Naeng myun (or naengmyoen) is a Korean cold noodle dish made of thin, slightly chewy noodles topped with egg, meat, vegetables, and a savory, vinegary ice-cold broth. The noodles usually are made from buckwheat, but also can be made from sweet potatoes, plain potatoes, arrowroot starch or even kudzu root (chik), the root of the often invasive kudzu vine.
Although it is now a summertime food among Koreans, naengmyoen's origins are in the North Korean mountains as a wintertime staple. Buckwheat grows well in high altitudes, and it became an important dish for Koreans living in the harsh mountain climate.
But naengmyoen is refreshing in hot weather, and it's a one-bowl meal that requires very little time at the stove. It's also almost always gluten-free.
Look for Naengyun noodles at a local Asian market, or order them online. Plan to serve Korean mustard paste, sugar and vinegar on the side of these Korean cold noodles, since most Koreans like to add them to taste (in South Korea, sugar is used less extensively). Korean cold noodles makes the perfect summer meal.
- ¼ lb Naengyun noodles (thin noodles made from buckwheat and sweet potato, but make sure you're not buying soba or memil gooksu)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups beef broth, unsalted
- 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 small Asian pear, julienned or cut into paper-thin slices
- 1 egg, hard-boiled and sliced in half
- ½ Korean cucumber, seeded and then julienned or cut into paper-thin slices
- ¼ cup pickled radish
- Optional: Cooked brisket or beef shank, thinly sliced
- To serve: ice cubes
- To serve: vinegar, sugar, and Korean mustard
- Mix cooled chicken and beef broths together with vinegar.*
- Add more salt or vinegar to taste.**
- Chill in refrigerator for at least a half an hour if possible.
- Cook noodles according to package directions, about 3-5 minutes in boiling water.
- Drain noodles and rinse well in cold water to stop cooking and eliminate some excess starch.
- Distribute noodles into bowls, mounding at bottom.
- Pour a generous amount of chilled broth and a few ice cubes to cover almost of all of noodles.
- Place half a boiled egg, cucumber and pear slices, pickled radish, and brisket slices on top of noodles.
(Serves 2) *You can use store-bought or homemade broth. **If you don't have Asian pear, you can use bosc pears. If you don't have any pears, you can use crunchy apples. If you have no fruit, you might want to put 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar in your broth.