[Seoul] “Must go, must go.” Noodle restaurant Myeongdong Kyoja 명동교자 seems to be a highly recommended in Myeongdong by friends who texted me.
Having been around for more than 40 years, Myeongdong Kyoja claims to be the founders of handmade Kalguksu noodles, which literally means noodles made by cutting flour dough into thin slices by knife.
The noodle restaurant was formally known as Myeongdong Kalguksu, but forced to change name to ‘Kyoja’ after there were too many copycats who ripped off their name.
It wasn’t too hard to find the shop in the beauty-fashion shops filled Myeongdong (used Google Maps). There are 2 branches within close vicinity with each other.
Myeongdong Kyoja occupies a 3-storey shop-space, completely filled when I visited, despite having a rather lean menu.
There were just 4 items on sale – Kalguksu ‘chopped noodle’ soup (₩8,000, SGD$9.60), Bibimguksu spicy noodle soup (₩8,000, SGD$9.60), Mandu dumplings (₩10,000, SGD$12), Kongguksu noodles in cold soybean soup (Available during summer time.)
You can spot almost every table ordering the same items. And my dumpling arrived like within a minute of ordering. It was that fast.
“So simple yet delicious!” My 1st reaction to the Kalguksu as it looked like an unassuming modest bowl of noodles (which reminded me of ban mian).
But the whole mouthful was a pleasurable surprise – the noodle’s texture was exceptionally slippery smooth, like a much softer form of udon.
The chicken broth soup clear yet nourishing, didn’t need much salt to enhance its taste, a comfort dish with ingredients of minced meat, dumplings and vegetables.
The one dish that I really enjoyed and would recommend (more than the Kalguksu) would be the Bibimguksu – cold soft wheat noodles tossed in this special spicy red pepper paste sauce.
The spiciness is what we would call ”shiok” (Singaporean) or ”mashiseoyo” (Korean).
Similarly, Myeongdong Kyoja’s kimchi is one of the best I ever had, made with abundant amounts of hot pepper and garlic, salted with sea salt, and stored for at least 3 years.
Warning: you could walk out with kimchi breath, and fortunately a gum was given.
Despite appearing quite legit with all the folds, the signature Mandu was less impressive on taste. Perhaps it happened to be on the milder side, and I wished for juicier fillings.
However, I appreciated its thin translucent skin, almost perfect folds with fresh pork and vegetables wrapped within. Compared to the typical dumplings, there wasn’t the porky aftertaste.
Myeongdong Kyoja 명동교자
29, Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul (Myeong-dong 2-ga)
서울특별시 중구 명동10길 29 (명동2가)
Tel: +82-2-776-5348 (Main outlet)
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 9:30pm
Myeongdong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 8.
Upon exiting the station, turn left onto Myeongdong 10-gil Road.
Go straight about 150m to arrive at Myeongdong Kyoja (명동교자) on the right
Branch: 33-4 2-ga, Myeong-dong Jung-gu, Seoul
From Myeongdong Station (Exit 8), turn left onto Myeongdong 10-gil Road.
Go straight about 280m to arrive at the restaurant on the left.
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