Monday, May 24, 2010

Cold Delight Naengmyeon at Pyongyang Myeonok

May had a hot spell in the middle of the month. Hot weather = perfect time for cold noodles. A crisply cold pasta salad would have been good, but since this is Korea - naengmyeon time.

Naengmyeon originates from North Korea. The noodles are either made from buckwheat or potato starch, the former being Hamhung style and the latter, Pyongyang. The buckwheat noodles are extremely long and chewy and absolutely require prior cutting with food scissors before eating; otherwise it'd feel like you're trying to swallow a whole noodle nest. The Pyongyang style noodles are less chewy and can be easily bitten through; some people find the texture too brittle.

There are two basic varieties: bibim (mixed) naengmyeon and mul (water) naengmyeon. I rarely go for the bibim because I like the broth the mul version comes with. It's the taste of the soup that gets me salivating most of the time and I usually don't leave a single drop.

Pyongyang style mul naengmyeon:

Noodles in broth with slices of Korean pear, cold boiled beef, green onions, red chili powder.

Half of a hard-boiled egg was hiding inside. Add vinegar and spicy mustard to taste. Some people add more red pepper paste but I prefer the cold broth to stay crisp and tangy so I don't.

Hot steamed (and huge) handmade dumplings. It's better to line the stomach with something warm before you attack it with chilly noodles. Also, one is never quite full with just a single bowl of naengmyeon. It's good as a quick light lunch or something with which you finish off a meat packed meal. Most galbi places will offer you naengmyeon as a closer, for example.

The notice from the restaurant declaring the reduction of fat, sodium and calories in their menu. Thus the 'healthy restaurant' designation from the Seocho district office. Such a good idea for the "well-being" conscious clientele.

If you're on the north side of the Han river, go to Pildong Myeonok (필동면옥) for Pyongyang naengmyeon. If you're on the south side, this restaurant is probably your best bet.

Pyongyang Myeonok (평양면옥)
Tel : 02-547-6947
Metro : Between Sinsa station (Line 3, exit #4) and Nonhyeon station (Line 7, exit #6)
Closed 1st and 3rd week Tuesdays

P.S. Will post about Hamhung naengmyeon soon.

1 comment:

KingGalbi said...

I've never seen Korean dumplings look like matzoh balls.