Folks, I’ve gone a bit dumpling crazy recently and its all due to this little place on Bank Street, tucked away off Hindley Street in Adelaide’s city centre. The place is called Mandoo which from what I can surmise is the Korean word for dumpling. There’s other dumpling places in Adelaide. Some are good, some are great and some are not. This place however is really really good and for lots of reasons.
Firstly, unlike so many franchised kitsch places popping up everywhere, this is family owned. A husband a wife team who bend over backwards to accomodate you is the most endearing form of hospitality you can have bestowed upon you. Hand made dumplings in your choice of pork, chicken, vegetable, kimchi and served either steamed, fried or boiled are lovingly made by the owner right in front of you. Seeing someone make these things shows you not just a level of skill and attention to detail that would have many a 5 star chef in envy but also demonstrates a devotion to a product that is both rare and admirable. When you go there and see row upon row of perfect dumplings, it brings thoughts of ramen, soba, sushi joints you hear about in Japan with individuals dedicated to their craft, who strive with each morsel of food to create the singular most perfect expression of their chosen profession, in this case the humble dumpling.
The master at work. Handforged dumplings.
The other great thing about this place is that its cheap too. A serve of 8 dumplings sets you back a mere $10 and for the light luncher, this is an offer almost too good to be true. Each serve comes with a little green salad, some mashed potato and some dipping sauce. This dipping sauce is reminiscent of kimchi, and I’m guessing it contains much of the same flavouring agents as our favourite korean side dish.
Speaking of kimchi though, one of the star items on the menu are the kimchi dumplings. These things are so good, they should be classed as a food group. They have all the things you like about kimchi, but in dumpling format. Do I need to say any more?
Steamed Dumplings – ‘Jjim Mandoo’
Fried Dumplings – ‘Goon Mandoo’
The dumpling soup or ‘Mandoo Guk’, for $10.99 is another wonderful find. In this case, dumplings with a delicately flavoured dashi style broth. In particular with this dish, the flavour of the dashi broth was sublime with the lovely smoky overtones of the bonito evident but not overpowering. For those of you who like me love their ramen and noodle soup dishes, this is the one for you.
Dumpling Soup – ‘Mandoo Guk’
Overall, this was a most pleasing find. The food was divine and the service was great. It is just so nice to have people who really want to show you what they are all about and bend over backwards to tell their story. Whilst it isn’t decked out to the nines, the fit out is nice, and its worth noticing the faux-wooden floor lino with cute attentions to detail that provide an overall experience that I am longing to have again.
Sure to be popular with an ever growing ‘local’ student population, Mandoo is totally worth the visit.
Shop 3, 26 Bank Street
Ph: 08 8231 3303