Mandu Rang Kimbob Erang in Annandale - Report
I can't believe I've missed this tiny house serving a limited menu of mandu and kimbap right in the heart of Annandale. It is located in the parking lot across from the Giant, and has been operating there for five years.
The mandu are the best you're likely to find. I had the regular mandu, the big ones are not always ready/available by lunch. Everything here is made fresh daily. The kimchi is at the very top. Excellent. The kimbap (think maki roll) is very well crafted. It is teardrop shaped and holds together nicely. The menu translations are not always accurate (the 'tempura' kimbap is actually fishcake). They have a few other items like rice cakes, tofu, and noodles, which I did not have. Outrageously high quality on what I tried. Most prices are in the $6/7 range.
If you come for the mandu you will leave happy.
re: Cocinero Cubano
The name of the place is indeed 'Mandu Rang Kimbob Erang.'
The location is not obvious. It is important you find the Giant. On the other side of the parking lot are a few isolated buildings. One is a fairly large restaurant, another is a nail salon (this is a squat rectangle, maybe painted yellow). Next to the nail salon is a tiny rambler (yes, it really looks like a house stuck in a parking lot). That is the place.
If you are thinking of going, give me a shout. It is super cheap.
I went back to try the large dumplings. They are like steamed buns. The filling is quite nice, but the small boiled vegetable dumplings are the best. Super delicate and slippery.
The ddeok bokki (rice cakes in a red sauce) here are simple, perfect, and addictive.
I would say those are the top two dishes here so far.
I also tried the jjol myun (cold noodles), served in a spicy sauce with shredded cabbage. The cabbage was maybe too crunchy. The ramen here is not as good as Japanese ramen. Both dishes are very tasty, though.
The business card I have suggests they also make sujebi (hand torn noodle soup), so that will be my next try.
I tried the sujebi. The noodles are 100% potato. Ground potato mixed with potato starch. They are thick ovals, super-dense and chewy. I don't like this version. You are unlikely to order this, though, since it is only in Korean on the menu.
Last up will the the tofu jeongol (hotpot).