Cheap Eats in Seoul: Mapo Mandu (Galbi Dumplings!)


Those of you who actively seek out cheap eats in Seoul are most likely already familiar with Mapo Mandu. For the rest of you, I know what you’re thinking—”You had me at galbi dumplings. Now just shut up and tell me where it is!” (Spoiler: It’s a chain restaurant with multiple locations, I go to the branch right out of Exit 1 at Sinchon Station.) If for some unfathomable reason you’re still not convinced, here’s the kicker: It’s only 3,000 won.

Galbi. Mandu. 3,000 won. What other reason do you need?

If you’ve never heard of Mapo Mandu, you’ve probably never had galbi dumplings either. There’s a reason for that—Mapo Mandu’s galbi dumplings are so good they went ahead and patented their dish. For the price of half a coffee in Seoul, you get ten pieces of mouth-watering dumplings stuffed with minced, marinated beef that you can’t get anywhere else.

You can sit down in the restaurant or take the food to go. Either way, you get your food in a matter of minutes (Check out this ajumma‘s skill in offloading dumplings to go!).

Mapo Mandu is a bunsikjip (분식집), or “snack restaurant,” which means it serves other inexpensive Korean dishes like gimbaptteokbokki, and sundae (collectively referred to as bunsik).

In addition to mandu, you can get other bunsik foods like odengtteokbokki, and sundae.

I personally can’t vouch for the taste of the other bunsik, as each of the four times I went to the restaurant, I ended up ordering the galbi mandu instead. Yeah, it’s that good. I’m sure the other items are tasty as well, but they’re no galbi mandu. If you’re famished, one order of the dumplings will probably not suffice, so feel free in that case to supplement it with another dish. Or, you know, you could get another order of the galbi dumplings. Have I mentioned the galbi dumplings yet?

Mapo Mandu. Sh*t’s so good it’s patented. (Mapo Mandu, feel free to use my slogan. I accept cash, dumplings, and all credit cards except Discover.)

Info (for the main branch):