Return of ‘In Search of a North Korean Dish’

Whelp, some friends and I decided to return to the North Korean restaurant, hidden behind city hall. We’ll look at four more dishes and maybe have some fun. Welcome back to Ribuk Sonmandu (리북 손만두)!


If you haven’t checked out my first view of this restaurant, have a quick look at ‘In Search for a North Korean Restaurant‘.

This time around our merry band decided to try the titular dish of the restaurant, mandu. Mandu is the Korean word for dumpling, but I’ll use the Korean word to refer to the Korean style. Ribuk’s mandu dishes all use their base dumpling as the focus. So if you just want the mandu, perhaps you’ll like:

Jeopsi Mandu Jeopsi Mandu (접시 만두)
Literally ‘a plate of mandu’
Other places would call this king mandu due to the size, but here they only have one size. One dish includes four of these mammoth dumplings, and they are a good start to a meal if you have a bunch of friends, or might suffice as the meal proper if you visit solo. While most mandu is stuffed with either kimchi or meat, this mandu is stuffed with minced tofu and veggies. Yum!

Though this one does look a bit like an ear.

For a main dish we decided against the cold soup and opted for a nice hot broth. So we ordered what looked like what everyone else around us was eating, jeongol.


Jeongol (전골)
Literally ‘Beef Stew’ or ‘Pork Casserole’ – I’m guessing the former.
Sounds a bit like ‘jungle’.

Despite the name, this concoction is chock full of veggies as well as another round of the afore mentioned mandu thrown into the mix. It is flavored by little strips of beef, but it feels like a kickback to a bygone era where meat was scarce and used as much for flavoring as it was for an ingredient. We only discovered the bits of beef half-way through the dish!

"Welcome to the jeongol, we've got fun and games!"
“Welcome to the jeongol, we’ve got fun and games!”

They don’t serve this individually, so if you want to try this dish, better bring some friends. The smallest dish of jeongol is the ‘medium’ which is good for three to four people. Possibly two starving stereotypical Americans if you don’t order anything else.

But this feast isn’t finished yet.

I had to try the:


Kimchimariguksu (김치마리국수)
Literally ‘kimchi put in noodles’.
This is virtually the same dish as the kimchimaibap, but with noodles rather than rice. The icy broth is still nice, but I find myself much more a fan of the cold rice than the cold noodles in this case. Either way, it is still a recommended dish.

However, if you like yourself some sundubu (spicy tofu soup), the you really need to try the:

Evernote Camera Roll 20130401 204123

Ddukbaegimandu (뚝배기만두)
Literally ‘earthware pot dumpling’
Initially I thought this was going to be mandu stuffed with radish kimchi because I mistook the 뚝배기 for 깍두기. Somehow. Yeah shoot me. Anyway, once I got the dish I was quickly corrected, and while mildly disappointed by not having mandu stuffed with ggakdugi (does that even exist?) I was pleasantly surprised by having this lovely dish. The name really tells you nothing other than its a hot dish with mandu in it. But this one was basically a spicy tofu/beef soup with two Ribuk mandu in the mix.

Suprise Beef

A surprise piece of beef is found. There isn’t much in there though; it’s mostly for flavoring.

As mentioned before, Ribuk Sonmandu can be found at:

리북 손만두
서울특별시 중구 무교로 17-13

Take City Hall Station, exit 4, and head behind City Hall. Turn left at that small alley, right at the next road, and another right down the tiny alley. You’ll see a sign. It’s a small twisting alley. Much fun.


Well, I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this delightful restaurant. Hopefully I’ll get a few more posts on exploring Korean culture and food in the upcoming month!

I guess calling it ear mandu sounds a tad odd.



  1. Jealous! Would you recommend the jeongol? It makes me happy that there’s mandu inside… I’m also jealous you got the kimchimariguksu, that’s what I wanted when we went there but they didn’t have it for some strange reason!

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