The Global Diner: Korean Cold Noodles

Look no further for that slurpable summer treat

This time of year, we all sprout a sweet tooth, seeking icy satisfaction in a milky paleta or frozen banana. But there’s no better chill-out on long, blistering days than Korean cold noodles.

By night, Mo Ran Gak Restaurant is one of Garden Grove’s busiest Korean barbecue joints, serving paper-thin sheets of brisket and heaps of bulgogi. But at lunch, diners crowd the place for its naeng-myeon, cold buckwheat noodles in a chilled broth. Mul naengmyeon is the milder option, a tangle of noodles in a broth so cold that flecks of ice float on the surface. Atop the noodles are a few strips of beef, shaved cucumber, spears of radish, a hardboiled egg, and Korean pears. The bibim naengmyeon packs more of a punch, those same noodles drenched instead in a sweet, spicy chile paste. It’s a vivid dish, as much a joy to behold as it is to eat.
Myung Dong is a noodle house of staggering efficiency. Bowls of noodles and plates of fresh dumplings seemingly fly out of the kitchen. The restaurant’s jjolmyeon is perhaps the best around, a nest of thick, chewy noodles and julienned vegetables slicked with the same addictive, gochujang-based chile paste as in bibim naengmyeon. For the spice-averse, the green, chlorella-based kongguksu noodles are bathed in a cold, ivory broth of soy milk and sesame. These noodles are purported to have health benefits.

At Hangari Kalguksu, the momilguksu always arrives with a pair of scissors. The dish is essentially a salad, a pile of long buckwheat noodles tossed with greens and vegetables and dressed with that ubiquitous gochujang-based chile paste. Before handing it over, your server will take those scissors and make a few quick snips of the very long noodles, though it will still seem you’re slurping them forever, which is half the fun, after all.

Mo Ran Gak Restaurant
9651 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, 714-638-1177

Myung Dong
1000 N. Euclid St., Anaheim, 714-533-7789

Hangari Kalguksu
9916 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, 714-537-0100


Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi
This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue.

Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi
This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue. – See more at:

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