Dumplings galore at The Mandoo, Strathfield

Monday, July 06, 2015

Among the many, many Korean BBQ restaurants in Strathfield, maintaining its presence on a relatively small, narrow corner shopfront, lies The Mandoo. It’s a handmade dumpling and noodle restaurant, with cute dumpling characters dancing on the front windows above a cluster of Korean and English menu items.

From one window you can glimpse trays and trays of freshly made buns and dumplings lined up ready for the steamer.

The draw here for the crowds, are the handmade dumplings – or Mandu in Korean. These dominate the short, sharp menu, which also features soups and noodle soups, and enable a quick turnover and cheerfully cheap prices.

The restaurant seats only about 25 people and the service is welcoming and attentive. On the night we visit a homely, comforting vibe fills the air and the close-set tables are filled mostly by Koreans, a good sign in a suburb which has one of the largest Korean populations in Sydney. 

Along one side of the interior are the open kitchen and dumpling area, and cute personalised banners decorate the kitchen pass.


Central to Korean cuisine, banchan are complimentary side dishes which arrive after we order – spicy kimchi and pickled lengths of pure white daikon.

Dumpling sampler ($15)

When presented with the inevitable dilemma of yearning to try so many of the dumpling varieties with only a small number of people, the dumpling sampler is the perfect option to choose. This features one of each of the six most popular dumpling varieties – a pork bun, kimchi bun, BBQ Galbi pork bun, pork dumpling, kimchi dumpling and a prawn and pork dumpling. 

Both the pork and kimchi fillings are the same for the dumpling and bun – the pork is a mix of clear noodles, flavoursome pork and shallots, and the kimchi has a slightly more paste-like, orange-tinted filling as well as the noodles and pork. The bun dough is fluffy and perfectly pleated, plump and steaming hot. 

The Mandu are filled to the brim of their thin skins, folded over in the signature style which resembles a chubby tortellini. 

BBQ Galbi Pork Bun 

The Galbi BBQ pork bun has a wonderful smoky flavour, while the prawn and pork dumpling is filled with a whole prawn, tail and all, laid over pork filling. Both the Mandu and buns are steamed to perfection; fresh from the steamer they the perfect comfort food.

Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup ($15)

Among the noodle soup items on the menu are cold noodle soup, spicy chewy noodles, kimchi noodle soup and beef noodle soup. We glimpse many other diners enjoying dumpling soups, which come in a range of spice levels, as well as authentic spicy cold noodles.

The spicy seafood noodle soup is laced with a layer of chilli, which intensifies as we reach the bottom of the bowl. We love the springy, chewy, squiggly texture of the noodles which come alive in the deeply aromatic seafood broth. 

In the soup are chunks of white fish, squid, a few prawns, a couple of mussels and a whole crab claw, as well as slivers of spring onion and bean sprouts. It’s a perfect choice for a cold winter night, though the non-chilli option is best for those who can't take too much heat. 

Having enjoyed a generous, filling meal which leaves us only $30 out of pocket, The Mandoo serves authentic, delicious and cheap Korean food that is a wonderful alternative to the many Korean BBQ joints in Strathfield. It’s cute (what’s not to love about dumpling cartoons?), fast, and wallet-friendly, and there’s nothing better on a cold Winter’s day than snuggling up to a steamer of plump, hot dumplings and a big bowl of Korean noodles.

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  1. oh ... I love korean dumplings!
    They are almost like chinese buns!
    But the spicy seafood soup looks so hearty for winter right now!