It has been a while since I have posted a restaurant review on this blog. I tend to only review restaurants in Geumsan Myeon in Jinju, because I work in the region. This Geumsan is not to be confused with Geumsan county in Choong Choong do (possibly Jeon-buk) that is famous for ginseng. This Geumsan just happens to be a newly developed region in Jinju that boasts breathtaking vistas of Wol ah san, and a small lake called Geumho Ji.
Anyway, Geumsan is known in Jinju as being famous for duck meat. I have never been to the famous duck restaurant out here, but I do eat lunch at many of the different places to have lunch. Today I went to 태우 만두 (Tay-oo man-du)
This spot only blipped up on my radar a few months ago while I was teaching some horrendous night classes. One rainy night I decided that having a nice and greasy order of fried mandu sounded good so I tried to go to a local Jja Jjang myun place. It turned out that that place was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so I walked down the street a pace. Right in front of the main bus stop in town the Mandu place jumped out at me.
Recently the place changed its facade and started serving mandu. In times past they served Ggojji and corn dogs with french fries sticking to them. I think that the owners stayed the same and just started making mandu. Interestingly enough, their new sign reads 30년 정통, despite the sign being brand new and anyone who has lived or worked in Geumsan knows that that place hasn't been there for 30 years.
All of that aside, the mandu is delicious. I think the difference in good and merely palatable mandu is if it is home made or not. Most Chinese delivery places or Naeng myun places that serve mandu just plop a bag of frozen mandu into a vat of hot oil or hot water and serve that, but home made mandu is really something special.
For myself I have ordered four different kinds of mandu in my history of dealing with Tay Oo mandu.
왕만두 King Mandu I was able to eat this after few times of going there. They only have this one sometimes. The time that I did have it, it was alright, but I'm not a big fan of "King Mandu." However, if you go to Mister Donut franchises in Japan, the king mandu, or big gyoza that you get there are fantastic.
김치 만두 Once again, not always available but always pretty good. The outer noodle is nice and tender and the Kimchi barf inside is nicely seasoned. Served with 단무지 (yellow pickled radish) this meal is a winner.
군 만두 My only disappointment with the deep fried mandu from Tay-oo mandu is that I can't get the things "to go," so that I can take them home to eat them while drinking a beer in front of the television in my underwear. I suppose that I could, but i live a good 25 minute bus ride from Geumsan and part of what makes this mandu so nice is that it is fresh. If I took them home they would probably get all cold and greasy, also put me off of eating mandu. My wife would also yell at me for being so gross. But a good hand made fried mandu is nice and tender in the middle and crispy on the outside.
비빔 만두 This bibim mandu is simply the fried mandu with pepper paste and vegetables on the top. It is pretty good compared to other versions of bibim mandu where places just take the mandu skins, deep fry them, and then put some vegetables and pepper paste next to the Mandu skins.
Service The lady who seems to be the owner of the place, doesn't seem to be the happiest person in the world, but she fills the orders quickly and is responsive to problems that might occur. I had some Kimchi mandu today that was a bit cold in the middle, so I complained about it and she fixed the problem right a way. Also not a place for people who can't read Korean.
Next time you are in Geumsan and want a nice snack, stop by Tay Oo mandu. I would recommend any of their fine mandus with a nice cold hite or what ever Korean beer they sell there.