While idling at Insadong area the other day, we meandered in and out of the small alleys on the side in search for food and found ourselves peeking at an ajumma in the midst of frying haemul pajjeon (seafood pancake) by a window. A closer look into the window also revealed rows and rows of gigantic dumplings sitting politely on a bamboo tray by the countertop. They looked so appetizing we just had to go in and check out what they were all about.
Sadong Myeonok specializes in Hwanghae-style mandoo (Korean dumplings; and I googled what Hwanghae-style means, it means North Korean-style) that are boiled, not steamed. The unmistakable characteristic of the mandoo found in this restaurant is its size. Definitely muuuuch larger than the ones I normally get at Chinese places.
₩7000 for mandoo-guk (dumpling soup). Considering how touristy Insadong area is, my mom and I wondered how many dumplings we’d be getting in one serving.
We also ordered haemul pajjeon (seafood pancake), one of my dad’s fave Korean eats. ₩12,000 for the pancake with “marine products”… *sniggers*
I kid you not, one dumpling is nearly as large as my fist! Three of these babies in one serving for 7000 is a decent price. Seriously oversized, these mandoos are sturdy and chewy. The pork and scallion filling was juicy, not soggy or falling apart all over the place, and every munch was very satisfying. The broth was robust and had thin slices of beef too. Overall I find the flavors to be humble and simple, as in nothing mad fancy or overly seasoned. Yes, I would have this again next time.
And then the Haemul Pajjeon arrived. I used to love eating this Korean pancake a lot, especially back in the days when the party people and I would tumble into a Korean restaurant after clubbing coz that’s how Korean restaurants in NYC roll, ie. open 24 hours and one of the perfect destinations for suppers. The delectable seafood aroma in crispy chewy batter was nice to nibble on while ears were still pounding from bass-heavy club beats. Hungry stomachs filled with one Jagermeister shot too many would welcome this sumptuous dish.
The version served here is luscious, packed with an assortment of seafood but most notably, baby oysters that are so succulent and deliciously briny. Back in NYC, this would be served with a dipping sauce of soy, chopped scallions and sesame seeds. But not here, it’s flavorful on its own and no additional dipping sauces required. The exterior is crispy while the inside is soft and fluffy, like an omelette.
Highly recommend this place. Not bad at all for a random discovery! If anyone’s visiting Seoul and want to check it out, look for the building in Insadong with the billboard advertising for a hanbok photo studio, and the small alley that leads to Sadong Myeonok is on its right.
Insadong 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul