it in the ganjang sauce – a mixture of soy, vinegar, sesame, shallots and chilli powder. Everyone gets their own saucer, so there are no problems with double dipping.
The dumplings are also served in steaming hot pots or bowls of dumpling soup, or you can skip them altogether and opt for bibimbap, which carefully organises meat, salad, tofu and vegetables atop a bed of rice.
A lack of liquor licence means you can’t enjoy a Korean beer or soju, but the pots of green tea seem better suited to the hushed atmosphere. Like the food, they’re brought to the table quickly and quietly, ensuring polite and efficient service that keeps the lunchtime line-ups churning through.