Jaha Sonmandu $$
245-2 Buam-dong, Jongno-gu
HOURS: Daily 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
COST: Entrées ₩10,000-25,000
SUBWAY: Gyeongbokgung (Line 3)
Setting, skill, and experience help this restaurant take the art of mandu (dumplings) to entirely new heights. Based in a bright, airy house with generous views over the laid-back Buam-dong neighborhood, Jaha Sonmandu basically only does dumplings, but does them exceptionally well—these are fresh, handmade bundles of goodness with taut skins and flavorful pork, scallion, or kimchi stuffing that are served steamed or in savory soups and stews.
Prices are a bit on the high side for these dishes, and service is frequently rushed—a byproduct of the restaurant’s enduring popularity. But the place fully deserves its city-wide renown, and the generous portions will satisfy all but the most severe hunger pangs.
© Jonathan Hopfner from Moon Seoul, 1st Edition