I Have a Dumpling Drawer in My Freezer — Here Are the 7 Dumplings I Always Buy at H Mart

published Dec 7, 2022
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Credit: Alyse Whitney

Instead of viewing life in terms of a glass half-full or half-empty, I gauge my outlook based on how full my dumpling drawer is. In my freezer there are at least four types of dumplings at all times: one to boil, one to steam, one to steam-fry, and one to fry-fry. (Well, shallow fry until extra crispy.) 

As a Korean American adoptee who didn’t grow up eating more than the occasional boiled mandu from one tiny Asian grocery store (Kim’s Oriental in Binghamton, New York), I had no idea that this many types of dumplings existed until I moved to New York City after college and discovered H Mart. I experimented with different fillings and types throughout the years, but it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles and had three H Marts within 15 minutes of my apartment (and a much larger freezer) that I decided to dedicate a whole drawer to dumplings.

Credit: Alyse Whitney

The selection at H Mart can be daunting. Even in a smaller store, there are probably at least 50 types lining freezer shelves from many countries including Korea, Japan, and China. But after many years of trial and error (didn’t love the mini octopus dumplings) I landed on seven go-tos that I buy again and again. These are my tried-and-true faves, and I hope they become yours, too.

Credit: Alyse Whitney

1. Pulmuone Jumbo Kimchi & Pork Dumplings

After eating giant mandu at an Asian food court in LA, I ran to H Mart to try to find something close to those large-and-in-charge dumplings. There are different variations of this jumbo dumpling, but I like the gentle kick and extra savoriness in the juicy kimchi and pork filling. There are also little bits of glass noodles to add bounciness, all held together inside a shockingly thin skin.

I will either steam these or get them crispy on the bottom like potstickers and then steam them until tender. To combat the spice, try melting a little cheese on top — I use mozzarella or even American for grilled cheese vibes.

Find it in stores: Pulmone Jumbo Kimchi & Pork Dumplings, $8.99 for 22 ounces

Credit: Alyse Whitney

2. CJ Beksul Classic Dumplings

I have been eating a version of these dumplings for decades. Classic Korean mandu is filled with beef, pork, and vegetables, and this smaller size can be devoured in one bite. They are quick to boil and come out plump and tender with a slightly wrinkled wrapper.

If I’m not making a quick dumpling soup, I douse or dip these into a combination of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil with either a sprinkle of gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) or dollop of gochujang (fermented chili paste).

Find it in stores: CJ Beksul Classic Dumplings, $9.99 for 28 ounces

Credit: Alyse Whitney

3. Pulmuone Mini Pancake Dumplings with Mozzarella Cheese

Expect the unexpected with these flat little pancake dumplings. The cheesy filling is creamy and slightly sweet, like a cross between ravioli filling and cannoli filling. The best way to prepare these is by pan-frying in just enough oil to coat the bottom of a skillet. I’ve tried air-frying and it does work, but prefer the stove, as they need to be watched carefully. Be sure to cook them over moderate (medium-low or medium) heat so they don’t explode due to the cheese becoming molten-y inside.

I have dipped these in marinara sauce; ketchup; and a combination of hoisin sauce, Sriracha, and Kewpie mayonnaise. All are great. They’re like a dough-wrapped mozzarella stick with a sweet undertone, and the exterior is crunchy with a slightly chewy bounciness.

Find it in stores: Pulmuone Mini Pancake Dumplings with Mozzarella Cheese, $7.49 for 21 ounces

Credit: Alyse Whitney

4. Prime Food Chicken & Shrimp Wontons 

I haven’t found my platonic ideal of wonton soup in LA since moving here two years ago, so I make it at home when the mood strikes. I have tried this brand’s chicken & shrimp, just shrimp, and pork & shrimp, and all are fantastic — nice thin wrapper, the right ratio of filling to wonton skin, and they boil up super fast.

I doctor up store-bought chicken stock with soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, scallions, and sometimes a beaten egg for an egg drop wonton soup situation.

Find it in stores: Prime Food Chicken & Shrimp Wontons, $6.49 for 16 ounces

Credit: Alyse Whitney

5. Bibigo Rice Wrapper Potstickers

I discovered flat dumplings at H Mart a few years ago and never turned back. They are so much easier to get crispy on both sides than their domed dumpling friends. The package I used to buy had these labeled as Japchae Rice Wrapper Potstickers — FYI, not gluten-free, as the wrapper is made with wheat flour and sweet rice flour — but sometimes I see it as just Rice Wrapper Potstickers.

They taste the same and both have japchae noodles (made of sweet potato starch, also called cellophane or glass noodles) inside. They’re so incredibly crunchy when pan-fried in enough oil to coat a skillet or spritzed liberally with cooking spray and air-fried at 380°F for about eight minutes, flipping halfway through. (If you don’t spray with oil, they’ll come out dry and hard instead of nice and crispy!)

Find it in stores: Bibigo Rice Wrapper Potstickers, $11.99 for 28 ounces

Credit: Alyse Whitney

6. Ajinomoto Jumbo Pork Shumai Dumplings

I’m always chasing the shumai of dim sum, and these come close to restaurant-quality at home. I recommend you steam them. There are microwave directions, but they come out, well, sad — just buy a cheap bamboo steamer, boil a few inches of water, and you’ll have perfectly plump, juicy, porky dumplings in 10 minutes.

Ajinomoto is one of the biggest makers of MSG, so it’s no surprise these are so savory and umami-rich, accented with oyster sauce. They’re so good they don’t even need soy sauce, but sometimes I mix chili crisp and soy sauce for a dip with a kick.

Find it in stores: Ajinomoto Jumbo Pork Shumai Dumplings, $9.99 for 16 ounces 

Credit: Alyse Whitney

7. O’Food Kimchi Chicken Cheese Mandu

Every time I run out of a bag of familiar dumplings, I try to buy something totally different than I’ve ever picked before. It’s my impulse buy and wildcard choice at H Mart. The most recent one are these Kimchi Chicken Cheese Mandu, which are heavier on the kimchi than the cheese.

To offset the spice and amp up the cheesiness, I made a crispy cheese skirt for these dumplings when steam-frying them like potstickers. (Over medium heat, I crisped the bottoms for about three minutes in a little neutral oil, then added ½ cup water and covered to steam. Once they were tender, I sprinkled a handful of mozzarella cheese between and around the dumplings, and let them cook together over medium-low heat until golden brown and crisp.) With this cheesy accessory, they’ll definitely be added to the permanent dumpling drawer rotation.

Find it in stores: O’Food Kimchi Chicken Cheese Mandu, $8.99 for 24 ounces

Did your favorite make the list? Tell us about it in the comments.