>> 명인만두 Myung In Dumplings | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

명인만두 Myung In Dumplings

SOUTH KOREA 🇰🇷
W. Olympic Blvd. facade

COVID-19 UPDATE: The small restaurant is open for dine-in meals, masks are required when not eating at the table.


Because of the newfound popularity with communities outside of Koreatown that came with the feature of Myung In Dumplings on Parts Unknown in 2013, the restaurant started opening branches in all directions. As far away as Garden Grove and Buena Park in Orange County, Diamond Bar to the east, Torrance in the South Bay and Northridge in the Valley, patrons could grab almost replica versions of the dumplings artist David Choe originally thought worthy to visit for the program.

But it is still the original location on Olympic that brings the most joy, and affords you the opportunity to sit at the same table and see photos of that day. You also get to enjoy the constant dumpling construction going on practically in the dining room just behind a plexiglass screen.

Restaurant interior

The word in Korean for any type of dumpling is 만두 or mandu, and this will be modified with another word or words to describe whether a dumpling is steamed, pan fried, boiled, or deep fried. The "king" here at Myung In is the 왕만두 wang mandu ($10.50, below), called the king steam dumpling in English.

This dumpling is first (and second) on the menu, probably the most ordered, and filled with pork and either leek or kimchi. Arriving as a plate of four softball-sized beauties, even picking it up and deciding how to attack it is a pleasure. The bun itself is spongy and dense, and can be an absolute gut-buster if you had plans to eat a lot more.

King steam dumpling with pork & vegetable

Spicy steam dumpling with pork & shrimp
Spicy steam dumpling with pork & shrimp ($13.99)

Korean-style king steam dumpling w/ pork & kimchi

While most dumplings always have their Chinese equivalent or inspiration, one dumpling that stands out as distinctly Korean if only for its shape is the 찐만두 jjin mandu ($10.50, above and below). In English, this is described as "Korean style king steam dumpling" on the menu.

These are packed with a large ball of ground pork and leek and expertly folded into its well-known shape. It does not necessarily need any dipping sauce, but it does pair well with the chili oil that shows up with most orders. It can also be combined with the spicy pickled daikon banchan they always serve that also contains cucumbers and jalapeños.

Korean-style king steam dumpling w/ pork & kimchi

Pork & shrimp shaomai
Pork & shrimp shaomai ($13.99)

If you feel like soup and also dumplings, they have 만두국 mandu-guk, a warming combination of both. Or there are rice noodle soups served with beef. The spicy option is called spice soup with beef & vegetable ($13.99, below), and is indeed quite spicy. It gets an earthy flavor from its dried chilies and string beans, which take the same shape as the shredded beef that tops the clear noodles.

Say yes to the offer of a small bowl of white rice, which makes for great spoonfuls with the spicy deep red broth. Satisfaction guaranteed no matter what you end up ordering from this Koreatown classic.

Spicy soup with beef and vegetables

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