By Lina Zhu Photos by Lijin Zhao
Seoul Mandoo in Aurora opened in April 2020, just in time to get shut down during the pandemic. In these past 10 months, the restaurant and its staff have been adapting to all of the changes in Colorado’s restaurant industry.
Despite opening during the COVID era, the restaurant’s owner JW Lee was hopeful to bring giant dumplings or traditional Seoul dumplings to Colorado.
Lee, who is also the owner of Seoul Korean BBQ and Hot Pot and has more than 20 years of chef experience, has always enjoyed experimenting with new restaurant concepts. The location that is now Seoul Mandoo was previously a pastry shop, ramen restaurant, and Korean restaurant. Now, in his latest ven- ture, Lee presents his newest concept—giant steamed Korean dumplings!
Mandu are dumplings in Korean cuisine. Mandu can be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, or deep-fried. The styles vary across regions in Korea, and they are well-known street foods in Korea, especially popular on New Year’s Day.
What makes Seoul Mandoo’s dumplings unique is their size. Rose Lee said: “Before Seoul Mandoo, I had never seen such large dumplings.”
Rose Lee, the manager of Seoul Mandoo, shared that the dumpling recipes are straight from Korea and include steaming all of the large dumplings with all types of fillings such as meat (silky marinated pork), kimchi, veggie, shrimp, and galbi (sugar-and-soy-marinated Korean pork), and frying some of the smaller ones with kimchi or meat filling.
JW and Rose also work together to create new and innovative items, such as the veggie dumplings. “We wanted to have an option for vegetarians, includ- ing both dumplings and rice cakes, as we are seeing more and more vegetar- ians in the area.”
Rose said: “Our menu is growing. At first, we started with only three items. Then we added the shrimp dumpling, sweet red bean, spicy rice cake, and the combo plate.”
While the timing of opening a new restaurant during a pandemic was not ideal, Seoul Mandoo has been thriving as many people have been ordering takeout and looking for simple, yet delicious meals to eat at home. Addition- ally, the restaurant offers frozen pre-cooked dumplings that just need to be heated up at home (microwaved or fried).
While the restaurant has been operating for less than a year, they have grown a huge following with nearly 3,000 followers on Instagram. Rose notes that they have a lot of regulars as well as new customers every day through word of mouth.
Order online at seoulmandoo.com or find Seoul Mandoo on UberEats for delivery options. Follow their Instagram at @seoul. mandoo for their giveaways and restaurant updates. If you’re trying Seoul Mandoo for the first time, go for the Giant Dumpling Combo (Kimchi, Galbi, Shrimp, Meat) for $13 to taste a bit of everything!
Soul Dumpling (6 pieces) $6 • Meat/Kimchi (steamed or fried) Giant Dumpling • Meat/Kimchi/Veggie (4 pieces) $11 • Galbi (4 pieces) $13 • Shrimp (5 pieces) $15 Frozen Dumpling (25 pieces) $20 • Meat/Kimchi
2222 S Havana St Unit J, Aurora, CO 80014 303.953.9590 | seoulmandoo.com Open Hours: Mon to Sat 11am - 8pm; Sun 11am - 6pm