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Myung Im - awesome korean wang mandoo (gigantic steamed korean buns) in Garden Grove

l
Lau Jun 5, 2010 07:45 AM

Myung Im is located inside the food court at the H-Mart on Garden Grove Blvd. It's a little place that seems to do mostly take-out business; alot of people seem to order ahead and come pick them up to take home; GF said the way the lady was talking to these people, they were locals who come alot.

The food court is super cool, its got about 6 restaurants specializing in different Korean dishes. Definitely feels like some place in Korea. I'm not sure if the lady can speak english or not b/c my gf can speak korean, my gut feeling is that she probably doesn't speak very good english. She was very nice and my GF doesn't think she is from Seoul like most koreans in the US, she said her accent was different.

The menu is mainly wang mandoo, which are very large steamed white buns filled with various things, very similar to chinese baozi. In fact, I'm almost certain they are the korean take on northern chinese dishes especially b/c the rest of their menu (mainly noodle soups and regular dumplings) are originally chinese dishes and they have translated the menu into chinese as well as english. Anyhow, the buns are huge like if you ate one by itself you'd probably be close to full.

They cook to order, which is awesome b/c the buns are super fresh. It takes about 10-15 mins once you order for the buns to be steamed and ready. The lady told us to let them sit for about 15 mins after they're done to steam out and be properly ready to eat, she said they would be best at that time to eat them. They give you this light soy sauce and a thing of pickled radish and peppers (super good, its in this soy sauce...loved it).

We originally went on a whim, but they were so good we ended up going back 3 more times. I bought everyone in my family a batch. Here's what we got:
- kimchi and meat: awesome, filled with kimchi, meat (pork) and cabbage. The bread is awesome, so fresh and fluffy not quite as sweet as the chinese version, but really good nonetheless. The filling is awesome, very finely minced, good quality ingredients, no weird stops (stuff you can't bite through) and perfect filling / bun ratio. Hit it with a little of the soy sauce and its amazing. The kimchi gives it a nice tangy kick. These were my GFs favorites.
- meat: same thing except no kimchi and it has mushrooms in it. these were my favorite it as you could really taste all of the ingredients in the filling, whereas in the kimchi one and the kimchi overpowers the other ingredients (although its still awesome). I absolutely loved these, in fact they were so good that I froze a few and took them back to NY with me.
- red bean: I loved steamed red bean buns, these were good although different from the chinese ones in that I don't think the bread compliments it as well as the chinese one which is sweeter. That said it was very fresh and the bean paste was good, its the smooth bean paste where they have taken out the casings.

To be honest, I didn't think koreans were capable of making steamed buns at the same level as the chinese version (buns are probably one of my all time favorite food), but these were really good, much better than most chinese places (at least in the US). I love specialist restaurants b/c you know you're going to get a dish that is a really good and this place exemplifies why i like specialists restaurants. I was really pleasantly surprised about this place, I pretty much come here everytime I come home now. I highly recommend.

Here's the address and pics other people took:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/myung-in-dump...

  1. Das Ubergeek Jun 6, 2010 11:01 PM

    Awesome. You should try the wang mandu at Anna's Mondu on GG Blvd. Eat in or to go, they'll do either.

    -----
    Anna's Mondu
    9972 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92844

    1 Reply
    1. re: Das Ubergeek
      l
      Lau Jun 7, 2010 05:15 AM

      yah i know about Anna's as well its actually right next to the kimchi store I wrote about: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712307

      it was on my list of places to try, but i liked myung im so much that i kept going back

    2. b
      btompk05 Jun 9, 2010 09:51 AM

      I believe their used to be a Myung Im in the H-Mart in Norwalk. It has been replaced by an new restaurant called Cham Yi Rang (sp?). The sign looks like a big green mask. Similar concept, made to order Wang Mandoo, as well as other types of mandoo. This place also has some other really tasty Korean dishes like Jajamyun (sp?). I was quite please with this place as well.

      1. j
        jblee Jun 9, 2010 12:58 PM

        Isn't it "Myung In: Master" as on Yelp?

        1. k
          kevin Jun 9, 2010 01:01 PM

          wait, is it mandu or wandu? and is the meat filling, pork or beef? thanks, it sounds great. do you happen to know if they have a location in LA's koreatown?

          12 Replies
          1. re: kevin
            Das Ubergeek Jun 9, 2010 01:15 PM

            Mandu is the Korean word for dumpling. "Wang mandu" means "king dumpling" and they can be filled with anything, though beef and vegetables are maybe the most common.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              kingkong5 Jun 9, 2010 01:59 PM

              Ubergeek, I'm planning on stopping by the HMart on the way home tonight and picking up some buns, unless you think Anna's is better?

