lunch at a makguksu noodle restaurant

The weather is still quite hot and humid so we had lunch at a buckwheat noodle restaurant (막국수 makgugsu). I’m not usually a fan of cold noodles. Naengnmyeon is a very popular cold noodle dish but to me it’s a bit boring –  the dish varies from place to place but generally speaking it’s composed of noodles and spicy sauce with a slice of radish and half an egg on top. The thin noodles are quite chewy but at the end of the meal I don’t feel like I’ve eaten anything. However, I really like makgugsu. It’s similar to naengmyeon but better, to me anyway. These noodles are often served at takgalbi spicy fried chicken restaurants but at the restaurant we went to, which recently opened near our house, they specialise in noodles. On the menu, they have four cold buckwheat noodle dishes with vegetables and one hot noodle dish served in a thick sesame broth. They also have a variety of dumplings and savoury jon 전.  Before the noodles arrive we are served a pot of hot brownish coloured water – the water that the noodles were cooked in. Noodle restaurants usually serve this ‘noodle water’. The condiments on the table are mustard, vinegar, and soy sauce (for the dumplings).   This (below) is 비빔막국수 bibim makgugsu. The noodles are served with a slightly sweet but spicy chilli sauce, thinly sliced radish, cucumber, egg, and dried, crispy seaweed and sesame seeds. Bibim means mix, so the noodles and sauce and vegetables are all mixed together with chopsticks before they are eaten.  The noodles are really long so you can either cut them with scissors first or just cut them with your teeth! This (below) is 물막국수 mulmakgugsu - buckwheat noodles served in a cold beef broth ( the broth is kept in a very cold fridge so that ice forms in it – so when I say cold broth, I mean really cold!) There’s sliced radish, green radish leaf kimchi, cucumber and half an egg on top with sesame seeds and dried seaweed. The presentation looks so nice it’s almost a shame to start mixing it all up, but it has to be done to make the noodles taste good. The broth has a vinegary, savoury taste which is very refreshing in the summertime and mustard  can be added to make it spicy. It’s the perfect lunch in the summertime.  Read more about makgugsu here. 

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