Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kangnam Myunok

Naeng myun literally means "cold noodles" and refers to Korean-style thin, chewy noodles, usually made of buckwheat. There are two main ways to eat naeng myun: bibim naeng myun (literally, "mixed cold noodles") or mul naeng myun ("water cold noodles"). Bibim naeng myun consists of noodles topped with a spicy-sweet cho-gochujang (spicy red pepper paste) mixture, marinated beef, half a boiled egg, and spicy-sweet pickled mu (Korean radish). Mul naeng myun is noodles served in a cold beef broth, usually topped with mu, half a boiled egg, slices of beef and slices of Korean pear. Both mul naeng myun and bibim naeng myun are the perfect remedy for a hot, muggy summer day and if you eat a truly great bowl of naeng myun, you will think it is one of the best things you've ever had in your life. IMHO, it's hard to find good naeng myun outside of Korea unless you have a kickass chef of a mother or grandmother.

My favorite place for bibim naengmyun in Seoul is Hamheung Myunok in Myungdong and my favorite place for mul naengmyun is Kangnam Myunok in Insa-dong. The broth is refreshing, crisp, ever so slightly sweet. So delicious that just thinking about it makes me think I need to plan a trip out to Seoul soon so I can have some. My advice: do not go here for the dumplings (and as tempting as they look because they are very big and succulent looking, do not order them because they are not very good) and do not go here for the bibim naengmyun (which is decent, but to try the best, you have to go to Hamheung Myunok). Just order the mul naengmyun. And you might want to order sari (double serving of noodles).

Mul naengmyun - refreshing, delicious perfection

Bibim naengmyun - decent version but really, get the mul naengmyun

Mandu (dumplings) - look delicious, but are a bit disappointing

Food rating: ***** (for the mul naengmyun), *** and a half (for everything else)
Bang for buck rating: 5

The essentials:
No website
Location: On Insa-dong gil in Seoul, Korea
Average price of meal for two: 15,000 won (~$12)

1 comment:

  1. omg, i LOVE naengmyun and my mouth was literally watering as i read this! -- gk