EATS IN SEOUL: Pildong Myeonok

CC image courtesy of Tfurban on Flickr

Pildong Myeonok, 필동면옥

Among the many restaurants I miss in Korea, this place is always going to be on the top of my list. A North Korean style Naengmyeon restaurant in old city center called Pildong Myeonok. Pyongyang Naengmyeon refers to buckwheat noodles in cold broth, usually made with beef, and it has its origin in North Korea.

There’s so much history and stories about the Naengmyeon places in Seoul but I’ll try to make it brief. There are two mainstreams of Pyongyang Naemyeon in Seoul, one originated in Uijeongbu and one in Jangchung-dong. Both are family run businesses, and Pildong is owned by the first daughter of Uijeongbu Myeonok. The Uijeongbu style Naengmyeon can be quite controversial and often people either love it or hate it. Their signature style is thin buckwheat noodles in cold broth of pork and beef, topped with some meat slices, scallions, gochugaru and that’s it. The taste is very subtle, and it is a quite difficult to fall in love with dish on first try, as I did so as a child. But once you get use to it, these noodles are simply irreplaceable!

For a real magical experience in this place, you would need to order at least three things. Cold pork slices called Jeyuk, Naengmyeon and not to miss, a bottle of Soju. Jeyuk and Naengmyeon make perfect combination with Soju, and one thing always calls the other. I personally like to order the pork and soju first and enjoy that for a while, then have the Naengmyeon solely because the sauce of the pork slice can be too strong to catch the delicate flavor of the broth.

Tips! Have a sip of the broth before stirring in the noodles. It’s when the broth has a more meaty taste, and notice how the flavor changes after buckwheat noodles are mixed in. And don’t cut the noodles with scissors! Buckwheat noodles are quite soft and you can easily cut off them anyways. Lastly, they don’t give spoons in this restaurant, everyone’s used to lifting up the bowl and drink in a big mouth full of the delicious broth.

Details 26 Seoae-ro, Pil-dong, Jung-gu / 02-2266-2611 / Price €8 for Naengmyeon

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