[Seoul] If you are used to having piping hot noodles, then having a bowl of Naengmyeon may be slightly perplexing. But it has an interesting appeal, and I have grown to enjoy this cold-noodle dish a fair bit.
Naengmyeon (or raengmyŏn) is sometimes known as “Pyongyang Naengmyeon” as it was originally created in Northern Korean during the Joseon Dynasty, made popular in the city of Pyongyang.
These long and thin hand-made noodles became popular throughout Korea after the Korean War.
While it is traditionally served during winter, today it is more commonly eaten during summer months.
Naengmyeon is usually served in a large stainless-steel bowl, with long chewy noodles in a iced tangy broth, included with julienned cucumbers, Korean pear, boiled egg and occasional sliced beef.
The long noodles are supposed to be eaten without cutting as they symbolise longevity, but there are scissors available in restaurants to cut them up so that it is easier to consume.
Recognized by Michelin Guide with a “Bib Gourmand” for its cold buckwheat noodle dish Maengmyeon, Nampo Myeoknok 남포면옥 located near City Hall has been around for 4 decades.
Positioned in a small alley amidst a district full of office buildings, it can be reached via Exit 1 of Eujiro 1-ga. (It can be reached via a 10 to 15 minutes’ walk from central Myeongdong as well.)
Crowd-averse diners should skip the lunch hour when it is full of workers from nearby offices on meal break.
Nampo Myeoknok has a beautiful, modern interior and a reputation for authentic Pyeongyang-style cold buckwheat noodles and beef hot pot.
Walk right in and you’ll find traditional Korean house décor and concrete-embedded pots on the floor containing dongchimi labelled with different dates.
This is a kind of water radish which is essential for the soup base.
Both chair and floor seating are available. You can request for an English menu, and would find that the dishes start from 10,000 Korean Won.
The cold “Neng Nuyn” (12,000 Won, SGD13.90) was indeed very refreshing and tasty, and I enjoyed the fruitiness of the chilled beef broth as you get a bit of pear-sweetness, savouriness and vinegary-savour all at the same time.
The noodles has a soft and chewy bite, and slips down the throat easily.
Koreans recommend having the soup on its own to get the original taste first, after which you can add vinegar and mustard to your liking.
Not a fan of cold noodles? Order “On Myun” (12,000 Won) its warm counterpart.
This comes with buckwheat noodles in hot broth, though I found this a lot more ordinary and the beef to be on the bland side.
Another popular favourite is the Bibim Neng Myun (12,000 Won), drenched in red chilli paste for those who love some spice and kick.
Nampo Myeonok 남포면옥
24 Eulji-ro 3-gil, Da-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울시 중구 다동 121-4
Tel: +82 2 777 3131
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 11:30am – 9pm (Sat – Sun)
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