Naengmyeon, with its firm texture, sweet and spicy sauce and cold, comforting broth, hails from North Korea. A wintertime food back in the day, it is now an all-season favorite, particularly during Korea’s notoriously hot and humid summer months.
The secret to a great bowl of naengmyeon is its broth. For naengmyeon aficionados, subtle complexity in the broth is the measure of its quality. For the Sinpyeong 1-dong community head, Sinpyeongga Sagye-jeol Naengmyeon passed this test handily.
The community head credits the quality of ox bones and meat used to create the broth for the restaurant owner’s successful 15-year history, first as a pork restaurant and later serving noodles. Cinnamon and other medicinal herbs are also boiled, all for 18 to 20 hours. This lengthy process requires dedication and patience, but the reward is a beautiful soup full of rich flavors that are only possible through a long, long simmer. Its noodles are made by hand, resulting in a firmer, chewier and overall more satisfying dining experience.
Garnished with meat slices, shredded cucumber and boiled eggs surrounded by thin ice, this “Pyeongyang-style” naengmyeon is a complete meal. Or, you can mix in sweet and spicy sauce for a “Hamheung-style” experience. Either one will cost 7,000 won, with milmyeon orders costing 5,000 won. Adding an order of dumplings (5,000 won) is just the icing on the broth (we’ll take noodles over cake any day).
Address: 18, Dadae-ro 142beon-gil, Saha-gu
How to get there: Dongmae Station (Metro line 1), exit 2. Walk five minutes.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed on rainy days.