The Best Dumplings in Samcheong-dong
Upon entering we were greeted with the traditional “hello” in Mandarin, “Ni Hao”.
We looked at each other and wondered which one of us looked like a Chinese tourist that had just hopped off a bus in the area. Sure, there were a lot of Chinese tourists around, but were there really that many that the woman in charge should use the Mandarin “hello” even though we were clearly in Korea?
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If you’re headed to Seoul and want to stay in this historic district, check out a traditional Korean guest house to get a real authentic Korean stay in the city. For something more modern but beautiful and comfortable, check out Royal Hotel Seoul.
The dumplings in this little spot are not your normal Korean style mandu. They’re not Korean style at all. They’re actually a local specialty out of Tianjin, China. We ordered the seafood dumplings and a helping of the grilled dumplings to share. At W6,000 a dish and the absolute delicious flavor, it was a steal. We sat in the window watching those passing by while enjoying conversation for some time before we realized the women working in the establishment were speaking Mandarin to each other and every customer that entered after us. Even the Korean clientele were rather dumbfounded when they tried to order and couldn’t ask any questions in Korean because they weren’t understood. It seemed we weren’t special after all in receiving the “ni hao”. We had a good laugh before paying and heading out with bellies full.
천진포자 (CheonJin Poja)
148-2, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Directions to 천진포자: Anguk Station Exit 1. Turn right out of the exit and then a right down the second street/alley walking into Samcheong-dong. The restaurant is on the left side of the street a block or so in.
Cost: One plate of dumplings costs W6,000
Menu includes: meat dumplings, chive & vegetable dumplings, seafood dumplings, grilled dumplings & sweet bean paste dumplings.