What’s your favorite food for hot summer days? In Korea, cold noodles are extremely popular in the summer. Among many varieties of cold noodle dishes, naengmyeon (냉면) is at the top in popularity ranking! Naengmyeon is a cold noodle dish of thin, chewy noodles that are made with buckwheat and potato or sweet potato starch.
There are two main types of naengmyeon dishes depending on how it’s prepared – mul naengmyeon (물냉면) and bibim naengmyeon (비빔냉면). For mul naengmyeon, the noodles are served in a clear, refreshing broth that’s typically made with beef broth and/or dongchimi (동치미, radish water kimchi) broth. For bibim naengmyeon, the noodles are mixed in a red, spicy sauce. I will show you how to make both types of naengmyeon in this post!
Mul naengmyeon is commonly known as Pyeongyang (평양) naengmyeon in Korea while bibim naengmyeon is known as Hamheung (함흥) naengmyeon. Pyeongyang and Hamheung are North Korean cities. These naengmyeon dishes became popular in South Korea after the Korean war by the people who fled the North during the war. Pyeongyang naengmyeon noodles are made much more buckwheat than starch, and traditionally enjoyed in icy cold dongchimi broth in the winter. Hamheung naengmyeon noodles are made mostly with potato or sweet potato starch, so they are thinner and chewier.
Various types of naengmyeon noodles are sold commercially – dried, refrigerated, and frozen. Some packages include pouches of premade broth or spicy sauce, which are pretty popular in Korea for quick, convenient meals. They tend to be more expensive, so if you’re making naengmyeon from scratch, only buy noodles. Continue reading