Amongst the long line of Korean restaurants along Havana Street in Aurora, Seoul ManDoo is the newest addition dedicated solely to traditional street-food-style dumplings. Though the shop opened nearly two months ago on May 15, owner JW Lee isn’t new to the Colorado dining scene. With over 20 years of chef experience, Lee started young learning tips and tricks in South Korea where he was born. At the age of 27, he moved to Colorado and set out to fill Denver with delicious Korean concepts. He currently owns Seoul BBQ and Hot Pot, Menya, Wasabi and ThankSool Pocha and Tofu House.
In Korean cuisine, these familiar dumplings are known as mandu — sheets of dough filled with meat or vegetables and delicately pinched closed. These one-bite pouches come steamed, boiled or fried. For those unaccustomed to the world of authentic Korean mandu, Seoul ManDoo offers a good jumping-off point.
Lee put his family recipe to work in creating Seoul Mandoo’s limited menu. For now, the fare includes both homemade small dumplings ($8 for 6) and giant steamed dumplings ($12 for 4). The small mandu is filled with a mixture of either steamed meat and kimchi or fried meat and kimchi. The giant steamed dumplings are packed with the choice of meat, kimchi or Galbi—Korean barbecue. The meat and kimchi dumplings are also sold frozen for take-out ($20 for 25).
Each sheet of dough, depending on the order, is stuffed with chopped chives, cabbage, zucchini, onion, kimchi, radish, glass noodles or pork with a homemade chili sauce for dipping.
Going forward, the team behind this dumpling shop plan to add a spicy ramen and rice cake dish among other noodle bowls. Lee hopes any new additions to the menu will showcase real street food from Seoul.
Because Seoul ManDoo had a bit of a challenging start with dine-in restrictions, this little dumpling shop is embracing the change and taking full advantage of a to-go and self-service concept to really launch its mandu to the masses.
Seoul ManDoo is located at 2222 S. Havana St., Aurora. It is open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
All Photos By Kori Hazel