Thursday, July 30, 2015

Famous Naengmyeong Place by City Hall: Nampo Myeonok

Nampo Myeonok for Naengmyeon in Seoul

Nampo Myeonok for Naengmyeon in Seoul

Nampo Myeonok for Naengmyeon in Seoul

Nampo Myeonok for Naengmyeon in Seoul
It's hot, so it is best to get some cool, chilled Naengmyeon at the classic Nampo Myeonok Restaurant by City Hall.

Pictures by Jihyun Lee

Seoul Eats: Nampomyeonok

Contrary to popular belief, Korean “naengmyeon” is a wintertime specialty dish that originated in North Korea. I guess the idea of combating cold with cold is similar to people in India drinking blazing hot coffee to fight the heat. Although some still eat naengmyeon-which translates to “cold noodle”- in winter; these days it is more common to eat it in summer cool down from the heat

Naengmyeon has become ubiquitous around Korea and the world. The standard seems to be a brown chewy noodle that's dense (and often clumps), a salty beef broth, half an egg (which you are supposed to eat first to prepare your stomach for the cold meal), turnip, chunks of crushed ice, and julienned cucumbers and pear. This standardized dish is the result of many shortcuts and compromises in ingredients. This is where Nampomyeonok stands out; it has stayed true to its origins and the evidence is in the food.

Nampomyeonok is near Eujiro 1-ga exit 1. You take the first right past a strange stone tower that is eccentrically covered in headlights and straight into an alley. About 100 meters into the alley you will see a big wooden sign to the right that says 남포명옥. If you miss the first entrance; don’t worry, there are two. As soon as you walk in you’ll be intrigued by the traditional han-ok (Korean traditional house) décor and the pots embedded in concrete on the floor. These pots contain dongchimi: a water radish kimchi, that is essential to the soup’s broth.
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