After exploring the historic Bukchon village, we happened across this hole-in-the-wall place that offered traditional Korean dumplings and noodle dishes. The menu had English names for the food and we were sold. We took our seats in the tiny dine-in part, having watched the ladies serving up huge dumplings from a take-away window outside. We started with a couple of pork and kimchi steamed dumplings – they were incredible, with soft skins and packed full of spicy filling, this was pretty much heaven. I then had the cold noodles, which turned out to be an equally delicious choice. Looking much like soba and served in an ice bath, the noodles were peppered with sesame and topped with pork, cucumber, half an egg and an incredibly spicy red sauce. That was when I discovered the pickles. There was a jar of self-serve yellow pickles on the counter and I must have eaten half of them, a) because they tasted so good and b) because that sauce was hot! The noodles were silky and stuck together, but the contrast between the temperature cool of the noodles and the spicy heat of the sauce was fascinating. Highly recommended for fast, quality local fare.
Bukchon Son Mandu, various locations, Seoul http://www.mandoo.so/