              1. re: kingkong5
                Das Ubergeek Jun 9, 2010 02:36 PM

                Anna's. :)

                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  l
                  Lau Jun 9, 2010 08:51 PM

                  kevin - yes they do have an LA branch and SD branch

                  Das Ubergeek - you think Anna's wang mandoo is better? interesting, i'll have to try, friend told me its good, but i heard myung im is better....looks like anna will be my first stop when i get home in a few weeks, i hope you're right b/c i really like myung im

                  1. re: Lau
                    Das Ubergeek Jun 9, 2010 10:53 PM

                    Well, your mileage may vary. I like Anna's.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                      l
                      Lau Jun 10, 2010 09:03 AM

                      btw have you tried their kim bap? ive been looking for a good kim bap place in OC and someone told me they have good kim bap

                      anything else you recommend there?

                      1. re: Lau
                        Das Ubergeek Jun 10, 2010 09:14 AM

                        I'm not a kimbap expert by any means but it's fine. Most people who want kimbap from a store go to Jong Ro a couple of blocks west (9562 GG Blvd.).

                        I like the soups made with dumplings (you can add soondae if you want), but I am not a huge fan of the seolleongtang; Jang Mo Gip is better for that.

                        -----
                        Jang Mo Gip
                        4546 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90621

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                          l
                          Lau Jun 10, 2010 04:24 PM

                          Das Ubergeek - yah i tried to go to jong ro last time, but they were closed, i think they're closed on sundays or something

                          kingkong5 - well they are different than most chinese buns, which i grew up eating so i'm also used it more sort of being a meatball as opposed to more finely chopped fillings, but i think the quality of the filling itself is actually higher quality than alot of chinese / viet places even though i'm obviously biased towards those (in the past i thought of wang mandoo as simply a poor rendition of chinese bao zi). price wise, i dont have any issue with it, i mean they are huge probably twice the size of most buns, so i dont really care; i mean when it comes to garden grove area places you're kind of arguing over pennies end of the day since everything is pretty reasonably priced

                  2. re: Das Ubergeek
                    kingkong5 Jun 10, 2010 09:45 AM

                    How does it go? caveat emptor? I was in a hurry and didn't have enough cash with me, so I went to Myung In last night. It was OK, the buns as promised were fluffy and delicious, as well as a good size (not quite B, but an A+). The filling was chopped up too fine though, I guess I prefer the vietnamese/chinese style banh bao, where it's a giant meatball inside, sometimes with egg and chinese sausage. And at almost $2 each, they seemed a bit on the pricey side.

                    Still, they were pretty good.

                    Next time, I will give Anna's a try.

                    1. re: kingkong5
                      Das Ubergeek Jun 13, 2010 07:57 PM

                      I went to Myung In just to make sure and while I would enjoy their buns, the problem is that they are too bready for the filling. Anna's are smaller and a little more manageable. That said, however, the chlorella wang mandu were surprisingly good. Something about "the little algae that could" helped the breadiness.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                        l
                        Lau Jun 14, 2010 12:05 PM

                        ah interesting, i didn't try those, i'll have to go back and try those as well

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                          l
                          Lau Jul 5, 2010 07:43 PM

                          Hey kingkong5 and Das Ubergeek - I tried Anna's today, I went after taking my mom / grandma to Com Tam Tran Quy Cap. I was pretty full, so I just got one order of the wang mandoo to go (although I ate it 15 mins later when I got home). The lady is very nice (i believe she is the owner) although she barely speaks english and I really wished my gf was there to break the language barrier. The menu is partially written in english, but the main categories (dumpings, buns etc) are not written in english, so I wasn't sure what was what. Btw, this place is made to order as well, but it's much slower than Myung Im, it took 25 mins to get my order to go and I was the only person there (there was another couple, but they were finishing up their meal and paying their bill when I got there).

                          Anyhow, I thought it was good, but I definitely prefer Myung Im to Anna's for wang mandoo. However, I will caveat it that Anna's version are definitely different in terms of style of wang mandoo, so I could see how someone might like Anna's better. Size wise, its smaller as Das Ubergeek said, I'd probably say it's like 75% of the size of Myung Im's. The bread is, like Myung Im, less sweet than it's chinese counterpart (i.e. it's not sweet at all). However, texture wise it's less fluffy and much denser than Myung Im's version, it's much more similar to the average baozi (bun) that you would find in many chinese or viet places. Meat / bun ratio, there is more filling to bun than myung im (i.e. less bun). Filling is where I thought it fell short of Myung Im. The filling is rather loose, not the meatball that kingkong5 is talking about. While the filling is the same (pork, jap chae, scallions etc), I thought it was much less flavorful than Myung Im. It's also minced much less finely and has much more jap chae than Myung Im. Overall, while certainly good, I thought it fell short of Myung Im in the filling flavor department, but it was much more similar texture / style wise to a chinese / viet baozi. Price wise, it's pretty similar as an order of 4 is $7.50 ($1.88 per bun)

                          That said, I do plan on eating here again as I saw another table eating and they had regular mandoo as well as dduk boki, both of which looked very good.

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