#101 - Manna Wok, Wichita, KS

I seem to always have really good luck with restaurants in Wichita.  I've yet to be disappointed, and TripAdvisor has never led me astray.  Wichita is the perfect place to stop for lunch on my way home from Kansas City, and I try to hit there right around lunchtime. I came across Manna Wok, and it looked very interesting and got great reviews.  The one thing they all did say was to not let the neighborhood or the outside of the restaurant stop you from going.  And as I pulled up, I understood why.  The neighborhood was sketchy at best, and the building itself looked like it was completely closed.  I seriously considered finding someplace else, but read the reviews again, and decided to be adventurous.  I just hoped my car would still be there when I got done.

Manna Wok is TINY.  There are maybe 8 tables.  And they are packed together tight. Every inch of wall space is covered by pictures of patrons in the restaurant, and then at each table there's photo books with more pictures.  They've also got tons of just random stuff on the counters and in the entrance.  I swear it could be a museum.

It's owned by a couple; the husband cooks, while the wife runs the front of the house. They both still have a REALLY strong accent, and we did a lot of pointing to help me decide what to eat.  I started with the Kim Bab.  It's like sushi, but with no fish

It was just like sushi!  Thinly sliced beef and veggies with rice, wrapped in seaweed.  I was very surprised how much it was for just an appetizer. It was savory and absolutely delicious.  The flavors worked really well together. 

For lunch, I started with a salad 

They use that same dressing as I had in the sushi buffet in Lewisville, the stuff that looks like pureed baby food.  But it was still really good.

Then I got the beef bulgogi.  I had read that they make it at your table, but I think that's when it's more than one person, and also just at dinner.

Wow, this was amazing.  The marinated beef was perfectly cooked and delicious.  I had never tasted kimchee before.  I had seen it tons of times in Asian markets, but never was adventurous enough to try it.  Boy have I been missing out.  The kimchee was really, really good.  Tons of flavor, and I'm definitely glad I got medium spice because the hot would have been too much for me.  The rice was the same sticky rice used in sushi, and was delicious.  And it helped tone down the kick of the kimchee.

As I was eating, the owners came out and ate their lunch too.  And as I was finishing, they struck up a conversation.  They were so friendly, and very excited when I told them I'd found them on TripAdvisor and was just driving through. 

Will I go back?  Well, I promised the owners I would be back next time I'm in Wichita. And I can't go back on my word.  Besides, the food was amazing, and next time I want my picture to go on the wall!