I think I’ve become one of those Asian people who rove around constantly looking for more Asian food. And you know what? I’m going to own that.
If there was a medical condition, I think I would be known as a dumpling-head. And I’m feeding my addiction with Korean style dumplings at The Mandoo Dining.
I first discovered The Mandoo Dining in Eastwood when I was craving some cold spicy noodles to take home for dinner. I absolutely loved that this family-run restaurant was right round the corner from home, and was absolutely delighted when I received an email inviting me back to try some of the other dishes from the menu.
Before we started the meal, this lovely fresh gutjeri was set down at our table. Described as more of a fresh salad than a fermented pickle like kimchi.
I reviewed these Kimchi Mandoos before, and I’m happy to report that they’re still hearty and good. Translucent dumpling skin encases a pork, kimchi, cabbage and sweet potato noodle filling, and steamed in a metal tiered steamer to order.
The Prawn Dumpling also uses a base of pork, cabbage and sweet potato noodles, but this time with a delicately flavoured prawn. As much as I like kimchi dumplings, I found these prawn ones absolutely addictive, and there was just something about that mixture with the firm prawn that kept me wanting more.
We also wanted to try their noodles – so we got a Spicy Beef Noodle Soup and a Cold Spicy Noodle Soup as well. The broth for the spicy beef noodle soup is made primarily from bones, lending it a milky consistency. Much like a beef tonkotsu broth.
Spices are then added to it, and the hot broth joins thick wheat noodles, gosari – Korean fernbrake – mushrooms, sliced beef, spring onions, and blanched bean sprouts. The massive bowl of goodness was what the doctor ordered on a depressing, rainy, winters’ night, and was hearty and generous enough to feed two people.
And I can’t go to The Mandoo Dining without getting my favourite – or a version of my favourite – cold noodles. Chewy wheat noodles sits in a pool of flavourful, tangy broth, and is topped with chilli paste, pickled radish, slivers of cucumber, and half a hard boiled egg. I happily slurp up the spicy broth – not nearly as spicy as the dry version because of the dilution from the soup – fishing around with my spoon for any errant bits of noodles and pickles. I love that you can customise your level of spiciness – I always go for a 3 on the dry noodles for a kick in the pants that transports me right back to Asia – and I look forward to contrast of the burning mouth and sweating forehead with the cool refreshing noodles and pickles.
And just when I felt like I couldn’t eat a bite more, we were very kindly given sweet red buns to take home with us. Sweet red bean paste fills a fluffy steamed bun, that is shaped flatter that the Chinese red bean buns that I’m used to.
As always, I’ve learned more about Korean cuisine from this family-run restaurant. Turns out, dumplings – that have been relegated to side-dish status by most Asian cultures – are considered main meals in Korea, which explains their large sizes. According to James, who is the son of the owners, these dumplings are just slightly larger than home-made Korean dumplings, and are of a similar portion to dumpling houses in Korea.
All the dumplings for The Mandoo Dining are made on site – the dude at the window is still there! – and they’ve got a supervising chef between both the Eastwood and Strathfield outlets to ensure consistency in quality. It’s clear to me that this restaurant and the family own owns it are proud of the food that they put in front of you, and are eager to share this love with anyone who takes an interest.
The Mandoo Dining
02 9874 4002
62-80 Rowe St
Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of The Mandoo Dining.