Mandu are believed to have been first brought to Korea by Yuan Mongolians in the 14th century during the Goryeo Dynasty. The state religion of Goryeo was Buddhism, which discouraged consumption of meat. Mongolian incursion into Goryeo relaxed the religious prohibition against consuming meat, and mandu was among the newly imported dishes that included meat.
Another possibility is mandu came to Korea at a much earlier period from the Middle East through the Silk Road. Historians point out many cuisines based on wheat, such as dumplings and noodles originated from Mesopotamia and gradually spread from there. It also spread east along the Silk Road, leaving many versions of mandu throughout Central and East Asia.
A Goryeo era folk song Ssanghwajeom tells a story of mandu shop (ssanghwa meaning "dumplings", and jeom meaning "shop") run by a foreigner, probably of Central Asian origin.