Monday, 26 March 2012

TGIF! Mandu At Insadong, Beer In Jong-no

It's not only Count Dracula and his vampire bats who like going out on a Friday night. Some tourists also do! Ha-ha-ha!
So, last Friday night, I met up with Agnes, a former colleague from Manila, and her friends Bea, Jay and Ayeen in Insadong for dinner and some chatting.  They're here in Seoul to sightsee, relax and get away from work (and probably from other things they didn't tell me. Ha-ha-ha!)When friends from Manila visit Seoul, I always like to meet up with them.  They usually bring me some news, the latest gossip and... hopia! Ha-ha-ha!
And although Friday night's weather included some drizzle, umbrellas and wet shoes, we all met up in Insadong, where I brought them to the best place in Seoul where you can enjoy mandu, the Korean dumpling. Lucky for us, we didn't have to wait that long for a table at Koong Mandu, where diners are welcomed into the restaurant with a portrait of the family's grandmother who preserved the recipe everyone enjoyed that night. 

From the wall of the restaurant, the grandmother gazes around and sort of watches everyone who comes in to enjoy her dumplings. And her pleasant stare conveys her appreciation to diners, who came from afar (from Manila, perhaps, with tired feet, heavy shopping bags and all!) to taste her mandu recipe. Of course, her stare also reminds everyone to finish everything on the plate. No leftovers! Ha-ha-ha!

    (Posing with grandmother's portrait at the restaurant)

So, after burping!  We all bade good-bye to grandma (it was way past her bedtime!), and crossed into the dark side! The bars of Jongno!

As expected on a Friday night, most bars were full! We walked through the alley full of bright neon signs, umbrellas and barkers calling people into their bars. As expected, no barker ever dared invite us (English must be one of the reasons).  But at the end of the alley, finally! Frypan bar had a table for four, which became a table for five! We were able to squeeze in!
(The neon lights of Jongno) 
Well, it's not only Count Dracula who could turn night time into fun time. Even with the rain, wet sidewalks and the cold temperatures in Seoul, we still had a lot of fun while meandering through the dark small alleys of Insadong, and the bright bar alleys of Jongno
                                 (Having fun in Jongno)

I hope Agnes, Bea, Jay and Ayeen indeed had TGIF in Seoul. It was fun sharing all the mandu, beer, stories (gossip, actually, ha-ha-ha!), and news from home with you, guys! (And to Agnes, thanks for hopia!).
And grandma also hopes you get to visit her again. She and her mandu will be waiting.

1 comment:

  1. I like your first picture, showing the beautiful ceiling and elegant doors of Korean old-style house and the natural color of its wood. In the house we can see only two colors of white and brown. Yet with this simplicity, the house looks more elegant. Thanks for your picture.

    Now that I read this and the other linked articles about Goong Mandu, I included it as one of my must-go lists for my future travel to Seoul. Thanks.

    In the bottom picture, there is some food in a big bowl beside a glass of beer. Are they slices of fried potato?