Wherever you go in Korea you’re never far from great mandu, and even those who are partial to a good gyoza are spoiled for choice. But when it comes to the Chinese variety, good dumplings are thin on the ground; and having been lucky enough to try the real thing in Sydney, Hong Kong and various other points around the globe, it didn’t take me long to work out that Seoul dim sum is hit and miss at best and pretty rubbish most of the time.
One of things I miss about living in the leafy West End of Glasgow is the idea of a neighborhood bistro – somewhere near your house that you can drop in for a good, reasonably priced meal, usually Italian or French. Now, perhaps I’m biased because it’s 90 seconds from my front door (it used to be 60 seconds, but the crabby old halmoni next door has locked her gate to stop us using the alleyway outside her house as a short cut). But La Marmite, a new French restaurant in Haebangchon, looks like it might be able to fill that role. It comes at a price, as we’ll see, but it’s well worth your time.
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.
Taking up the funky space once occupied by the late lamented Hassdog is a new-ish venture called Head Lock Sandwich (헤드락), which has been operating for a couple of months now. The concept is simple: prawn sandwiches (or shrimp, if you prefer).
[UPDATE, JULY 2017: This location has now closed, unfortunately.]