Korean Cold Noodle Soup (Mul Naengmyeon)

Korean cold noodles (naengmyoen)
Phung Huynh Vu Qui / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Yield: 2 bowls
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
295 Calories
4g Fat
56g Carbs
14g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 295
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 1494mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 54mg 269%
Calcium 125mg 10%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 1140mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Though many Americans enjoy gazpacho and maybe a cold bowl of vichyssoise now and then, soup never really made the roster of popular summertime menu items. Naeng myun (or naengmyeon), a Korean cold noodle soup with thin, slightly chewy noodles topped with egg, meat, vegetables, and a vinegar-infused ice-cold broth, could be the game-changer.

Although Koreans now enjoy naengmyeon as a summertime meal, it came out of the North Korean mountains. Buckwheat grows well in high altitudes, and naengmyeon became a favorite winter dish of Koreans living in the harsh climate.

But naengmyeon tastes especially refreshing in hot weather, and it's a one-bowl meal that requires little time at the stove. It's also almost always gluten free. Though typically made primarily from buckwheat, the noodles may also contain sweet potato, plain potato, arrowroot starch, and even kudzu root (chik), from the often invasive kudzu vine.

Look for naeng myun noodles at a local Asian market, or order them online (don't mistake soba or memil gooksu noodles for them). Plan to serve Korean mustard paste, sugar, and vinegar on the side of these Korean cold noodles, since most Koreans like to add them while at the table.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cold chicken broth

  • 2 cups cold unsalted beef broth

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

  • Salt to taste, optional

  • 1/4 pound naeng myun noodles

  • 1 large hard-boiled egg, sliced in half

  • 1/2 Korean cucumber, seeded and julienned or cut into paper-thin slices

  • 1 small Asian pear, julienned or cut into paper-thin slices

  • 1/4 cup pickled radish

  • 6 thin slices cooked brisket, or beef shank, optional

  • Ice cubes, for serving

  • Vinegar, sugar, and Korean mustard paste, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix the cold chicken and beef broths together with the vinegars.

  3. Taste, then add more salt or vinegar as needed.

  4. Cover and chill the broth in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

  5. Cook the noodles according to the package directions, or for about 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water.

  6. Drain the noodles and rinse them well in cold water to stop the cooking process and eliminate any excess starch.

  7. Divide the noodles into 2 bowls, mounding them at the bottom.

  8. Pour a generous amount of chilled broth over the noodles to cover them, then add a few ice cubes to the bowl.

  9. Place half a boiled egg, some cucumber and pear slices, pickled radish, and a few brisket slices on top of the noodles.

  10. Serve with Korean mustard paste, sugar, and vinegar on the side. Enjoy.

Tip

  • You can use store-bought or homemade broth.

Recipe Variation

  • If you don't have Asian pear, you can substitute bosc pears. You can also use crunchy apples in place of pears. If you omit the fruit altogether, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar to the broth to compensate for the lost sweetness.
  • For a hot, spicy version, try this Korean Spicy Noodle Soup recipe.