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The Secret Korean Foodie Life > Yeonnamdong

[Yeonnamdong] The Secret Korean Foodie Life #84 - E-Pum Bunsik (이품분식)






As introduced in our first opening for “Yeonnam-dong,” this small neighborhood is a place the Chinese immigrants in Korea settled down and showed off their Korean-Chinese fusion cuisines along a small street full of small individual shops that boast uniqueness. And one of the first places that caught immediate attention in this street was “E-Pum Bunsik,” a super famous place for their “Tong Mandoo (that are Fried Dumplings usually called “Gun Mandoo” in Korean)” that was told like a legend among the local Koreans as a place for super tasty but super cheap food.


 



We ordered the super famous “Tong Mandoo (Fried Dumplings),” which was firstly steam-cooked completely before getting dumped in the fryer to get a hot-oil bath to turn into a “Gun Mandoo” (Usually “Gun” a short form of “Gu-un” that means grilled or pan-fried, but for “Gun Mandoos” sold at Korean-Chinese restaurants, it means to be deep-fried). And finally our freshly fried “Tong Mandoos” arrived and we were shocked in how massively big they were… and 10 of these at 5,000won was definitely a bargain close to nothing.





And the most important…taste…? It was quite a delight, the super crispy outer skin, almost like some-kind of biscuit, crumbled to show the savory and juicy fillings that filled the massive dumpling. Certainly a taste that was familiar, just like any “Gun Mandoo” sold at the Korean-Chinese restaurants but twice as bigger and half the price…




After being quite impressed with the quality of these “Tong Mandoos” we decided to order another favorite dish of this place – the “Tangsuyuk (Korean style version of Sweet and Sour Pork).” At first, before we arrived at “E-Pum Bunsik,” we didn’t expect it to be 100% Korean cuisine, but neither did we think it was something close to 100% “Chinese” cuisine – we thought it was the usual Korean-Chinese fusion cuisine that we are used in seeing in Korea and therefore the “Tangsuyuk” just to be like the “Tong Mandoo” that was of a familiar taste at half of the price of any Korean-Chinese restaurant.



But our expectations were wrong and actually this place turned out to cook the “Tangsuyuk” in the Chinese way using Chinese spices and basically without any Korean inside it and not being “Sweet” or “Sour” at all… which was a surprise… but the “Tangsuyuk” here introduced us to a new type of “Tangsuyuk” that we never tasted before – a very savory and slightly salty version with scent of hot peppers and the popular Chinese spice “Star Anise (called Pal-gak in Korean).” This “Tangsuyuk” definitely has a taste of its own, but I think I prefer the Korean style sweet and sour pork “Tangsuyuk” more…


Although “E-Pum Bunsik’s” food was not a Korean dish or foreign dish that had a taste that is so good to be only found in Korea, we anyways gave it a try for the sake of being here anyways and to check out what made it so famous among the local Koreans. And I guess as in the name “E-Pum Bunsik” where “Bunsik’s” dictionary meaning is “flour based food,” but actually Koreans use it to call humble “Street Food” like “Tteokbokki” or “Sun-dae (Korean sausage),” this was a humble street food place that sold restaurant quality food at a street food price with a taste not to be found elsewhere in Korea. So I would rather recommend this place to our “Korean” readers if they wanted to taste what something more close to real “Chinese” food tasted like at very reasonable price.




​Address

184, Sungmisan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 성미산로 184​




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