Bite-sized review: Stacked
Dumplings… Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Uzbek, Polish, and whatever other nationalities independently or collectively came up with this miracle food, you have my everlasting thanks. As the years creep on and I begin to look more like a dumpling, I seek out these glistening sacs of gorgeousness wherever I can find them. So imagine my delight to encounter Stacked, a brand new dumpling bar at the foot of Itaewon’s hottest food street overlooking Noksapyeong station.
The concept behind Stacked is very simple: they serve dumplings. Lots of different types of dumplings. Once you’ve grasped that simple truth, there’s not really a whole lot to say. So, how are the dumplings?
Having tried two different varieties on my visit, I’d say the answer is; fine, but nothing memorable. Sorry to deflate your dumpling wrapper, but read on.
First up were the Japanese style gyoza dumplings (above). My benchmark for basic gyoza in Itaewon is Menya Sandaime, where they are flavourful and come with a nice flash-fried crust on the bottom. Stacked’s gyoza were nice, but not quite in the same league – 7 out of 10 for texture, 7 out of 10 for taste.
My all time favourite Chinese dim sum dish is har gao – shrimp dumplings – which I will freely admit to wolfing down four or eight at a time when I’m anywhere near China, Hong Kong or anywhere that serves passable ones. At their best, they are a thing of wonder, pink prawn gestating inside translucent skins like a larva waiting to hatch. These “ghost har gao” (below) were cute, with two little sesame seeds making little eyes on the top so that they looked like fat, gelatinous tadpoles.
Again, for both texture and flavour they got pass marks, but probably no more – the skins just a little too thick and unyielding, the flavour pretty decent but gone in sixty seconds. I’d give these six out of ten on both counts.
We got some soy, shredded ginger and pickle with our dumplings – I’m a big fan of the ginger so this was a plus.
Stacked serve the usual range of (I’m assuming) Ka-Brew beers. The Pilsner style was ice cold and refreshing and it really hit the spot.
The menu has a decent range of dumplings, though if you don’t like shrimp I’d say your choice is far more limited. There’s also some random weird things on the menu like an empanada and a samosa, and even a “mozzarella cheese and apple dumpling” which I will never in my life order, no matter how hungry I am. Prices are on the high side of reasonable – two menu items and two small beers set us back 25,000 won.
Service was brisk, friendly and very efficient. We sat at a small counter on the ground floor watching our food steam in front of us, but there are two further floors on top of that, stacked just like baskets of dumplings.
Stacked are open from 11am until 11pm seven nights a week, although they took last orders at 10:15pm when I was there last night. Given its convenience and location, I’ll be back to try other items on their menu, and I’m very glad it exists, but I couldn’t in all honesty say that what I’ve tried so far got me very excited. It’s worth a look if you’re in the neighbourhood, though, and I can see myself coming here for a couple of beers and a bite on my way home from work.
- Category: Chinese
- Price: $$$$
- Must try: Um… Japanese gyoza (6,000 won)
- Subway: Itaewon Station (녹사평역) exit 2
- Directions: Stacked is on the Itaewon main road, just at the foot of the hill leading up to Manimal, Gino’s NY Pizza and Coreanos. It’s just opposite McDonald’s and Starbucks.
- Hours: 11am – 11pm, seven days a week. (Last food orders around 10-10:15pm)