Family’s Comfort

My aunt is an amazing person. First, she’s given birth to three kids, which is incredible in and of itself. Second, she quit her job to take care of her kids, which is hard for anyone to do. Third, she moved to Singapore when her husband’s work required the family to move. And lastly, she is one of the most sympathetic people I know. 

Like everyone in my family, her comfort food points to the one dish we all attribute to: mandu.

“I really like mandu. But only your grandma’s mandu. It’s special, because it’s the Northern style mandu. You know, in the north it’s cold, so Grandma would make her kimchi fresh almost every day and just freeze it outside.

It’s not a delicate food, but it’s really simple. The process of making it is not hard. And [everyone in the family] has different roles when making it. I rolled out each dough, and your mom and Grandma filled it with kimchi and tofu.

We used to talk about old times while we did this. For example, elementary school. Or how Grandma lived a hard life, so she didn’t have the luxury of eating like this.

This is a dish we’ve been making and eating since we were little. And we’re married and 50 now and we still eat it!

It’s a really sentimental dish. It’s a reminder of my memories.

You know, you cannot taste this anywhere. Grandma’s homemade kimchi is unique and has that taste. Her mandu is made with kimchi, tofu, garlic, mung beans, and then steamed in that big pot. I think the process of making it is comforting too. It’s like a family secret recipe. There’s no MSG, like mandus nowadays, so it may not be as tasty to some people, but it has that special, homey taste.

When we made them, we would make hundreds and eat all during the winter and summer. We’d eat them on special occasions, such as birthdays.”

Here is my story of mandu.

Here is my mom’s story of mandu.


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