Korean Food : Gun Mandu Service, Free dumplings : Chinese Restaurant.

Dad ordered a Sweet and Sour pork, called Tangsuyuk, to the chinese restaurant. It was around 8:30 in the evening, that means it was a bit late for dinner time in Korean culture. Actually, I ate dinner about 1 hour before. But I am a big fan of Tangsuyuk, so I was no doubt to join him.

gun mandu dumpling

Tangsuyuk was delivered half an hour later. The odors of food whirled around the living room, and stimulated my appetite regardless my full stomach. I hurried to wrapped them off, and see the luminous color of the sauce and the crisps of the deep-fried pork. They looked so much delicious.

gun mandu dumplinggun mandu dumplingThe colors of the sauce is so beautiful.

A plate of dumplings, called Gun-Mandu in Korean, lay beside the Tangsuyuk, They are always served like a combo in my town restaurant. I don’t pay extra for dumplings, shortly they are totally free. They are an unseparable package according to my notion.

gun mandu dumpling

Anyway, at that moment, I was happy with free stuff.

Gun Mandu Service : Free Dumplings

In Korea, it is common to provide free dumplings, Gun-mandu, if ordering over a certain price in the chinese restaurant. The exact figure for free dumplings is not assured. It varies depending on the region, town, and each restaurant.

This gap of figures was put up as a comedy(gag)-show topic, how much should be the standard for free dumplings. Some say cheaper is better, and others insist more than 15,000won. No matter how much is correct, there is one premise, Dumplings are free. 

Owners gain any margin?
Picking up a dumpling, all of a sudden, I came up with a wondering; Whether they gain any margin, offering a dozen of dumplings.

Economy of Scale?

I supposed they sold this food product according to quick-returns policy. Though it leaves a low unit margin, sufficient volumes of sale will offset its low profit. But it works only in where exists a huge market of a plenty of demands, like in the downtown, or near universities.

But most small chinese restaurants cover a limited district, even sharing with other competitors, in the town. They usually target at neighborhood within its territory. In other words, it’s hard to apply economy of scale under their condition.

Then, to get profits, with low demand, they should make unit margin higher, by lowering its cost. Cost-cutting directly leads to low cost and low quality ingredients. Some owners, who haven’t the ethics, of small restaurants probably use bad stuff. Imagine polluted sauce, bruised fruits. tainted meat or stale fish.

Why do they provide free dumplings?

In fact, Small chinese restaurants offer them, with burden of costs. The major cause of this phenomenon is customers’ strong want for cheap and a large amount of dish. Customers got used to having free dumplings. They take it for granted, but feel unsatisfied if a restaurant don’t. This situation was being fixed as a fettered custom for chinese restaurants.

Deterioration of Food Quality

We must reconsider free dumpling, and objectively see through what is occurring in the kitchen and admit the brutal fact. The strong pursue of cheap food results in the deterioration of the food quality.

gun mandu dumplingIn the end, I am not happy with free stuff anymore.       

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Korean Food : Winter Hobbang, a kind of Dumpling?



On a cold winter day, I ask mom to heat hobbang at home. Around 15 minutes later, mom gives me a white flour ball with steams on it. It looks so hot, but I pleasurably hold it with few fingers, of course to change fingers time to time avoiding possible skin burns. I hasten to bite side of it.

OMG. It’s damn hot and I got tongue burnt. I rapidly move my tongue, tossing that firing red bean paste in my mouth. Inside is hotter than outside. After being shocked by its temperature, I immediately divide it into two part in order to release the heat outside. Soon it becomes edible cooled, I again hurry on to put one piece into my mouth and enjoy.

Hobbang. Guess what it is?

It is a variation of dumpling with red bean inside instead of meat or vegetables. It looks similar to a dumpling on that reason. It originated from China, the country of dumplings. Then, it was introduced to Japan in 1341 by a Chinese, Jeong-in Im, who came along to Japan with his Japanese friend. He first made chinese dumplings.

But Japan prohibited eating meat at that moment, so he put red bean paste substitute for pork in the original recipe. Red bean dumpling hit the Japan, became very popular.

Later, in Korea, at its colonized period by Japan, Those dumplings were introduced and sold as a street food. It was called Jjinbbang meaning ‘steamed bread’ in Korean. A food company recognizing the product potential on it, they mass-produced red bean dumpling branding as Hobbang.

Where to buy Hobbang(Jjinbbang)

Just Eat it!

There used to be dumpling specialized stores in the past. Nowadays, We hardly see them on the sweet. I assumed it lost its competitive due to the season limit sales of it.

Don’t worry, although you cannot find the specialized store, you can have better access to hobbang anywhere easily. How? You can buy hobbang at the convenience stores. The season is quite limited from December to Febuary. But, thanks to the wide chain system of convenience companies, you can have them anytime 24 hours.


Just Heat it!


We can buy pre-cooked package of hobbang at any store including discount stores, supermarkets, and convenience store. Just go to the bread section, and look for it. They are usually sold 4 hobbangs in one packages priced around 3000-4000won.





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Korean Food : New Year, We Talk Dumplings! Seollal tradition

Around new year, all my family gathered together to celebrate the new year. In spite of the long journey to another province to visit relatives, I waited for the day for two reasons. 

The first reason is that I could get some pocket money from the eldery. They gave me more or less 10,000won each, and it’s come to around 100,000won or 300,000won at most, if I could meet all relatives.

As a student who receive the allowance of 40,000won for a month, it was a fortune. I bought what I wanted to buy before, saved money in the bank or sometimes be taken over by my brainy parents. However I used my money, I was just glad that I could touch or have that amount of money at that age.

The second reason is that I could make Mandu with my family altogether. We sit around making a circle on the floor with the ingredients in the center of us. We usually talk about what happened during last year, feelings, the plans for the future or trivial issues occurring around the world. I liked that moment with laughter, and I also loved the Mandu making procedure.

Now, you might’ve become intriguing about mandu.
What the hell is it?

This is Mandu. It is that Mandu that the protagonist Oh Dae-Su is fed a steady diet in the film Old boy, If you watch it, you can recall what it is and how it looks exactly. Briefly saying, Mandu is a dumpling in Korean cuisine. We make it every new year day, especially on chinese(lunar) new year day.

“Do you want to have a pretty baby?”

When I made my dumpling with my mom, I tried to make it as pretty as possible. It was not that easy. The size and shape of my dumplings are not steady owing to my lack of skill. Some of them even exploded horribly showing its fillings outside. It’s mainly because I added too much amount of filling inside and it couldn't bear that, and bombed out. I tried, tried and tried to make it neat and nice.

In Korea, it is said that
you will have a pretty baby
if you make the dumpling pretty.

Every girl or woman wants to make a dumpling look good for that reason. It doesn't have any scientifical facts at all but it makes fun whiling making them. The eldery sometimes praise the young for their elaborating handwork, or laugh at the funny shapes and make a joke at it. This traditional joke(or rumor) vitalizes the dumpling making process.

Do you want to have a pretty baby? Then, try to make your dumpling beautiful. 
I just put some filling on a small  dumpling dough and fold it to make a half moon shape. 
Very simple and easy.
Haha, moreover, a rumor has always its covered reason, 

so, what if it’s true?



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