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Joong Boo Market's Korean Dumpling Stand Already a Hit With Shoppers

By Victoria Johnson | February 18, 2014 8:12am
 The Joong Boo Market has opened a dumpling (wang mandoo) stand offering pork, kimchi and red bean dumplings for $2 a pop.
Joong Boo Wang Mandoo
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AVONDALE — If you need another excuse to go to the Joong Boo Market, you've got one — wang mandoo.

Similar to the Chinese baozi popularized by Wow Bao, wang mandoo are steamed buns stuffed with meat, veggies or something sweet for dessert, and the Korean market has offered them for $2 a pop since the stand opened in January.

Joong Boo keeps it simple with three varieties — pork, kimchi, and the sweeter red bean, and the outdoor stand makes it easy for shoppers who are just too hungry to make it inside to Joong Boo's much-loved Snack Corner for some Bee-Bim-Bap or Yook-Gae-Jang.

"The CEO brought the idea over from Korea and we though we'd try it out," said Joong Boo's manager, Chong Suh. "We've been selling out almost every night, so it's been pretty popular."

Suh chalks their popularity up to the fact they're made fresh daily with ingredients right on hand in the store.

"We make everything in house," he said. "Nothing's frozen, no preservatives."

To boot, Heo Sooyeon, who runs the stand and makes the buns, had been making wang mandoo for 10 years in South Korea before bringing his expertise to Chicago.

Though his English is limited, Sooyeon said business has indeed been good despite the cold weather, as people tend to grab them just before walking into the warm confines of the store.

One such impulse buyer on a snowy Monday afternoon was 21-year-old student Lee Waterman.

A nearby resident, she was visiting the store for the first time to grab some items for a Japanese dish she was working on — Joong Boo also carries a selection of Japanese goods — and couldn't resist stopping for a kimchi wang mandoo.

"Yeah, I really like kimchi," she said, as she admired her freshly purchased bun. "I'm sure it's going to be good."

Joong Boo Market is at 3333 N. Kimball Ave. next to the Kennedy Expy. The grocery store is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the wang mandoo stand closes at 7.