eat. shop. love. nyc.

Bo ssam at Mandu DC

David Chang has a lock on the big feast format of Korean dining, and bless him for all of his family-style Korean fried chicken and bo ssam (pork shoulder/butt lettuce wraps) dinners at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssam Bar.

But what about those of us who can’t find 6 to 10 like-minded diners? What then? Should we be denied our bo ssam?

Enter: Mandu DC. See how amazing this bo ssam platter looks? They use pork belly and chill it so that the meat is firm to the touch but fork tender, and the fat (largely trimmed) has a pleasant coolness and easy chewiness. The bo ssam platter comes with lettuce leaves (sangchu) for wrapping, spicy pickled daikon radish for a zesty crunchy topping, and ssamjang (wrap dip) for sweetness, spice, and a little funk (from the fermented bean). It’s a truly refreshing summer meal, especially when eaten outdoors on Mandu’s cute little patio.

On the corner of 18th and S in Northwest DC, just off-center from the craziness that is Adams Morgan, Mandu is a lovely gem of a Korean restaurant, perhaps the only of its kind within the city limits. The food here has a home-cooked feel, but with attention to presentation, ambiance, and all of the other things you don’t usually find at Korean restaurants in the States. Sure, there’s great Korean food to be had in Annandale, but then you’d have to find your way out to Virginia, and you wouldn’t even get to have an aloetini! Aloe juice + aloe pulp + soju = delicious x drunk. You do the math.

On weekends, Mandu has an $11.00 Korean Brunch Plate with gimbap (Korean rice & seaweed rolls – like sushi rolls without any fish), Korean omelet, chive pancakes, Korean-style hash browns, and a choice of marinated beef, chicken, pork or vegetables and tofu, all with a side of fruit. They have $4.00 Sojutinis and $4.00 Soju Bloody Marys to boot!

The Mandu Bloody Mary is made with soju, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, sriracha, and a cucumber kimchi garnish. It is not for the spice averse, but it will cure your hangover. I felt AWESOME after drinking mine!

Not to be missed at Mandu: the mandu (dumplings) – 6 pieces for $5, the bo ssam – $13 for the platter shown above, the dak jjim (sweet and spicy chicken simmered with potatoes & onions, served with rice), aloetini, Mandu Bloody Mary.

And it gets better… there’s a happy hour! Daily 4-7pm: $4.00 Sojutinis, $4.00 liquor drinks, $2.00 beers, $3.00 mandu (dumplings).

Eat: Mandu (Adams Morgan, NW Washington DC) 1805 18th St. at S St., Washington, D.C. NW (202) 558-1540. Follow mandudc on Twitter.


Korean Southern, not South Korean
December 15, 2009, 4:05 pm
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: , , , ,

I just finished reading David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook, and after trying his brussel sprouts with bacon and kimchi puree at Noodle Bar, I decided to go with the Southern-Korean flow when recreating the dish at home and paired his kimchi bacon brussel sprouts with another Southern staple: grits.


  • Brussel sprouts really are good for you. They may help prevent cancer, and they are good for your skin.
  • Brussel sprouts are super cute – halved through the core, they look like perfect little mini cabbages!
  • Add a little water or oil to kimchi if trying to puree it, otherwise it’s too pulpy.
  • Bacon lard makes everything taste better.

Adapted from the Momofuku cookbook:

Bacon Kimchi Brussel Sprouts and Grits Continue reading

Thank you, David Chang, or I heart Momofuku Fried Chicken
August 12, 2009, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , ,

Upon learning that Momofuku Noodle Bar was going to be launching online rezzies for its new fried chicken dinner (or lunch, as it turned out for me), I was ecstatic. There are few deep fried things in life that I dislike, and the thought of triple fried anything makes me swoon a little. Glowing reviews from those lucky enough to partake in the Momofuku dinner only whetted my appetite, and I suffered three excruciating weeks after making my reservation that I finally got to experience David Chang’s chicken wraps in their full glory.

We were warned before ordering that it was going to be a lot of food. Internally, I scoffed. This little waitress has no idea how much we can eat. Fool. Still, I took heed of her warning and refrained from ordering a la carte right away. You can always order more later.

Joe and Natalia decided to try something new and got the steamed buns with pork, chicken, cucumbers, and shiitake mushrooms. They said it was amazing, although I didn’t try it in order to save myself for the triple fried goodness.

Continue reading

Momofuku Fried Chicken Dinners launch
July 21, 2009, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , ,

This Eater post made me so happy. Momofuku’s David Chang has launched online reservations for his Fried Chicken Dinners at Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. I’ll be going with some out-of-town friends for lunch in August! (The reservations are going fast, by the way.) From their FAQ:

q: what does the fried chicken dinner include?
a: the fried chicken dinner includes two whole fried chickens, one southern style and one korean style. the dinner comes with mu shu pancakes, long spicy peppers, baby carrots, red ball radishes, shiso leaves, bibb lettuce, four sauces and a herb basket.

q: how do I reserve a fried chicken dinner?
a: on the momofuku website here.

FYI: Their Korean chicken is TRIPLE FRIED with a light glaze. $100 feeds 4 to 8 people. That’s right, gather all your friends. It’s fried chicken time!