Naengmyeon is a cold dish of thin, long handmade noodles made from the flour and starches of ingredients such as buckwheat, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Naengmyeon, originating from North Korea, literally means “cold noodles.”
A basic bowl of naengmyeon involves placing noodles in a stainless-steel bowl with a cold but tasty broth. Usually added to the broth and noodles are sliced cucumbers and pears, a hard boiled egg, and pieces of sliced beef. Condiments such as spicy mustard sauce, vinegar, or sugar are often added before eating to enhance the flavor of the dish.
The are two main variations, mul naengmyeon and bibim naengmyeon.
Mul naengmyeon originates from the city of Pyongyang, North Korea. The noodles are made using the starches from buckwheat. The noodles are then placed in a cold broth of beef, chicken, or pheasant. Dongchimi, a watery and salty broth with kimchi, is usually mixed in along with sliced radish.
Bibim naengmyeon originates from the city of Hamhung, North Korea. The noodles are usually made from the starches of potatoes or sweet potatoes. This makes for a chewier noodle. The broth and noodles are then mixed together and seasoned with gochujang, which is a spicy red pepper paste.
One of the best places in Seoul to eat this tasty dish is at Naengmeyon Street. The street is located across the street from Jungbu Dried Seafoods Market in Ojang-dong. To get here, take Line 2 or Line 5 to Euljiro 4(sa)-ga Station (Exit 8). From the exit, walk about 200 meters to Mareunnae-ro Street, and turn left. Continue another 200 meters to reach the restaurants across the street from the market.