A quirky but accurate logo was enough to convince us to try what The Mandoo had to offer. As one of the many solid choices for Korean food in Strathfield, this tiny shop located on the corner opposite the 7/11 is often busy.
When you walk into the shop through the front door, you can see customers slurping and munching on all manners of noodles, hot or cold. To your left, you will see the staff busily making an assortment of dumplings and buns that are the calling card of this shop. Being on the corner, the shop is blessed by a lot of natural light coming in from two sides which gives this otherwise cramped location an open and breathable feel to it.
For this trip, we were lucky to get a table straight away and set about looking over the menu. Printed on a piece of hard cardboard, it presents a no-nonsense outline of The Mandoo’s delights. Having only one dedicated waitress, with the kitchen staff occasionally bringing dishes out, it can be difficult to flag her down at times but the service was prompt and accurate. I certainly appreciated how the water had a slice of lemon in it to give it an extra burst of freshness.
After some deliberation (because everything looks so good on the menu) we decided to start our meal off with Kimchi with Pork Bun Dumplings. They came out quickly and were very hot. The most striking visual feature was the delicate pattern done to seal the dough of the bun. The first bite showed us why everyone was ordering their dumplings.
The filling was very generous and solid, consisting of a mix of vegetables and pork as well as noodles that offered another layer of texture, rather than serving as a cheap filler. I have to say, other than the colour, I couldn’t sense any sign of the kimchi in this dumpling. The dough of the bun was a whole new experience. Unlike the Chinese buns I’m used to that have a thick, almost sickly sweet dough, it’s unobtrusive here and really just served to complement the filling while retaining its bouncy texture. The soy sauce and fresh chilli it was served with took the bun to the next level. Definitely worth trying if you visit The Mandoo.
The main courses came out soon after. We both ordered cold noodle dishes and I opted for the Kimchi Cold Noodle Soup. The broth that this noodle came in did not have much much taste to it at all. However, the toppings of sweet kimchi, gochujang and cucumber pickle gave the noodle soup a sweet, sour and somewhat spicy flavour (not really as much as the colour suggests).
The noodles were very springy and perfectly cooked which balanced the crunch of the kimchi and pickled vegetables. The cold soup meant that the noodles would not over-cook which gave me plenty of time to enjoy the flavours of the noodles and the soup together. I was very full after I finished this bowl and found this an altogether satisfying meal.
My girlfriend ordered the Spicy Chewy Noodle and chose the “Deadly Spicy” option to keep things interesting. The choices of cold noodle suited the sunny, warm day we visited very well. The Mandoo also offer hot soup options for those who prefer some good Korean soul food.
Like the Kimchi Cold Noodle Soup, this bowl came out well-presented and required some assembly. Mixing the noodles up revealed the spicy chilli paste hidden underneath the spring onion, bean sprouts, cabbage and sesame seeds and the bed of noodles. For us, mixing the noodles up was a fun start to our meal and got us excited for the road ahead.
The noodles themselves are very chewy and long. These noodles were a bit difficult to share but the waitress provided us with a pair of scissors to cut the noodles up to make it a bit easier. If you don’t get a pair, don’t hesitate to ask for one.
This dish lived up to its name and even my girlfriend, who can usually handle her spice, enjoyed the burn. The fresh cabbage and bean sprouts gave the dish a nice contrasting crunch and gave some relief from the heat. She did not finish this noodle but had plenty to take home for the next day. Cold noodles are awesome because you can take great bites without scalding your tongue however you might get carried away with the amount you eat!
This tiny corner shop serves up a solid selection of dumplings and noodles. It certainly lives up to the reputation that Strathfield has for high quality Korean food and we definitely recommend a visit here if you’re in the area. This is a place that pays attention to the quality of the food as much as the presentation and manages to deliver on both.
This meal was $38 for both of us. The Mandoo takes cash and card with a $20 minimum.