Whenever I ask my Korean or non-Korean friends what they think about naengmyeon (cold noodles), they say: it’s okay. Some even go as far as solemnly warn me: don’t try it.
It’s ok? Not so enthusiastic isn’t it? I have been veryyyyyy curious about naengmyeon, but I never wanted to try it :\ I mean, cold noodles? Aren’t noodles supposed to be hot? For a gal coming from a country where people eat (hot) noodle in all forms and all the time, cold noodle is a totally bizarre concept. And those who have tried naengmyeon all told me tha there is just nothing special about the dish. So it is noodle, and it is cold. And that’s it.
I am a very emotional, subjective, and biased person. When I have made up my mind that I don’t like something, I rarely change my decision. I pretty much decided that I wouldn’t try naengmyeon because I didn’t like it (lol), until today. For lunch today I walked to Edae to try a really cool looking hot-chicken tonkkatsu place, but it was not open. After walking around with my belly yelling for food, I stumbled upon a Naengmyeon-with-meat restaurant. It was only 5500 KRW for a bowl of naengmyeong with grilled pork, so I was like, ok I’m gonna try, even if the noodle sucks I can still eat the meat…
But oh… ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the naengmyeon. Oh the naengmyeon. Oh.
It was deadly delicious.
Oh the naengmyeon.
(Well that’s supposed to be a haiku, but never mind)
It was so crazily delicious I was thrilled. I chose bibim naengmyeon (different from mul naengmyeon aka. cold buckwheat noodles in icy broth) and shortly afterwards my order came. Like an expert, I ate the boiled egg first because it is supposed to calm your stomach down as buckwheat is too strong for your stomach to handle (makes no sense, I know).
They will give you a scissors to cut the noodles. As buckwheat noodle is very chewy, cutting it before eating is a must unless you want to look like an idiot. Now mix everything up.
All my skepticism and prejudice about naengmyeon were thrown out of the window the moment the it touched my tongue. Oh. It was a perfect harmony of sour and sweet and spicy flavors. It was so refreshing and invigorating. The noodles were chewy yet smooth like silk. It was just gorgeous. But I can understand why it is so easy to fuck this stuff up: to achieve this absolute balance of taste is damn hard. That is why some think that naengmyeon is too sweet, or too sour, or too bland, or so spicy that they cannot detect any other flavor.
To boost the beauty of the noodle is quite generous a portion of grilled rib (galbi). Naengmyeon is not traditionally served with meat. But a few years ago, restaurants after restaurants started to offer this combo–for me it is a great trend. The meat, like the naengmyeon, was delectable. I loved loved loved how strong the peppery flavor was. It was so well seasoned and perfectly grilled. The meat could have been a main dish of its own.
5500 KRW, it was a great value.
Like any respectable naengmyeon house, this place only serves mul naengmyeon, bibim naengmyeon, and mandu. In the winter, however, they also have kalkuksu.
I went to 고쌈냉면 Gossam Naengmyeon in Edae. There is another branch right across the street from Hyundai Uplex at Sinchon station exit 2 as well. This map shows how to get to Gossam Naengmyeon Edae branch from Edae station exit 1 or Sinchon station exit 4.