Update: The owner notified us that because of the volume of her flower business, she stopped making mandoo in late 2019.
So I picked up some homemade mandoo for my family and everybody wanted for know where I got 'em from. With one straight face I said, "Oh, from da flower shop."
I had advance knowledge that A.C. Florist wuz going be selling mandoo cuz I wuz passing by and I seen one lady in da window cutting round onion. So I just had to go inside and ask what that wuz about. Da lady said da owner wuz gonna start selling steam mandoo so she told me for come back on October 8. Making sure I heard correctly, I asked, "So you going sell flowers and MANDOO?" And she just nodded, like it wuzn't odd to her at all.
I arrived yesterday, da first day of da selling of da mandoo. I had for wait little while cuz one lady who came before me bought 20-something. Gee, word really getting out I thought. I asked them how people even knew about 'em? Turns out they had put one ad inside da Korean newspaper das why.
A.C. Florist sells two kine mandoos. Chicken and vegetable mandoo and pork/beef and vegetable mandoo. While I wuz waiting for my mandoos I wuz talking story with da owner and cook Yong Stone, one little bit older lady who loves Korean pop music. I wuz trying for get on her good side, cuz she nevah seem fond of me asking so many questions and wanting for take pictures. While da mandoo wuz cooking she wuz watching some kinda music video on her phone so I asked if she wuz listening to BTS (cuz das da only Korean band I know). She said, "Lot of people like them, yeah." So I said, "Yeah. Is that your favorite too?" She said, "No." And her eyes went back to watching whatever group she likes das apparently waaaay bettah than BTS.
I wuz trying for do everything I could for get her for hype up her mandoo. But strangely. she nevah like talk about her mandoo. Instead she showed me pictures on her phone of all da fancy flower arrangements her husband had made (da giant fish one wuz super nice). So I kept trying for steer da conversation back to da mandoo. I asked if da mandoo wuz one special recipe that somebody taught her how for make. She downplayed it and said "All woman, anybody can do." She had mentioned she used to have one restaurant called Damoa when she moved here from da mainland a few years ago, so I asked if her mandoo wuz her best specialty dish from that restaurant. She said, "No. Other food more better."
I began to worry that maybe this mandoo wuzn't gonna be so good after all. But when I had stopped by da first time, da woman who wuz cutting da onions said that everybody said Yong's mandoo wuz really good, so that gave her da encouragement for decide for sell 'em.
When da mandoos wuz ready I thought Yong Stone wuz just gonna pack it up so she could be rid of me. I got da impression that she thought I wuz annoying. So I wuz kinda perplexed when she told me for sit down. She insisted I try 'em right den and dea. I had to eat it hot. "Cold one no taste," she said.
At that point her husband offered me some shoyu-vinegar sauce. I noticed Yong grimaced when he did that, so I said, "I no tink da cook would like it if I used da sauce." "No need listen to her," da husband joked. It wuz at this point that I figured Yong Stone out. She wuz being modest, just like da mom Linda from "The Joy Luck Club."
I flashbacked to da scene where da haole guy Rich comes over to dinner for meet da Asian parents of his girlfriend Waverly played by Tamlyn Tomita. For da final dish da mom insults her own dish, cuz it's da dish that she serves with special pride. And not knowing this Rich tries it and says, "All this needs is a little soy sauce." An'den everybody stay all in shock when he pours shoyu over da whole ting. Lol.
I tink I made Yong Stone happy that I sampled 'em without da sauce. Yong Stone's mandoos not only look like miniature works of art, but they're also super delicious as well. Both versions look like get mushroom, sweet potato starch noodles, round onion and green onions inside. And I wuz impressed that da chicken one had minced chicken as opposed to ground chicken. Yong said that more people like da pork/beef one, but she makes da chicken one too because she likes to make healthy food.
You not going get Yong Stone for say anything nice about her own mandoo. But trust me, das how you know it's really good.
Mandoo for sale Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $1.50 each.
Aiea Shopping Center
99-115 Aiea Heights Dr.