Xiaolongbao and Chinese dumplings have been a favourite of mine since as long as I can remember, biting into those pockets of sweet meaty goodness are always considered a treat despite the low price. When travelling to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan I always make a point of seeking out the cities’ best offering, often spending hours walking around the city trying to find little hidden alleyways. It always seems to take me hours to find these places as I’m not particularly adept at using google maps for some reason.
Anyhow I was on my way to get myself a couple of tacos at Little Baja for dinner with TFB when we suddenly noticed the sign outside this second floor Chinese dumpling house. I’m not sure if this has always been here or if it’s new as it seemed to blend in so well to the landscape. “Ooh dumplings,” I said, and went to take a better look at the menu. “Oooh,” TFB said “They have Xiaolongbao, and cheap too!”. TFB already had his heart set on a taco, but after some consideration we decided to each get a taco first then go back and give the dumplings a try.
The restaurant is nothing special inside, but it’s light and airy with plenty of seating, and the big windows open out over the street. The place was pretty empty save for another couple when we arrived, so we were quickly given a menu.
There are three kinds of different pork dumplings on the menu which can be steamed, boiled, or fried, along with Xiaolongbao and a handful of other main dishes. We decided to order an array of dumplings in the interest of a more thorough review.
The first ones to come out were the Chives, Shrimp, Egg and Pork Fried Dumpling (6,000 for 10). An excellent price that’s for sure and more than enough to fill you up over lunch, they had a lovely crispy skin and were filled with tasty filling of pork, shrimp, and chives.
Second up was the Shitake Mushroom & Pork Steamed Dumplings (6,000 for 7). I liked these a lot. I loved the juicy mushroom with the pork filling. I’d be interested to see what the fried version would taste like, though mushroom hater TFB wasn’t so keen.
Last of the dumplings was the Xiaolongbao (7,000 for 7). These had a shrimp base stock rather than a pork which meant the soup inside was much lighter. I think they could also have been a bit more generous with it, though they weren’t bad. My other gripe was that they used the white vinegar instead of the red and there was no sliced ginger which usually accompanies soup dumplings. But since this is the only place in Itaewon that is serving them as far as I know, I’ll take what I can get. I’m still heart broken that Crystal Jade closed down in Myeongdong.
Lastly you’d think after having already had a taco and ordered three kinds of dumplings that I would have had more than enough, but you’d be wrong. My gluttony holds no bounds and we also ordered the Fried Chicken with Garlic Sauce (15,000). This dish was tickety boo, lovely crispy fried chicken in a sweet garlicky, slightly spicy, sticky sauce. Why are deep fried foods always so glorious?
Overall I’d probably return to Chungaekga Dumpling, while they weren’t the best dumplings I’ve ever had, they certainly weren’t the worst and it’s nice to have a place in Itaewon where you can find them without having to queue for 3 hours. The portions were decent and the prices were cheap, I think it would make a nice lunch spot or casual dinner location.
Chungaeka Dumpling is located at 2F 61 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station(line 6) and come out exit 4. Walk straight until you get to Dillinger’s and then take the stairs down to your left. Take a right at the bottom of the stairs and walk along that road. It is on your right hand side. For more information you can call on 02-797-0838 or check out their facebook page.