You know summer is here when all you want is Naengmyeon 냉면 (granted it's traditionally eaten in the winter)Saturday, June 05, 2010
So while living in New York my friend Sarah and I were constantly looking for the Naengmyeon with the best broth. The simple reason being, there isn't much in a Naengmyeon, it's made of beef broth, noodles and a hard boiled egg. The simpler something is it's harder to get it right, you can't hide behind all the fuss.
Being in the homeland of Naengmyeon (actually Naengmyeon's OG homeland is the North), I've started a collection of a few good spots... for this post it's just a comparison between two old timers.
#1 Buwon myeon oak (부원면옥) 5,500 won for a bowl of Naengmyeon
This is located in the hustle and bustle of the Namdaemun Market.
My dad has been coming here since his college days and not much has changed, including the taste of the broth. It's cloudier and denser than most and the noodles chewier. The best thing about this place is the mung bean pancakes (녹두전) there's something about the crispy exterior and the piping hot interior that melds perfectly with the ice cold broth and chewy noodles. Caution if you have sensitive teeth, I wouldn't recommend it :P
This lady welcomes you with fried mungbean pancakes (well not really)
Buwon Myeon Oak
(Line No.4 Hwehyun Station exit 5)
#2 Pyongyang myeon oak (평양면옥) 9,000 won (for a bowl of Naengmyeon, I know gasp!)
This is my grandmother's favorite spot for a cold bowl of noodle. As you can see the broth is practically clear! But don't let the clarity fool you it's full of flavor and the noodles are made with a higher ratio of buckwheat, which make the noodles softer to cut with your teeth.
They also serve tofu stuffed dumplings... not my favorite
But THIS is awesome, I can almost guarantee that Dan won't like it, because it tastes like nothing! And honestly it doesn't taste like much, it's the broth from cooking the buckwheat noodles. But there's something about cooking something that taste so subtle you mistake it for nothing. All I can say is ... it's comforting to drink it.
Pyeongyang Myeon Oak
(Line No.4 dongdaemun history and culture park Station exit 5)
I'm no expert, but I agree with my dad, if Pyeonyang Myeon Oak substituted the dumplings for the mung bean pancakes, you'd probably see me and my dad chowing down every other week.
Enjoy the upcoming summer everyone!
ps. I also tried the Ohjangdong hungnam jib (오장동흥남집)
all I can say is I had such a horrible reaction to all the MSG they put in the broth, I was pounding my chest to get some air in my lungs. Care to hear what others thought of it, but I won't be going back.