OWL Magazine Korea

Gaesung Mandu Palace: A Mandu Haven in Insa-dong Since 1970

Located in Insa-dong, “Gaesung Mandu Palace” is a longstanding mandu (dumpling) specialty restaurant that has been passed down for three generations since its inception in 1970 by Grandma Lim Myeong-suk, originally from Gaesung.

The restaurant’s signature dish combines a light broth with generously filled Gaesung-style mandu, captivating the palates of its customers. It is particularly well-known in Insa-dong.

“Three Generations of Expertise Descending from a Traditional Hanok House”

Gaesung Mandu Palace can be found in an alley in Insa-dong, right in front of the Gyeongin Art Museum. It is a restaurant located in a traditional hanok building that exudes an elegant atmosphere. Passed down for three generations through Grandma Lim Myeong-suk, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, the know-how has been preserved and passed on, ensuring that the taste remains unchanged until today.

The space in the restaurant is not particularly large. It retains a serene atmosphere with a feeling of having converted a traditional hanok house. The area near the entrance is furnished with tables and chairs, while on the opposite side, there are low tables where guests can sit comfortably after removing their shoes.

Through the windows visible while waiting, you can even catch a glimpse of the process of making mandu. In most popular mandu restaurants, you can often see the process of making mandu in such an open area, and Gaesung Mandu Palace is no exception.

“Michelin Guide: Bib Gourmand Designation”

Gaesung Mandu Palace is also a restaurant selected by the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand. The description provided by the Michelin Guide is as follows:

“Since 1970, Gaesung Mandu Palace has been in operation, passed down for three generations from Grandma Lim, originally from Gaesung, to her granddaughter who now manages the restaurant through her daughter’s hands. The distinctive feature of Gaesung Mandu is its large and fully-filled stuffing. The mandu wrappers are generously filled with cabbage and mung bean sprouts, resulting in a mild and refreshing taste. The mandu and tteokguk (rice cake soup) use a broth made from carefully selected ingredients. You can enjoy the taste of healthy food in this elegant hanok.”

“Mandu Jeongol (Mandu Hot Pot), Gamja Jeon (Potato Pancake)”

At Gaesung Mandu Palace, various dishes made with mandu are available. This time, visiting with a group, we ordered the Mandu Jeongol and Gamja Jeon. We chose the meat mandu for the Mandu Jeongol. Please note that the jeongol menu is available for two or more people.

  • Gaesung Kimchi Mandu Jeongol: KRW 20,000
  • Gaesung Meat Mandu Jeongol: KRW 17,000
  • Noodle side dish addition: KRW 5,000
  • Fresh Potato Pancake: KRW 18,000

The Potato Pancake was priced at KRW 18,000, which can be considered slightly more expensive compared to other places.

In terms of pricing, it felt a bit higher compared to other restaurants. Nevertheless, considering that it is a restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide, the price is not overly burdensome.

Personally, one thing I always feel is that when you visit a restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide, there is always at least one aspect that distinguishes it from ordinary establishments. Similarly, at Gaesung Mandu Palace, I could sense the depth of flavor in the mandu jeongol while still experiencing a clean broth.

The Potato Pancake was thick and had a texture that preserved the true taste of potatoes, reminiscent of a pancake.

Overall, it’s a place where you can enjoy a hearty meal. If you order the jeongol menu, you can especially have a generous and satisfying meal.

Of course, there are also downsides. It’s always crowded with people, so there may be a bit of a wait, and because it’s a thriving restaurant, they do not take reservations. Additionally, the utilization of space inside the restaurant is quite tight, so you may feel somewhat close to other customers. Nonetheless, when considering the taste alone, it’s a place where you can have a very enjoyable meal.

“Seoul Insa-dong Mandu Haven: Gaesung Mandu Palace”

  • Address: 11-3 Insa-dong 10-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Phone: 02-733-9240
  • Operating Hours: (Mon-Sat) 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM, (Sun) 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Website: https://www.koong.co.kr