Koreatown is so damn big that the only way you can possibly figure out which restaurants are good is by word of mouth. Thus, my buddy suggested Myung In Dumplings, which is essentially a Korean-ized Chinese dumpling spot right in the heart of Koreatown. I think he found it by watching some TV show, which generally means delicious food and I was hoping the TV would lead me right again.
The menu wasn’t too big, but there were plenty of dumplings to choose from. We ordered the King Steam Dumplings (the big old fluffy type), Spicy Steam Roll Dumplings (the shriveled up logs), Fried Dumplings (potstickers) and Dumpling Beef Soup (like in a bowl with liquid, not soup dumplings).
It was different from the dumpling experiences that I am used to with Chinese food because Chinese dumplings are always (at least in my experience) packed with spices with sauces more as an accompaniment. These, however, didn’t have a lot of built-in flavor in the fillings and seemed to rely more on differentiating on the different encasings. Each bite required a spoon or squeeze of sauce to provide flavor and while I loved the sauces, I found that I was doing the work that I was used to the restaurant doing. Even the Spicy Steam Roll Dumplings were just regular Steam Roll Dumplings with a chili sauce in the middle of the plate to qualify as spicy.
Perhaps I just have a lack of understanding of Korean dumplings. There’s no question that Myung In did a great job with what I am simply calling the encasings. The King Steam Dumplings were super fluffy and a whole lot of fun to eat with chopsticks and the Fried Dumplings were cooked to a perfect crisp on the bottom with a soft top. Clearly, there wasn’t any mistake in the preparation, but I guess when it comes to dumplings Myung In just left me longing for something different.