‘Cult’ Korean Dumpling Brand Hits Australian Shores
Everybody loves dumplings. This is not just a cold hard fact, it’s an affirmation deeply ingrained into our very being, like a secret soft spot for reruns of The OC and a universal disdain for parking cops.
Dumplings are good for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For moments of sorrow and moments of happiness.
For a snack or a feast.
Every country has their version of dumplings, and now it’s Korea’s turn to share its traditional take on the fan favourite. Bibigo Mandu dumplings are set to hit our Australian supermarket shelves. Mandu are modern interpretations of the fabled ‘mimandu’ dumplings of the royal palace. These dumplings are made in the guise of sea cucumbers and the gentle waves of the sea, representing nature’s bountiful treasure for the king.
Importantly, the tasty little additions have amassed a near cult-like status, courtesy of its decadent flavour profile, ease of cooking and the support of a few famous faces. Celebrity chef Dan Hong is among them and revealed to us that whilst Mandu are only just reaching our shores now, he’s been all over the golden goodies for a couple of years.
“I didn’t realise Korea had their own style of dumpling until I visited in 2019,” Hong tells us. “They’re a favourite in our house because they’re so delicious and convenient, you can pan fry them from frozen.”
Larger than your average dumpling, Mandu are differentiated by the dough, a chewier style that’s kneaded over 3000 times to achieve the perfect consistency and texture. It’s this thin yet sumptuous wrapper that really allows the filling to shine.
“The filling is loose and super fresh,” Hong says. “Compared to other dumplings there are lots of veggies instead of just meat, and the addition of glass noodles brings such a great texture.”]
As the Merival executive chef explains, the veggie and kimchi Mandu are ideal for pan frying and serving with a simple dumpling sauce, that special dough cooking to a perfect crisp and the filling fresh, vibrant and flavourful. The smaller prawn Mandu went into a basic noodle soup, holding their shape, tenderness and flavour. As for Dan’s favourite?
“It’s got to be the kimchi,” he says. “It’s unique to the Korean Mandu and the acidity and spiciness gives them an extra layer of complexity you don’t find in other dumplings.”