Summer temperatures are beginning to appear around South Korea and while ice cream and soft drinks work well to cool a person down, sometimes a non-sugary substance is needed to satisfy the palate. That’s where the unique cold noodle soup comes in. Naengmyeon (냉면) is a South Korean dish consisting of either buckwheat noodles or glass noodles. However, despite it being a soup it's actually served in an ice cold broth with lots of vegetables and a boiled egg. In comparison, it's like eating cold ramen.
This dish is extremely popular in the summer when temperatures can reach into the upper 90's in July and August and when street goers need a quick cool down. Don't let the idea of cold soup trick you though, according to Yonhap News, in 2018 prices soared for the popular dish due to the increasing heat as well as the naengmyeon trend. The soup averaged at about 8,000 won ($7.80) which is a little hefty for a bowl of soup, so it's best to check out the market before committing to the purchase.
Naengmyeon, as mentioned before, is a cold broth soup but there is actually another type of naengmyeon called bibim naengmyeon. The difference? One has broth and the other doesn't. Bibim naengmyeon is only served with a gochujang paste (red chili paste) but still packs that nice cold noodle and vegetable that everyone loves.
Watch YouTubers Simon and Martina try out these different types of naengmyeon:
Naengmyeon can be served with more than just the traditional veggies and egg. In fact, it can be served with meat, kimchi, different noodles, or any other creative way to make it. The key point is that it's served cold.
Want to make your own Naengmyeon at home? Try out this recipe from Maangchi:
Whether you're wanting a unique soup experience, or you seriously need to cool down after shopping in Myeongdong all afternoon, naengmyeon will always have your back. It's a seasonal dish, so make sure if you decide to venture out to Korea for a taste, do it before temperatures begin to fall again or you might miss out!
Written by Ryann Ellis