Naeng Myun, it's only cold noodles, right?
A Korean newspaper recently reported a court case involving a lawsuit to recover loyalty fee of ten million Won paid for a Naeng Myun soup recipe that failed to satisfy! Naeng Myun is a serious business! I have known people to drive two hours for a bowl of Naeng Myun in the USA.
There are only two kinds of naeng myun: Mool Naeng Myun -with cold soup, and Bibim Naeng Myun, spicy 'dry' cold noodle. The noodle itself is made from buckwheat and specialty Naeng Myun houses make their own noodle recipe on the premises. After being boiled, it is plunged in ice water to make it more chewy. Some affectionados insist only really tough noodles make the grade!
Soup stock is what makes or breaks good Mool Naeng Myun. Many recipes exist, but is usally a combination of cold clear beef stock with Dongchimi soup, a non-spicy radish water kimchee. Toppings include thin slices of boiled, pressed beef, thin slices of pickled cucumber, radish and pear, with a halved hard boiled egg. It is served with vinegar and mustard on the side, to be added to individual's preference.
Bibim Naeng Myun is made by mixing the cold noodle in a dressing of chilli sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, pureed garlic, and topped with fried minced beef and finely julienned cucumber.
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