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It’s really hot in Korea. We’re talking dry desert hot one day, and sticky rainforest humid the next. We’re so exhausted from the heat we rarely want to leave the house, but rather than hiding in our house and starving to death, it’s time for us to adventure to the closest cold noodle house and have some “Naengmyeon” (냉면). Woot woot!

Now to be totally honest, the first time we ate Naengmeyon, we totally hated it. Naengmyeon basically means “cold noodles,” but it’s the preparation of those cold noodles that’s totally awesome. The concept of cold noodles was completely baffling to us as Canadians, since we don’t really have an equivalent to it that we’re aware of. Add that to the fact that Mul Naengmyeon is also vinegary and tart and you have a dish that we really weren’t into when we first tried it out.

However, we never try a new food just once, and so we gave it a few more shots, and we discovered that some places just really suck at making it. You’ll get bland broth, or overly vinegary broth, or a sticky overcooked hunk of noodles, or lukewarm broth with no ice, etc, and these were the things that turned us off Naengmyeon at first, but after finding some great places, we 100% fell in love.

Anyhow, Naengmeyon is made from buckwheat or sweet potatoes, so the noodles are often brown. Also, they’re quite chewy so before you start eating them you should pre-cut them with the giant shears the restaurant will give you, or else you’ll have noodles dangling from your mouth for most of the meal, and that’s just unappealing!

Mul Naengmyeon

Mul Naengmyeon: Cold Noodles in Ice Broth

There are two main types of naengmyeon: mul naengmyeon (물냉면) and bibim naengmyeon (비빔냉면) and they are both equally refreshing. Mul naengmyeon is served in an icy broth which is usually made out of chicken or beef, and sometimes dongchimi (which is a type of vinegar pickled white kimchi, and not nearly as flavorful compared to the beef and chicken). We’re not fond of the dongchimi mul naengmyeon. Some people love it and find it more refreshing, but once you have a meaty broth you kinda never want to go back. Also, on the side, you’ll get two containers of vinegar and wasabi-like mustard. Mix those in according to personal taste. Don’t overdo the mustard, though, because it’s got a lingering kick to it.

Bibim Naengmyeon

Bibim Naengmyeon: Cold Noodles mixed with Gochujang

Bibim naengmyeon is made up of the exact same noodles but it’s served without broth, or the broth is served on the side. Instead, it has a huge dollop of gochujang (hot pepper paste) which is mixed with sesame oil and sometimes a bit of ginger and garlic. You don’t usually mix in the mustard and vinegar either. Just mix up the noodles until they’re coated with the sauce and dig in.

The most basic naengmyeon should come with a hard boiled egg, slices of pickled daikon radish, and julienned cucumbers. Some fancy-pants places also serve it with a few thin slices of delicious beef and some slices of Korean pear. Some even serve it with pieces of watermelon in it. Yes, watermelon. It doesn’t sound right, having pear and watermelon in your soup, but damn it’s delicious!

Altogether, we can’t really give a full account of all naengmyeons, because there are so many of them out there. We did want to give an intro to them, though, and to encourage more people to try it out, because it’s awesome and we love it, and we have a lot of friends here who have been in Korea for a while and have never tried it. So give naengmyeon a shot. It rocks!

P.S. We weren’t joking about that bit at the beginning of the video when it comes to supposedly eating hot food in the summer to cool you down. We heard it from a Korean friend before, but we just thought he was confused (because he’s not really THAT in touch with his Korean roots). But then the other day on the radio we heard someone say the same thing. Really? Hot foods to cool you down? Just so you can sweat? That seems like such a convoluted way of getting to the same goal. Sweat will cool you down, or cold food will cool you down: so why go through the pain of eating hot food in the summer to get cool? Cut out the middle man! Just eat cold foods! Supposedly also you’re supposed to eat cold food in the winter to warm you up? Is that right? It’s totally confusing to us.

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  1. Sarah La-Nguyễn

    2 years later, I finaly try naengmyun and omg, forever loving it. I know to some people it takes them a couple of tries to like it but absolutely love it! well maybe because I’ve had cold noodles before but just not prepared like this hehe

  2. omg my mom told me about eating hot soup on hot days when I was a kid and I thought “you are so not my mother. you are an alien from another galaxy. are you kidding me?” but of course I kept that to myself unless I wanted a backhand across the head. ok so now I know she wasn’t lying to get me to eat my soup. Ohma! I love you man!

  3. Oooh yeah, you go girl! Revenge is sweet, tastes best when served cold, and, the biggest plus, it doesnt make you fat ^.~

  4. I make it at home, in Arizona, from scratch (other then the noodles obviously). Sometimes I buy the packaged ones because they have no beef, chicken or pork in the seasonings. I don’t know how I missed this video. Hahaha. So happy.

  5. Anonymous

    what is the broth on the side for? I went to a Korean restaurant and got dolsot bibimbap and they gave me broth on the side…. i was like.. okaaaayyyy. I just ignored it. LOL but in general whats the broth for? for like pouring over the food. or to drink on the side. IDK.

  6. Anonymous

    Do they have non-spicy ones? I’m not much of a spicy fan…. :P

  7. mashed potato

    Lol. I personally love spicy food on a hot day. 

  8. mashed potato

    Lol. I personally love spicy food on a hot day. 

  9. mashed potato

    Lol. I personally love spicy food on a hot day. 

  10. Anonymous

    Regarding the “hot food cools you down” thing, my family and I heard the same thing when we were in India, although people recommended drinking hot sweet tea rather than eating hot food. I admit that I didn’t really become a fan of the concept either.

  11. Hahaha, It is a lot of fun watching your video , thank you, and I didn’t know that we should eat an egg first to protect , I love your video !!

  12. OH here in Malaysia we are fasting (not eating and drinking until certain times) and i watch this video to make me feel full :D

  13. Uuuuuhm, it’s not just Korea! I also (have) live(d) in canada, and I know that cold foods heat you up and hot foods keep you cold! It’s not just a korean thing, it’s a pretty normal thing. Not just one nation can claim it.

    • yeah I know that because I learned about it from my high-school biology class so its obviously universal known fact
      we say 以熱治熱, its in Chinese character, and means rule the heat by the heat
      they say same thing in Japan I heard them saying while I was living in Japan and I assume in China as well
      We are not claiming it or so
      We just quote the phrase often and practice it a lot
      We do have 3 special days in summer season which are dedicated to eat hot food for your health
      like in thanks giving they eat turkey in other countries
      So I think I can say we practice it more cause we have days for it

  14. mahendra sarthi

    wow cold noodle its great for health someone told me that

    MTECH COMPUTER

  15. I think I could explain some of your curiosity
    Yes we do say, and eat hot food(not meaning spicy food)
    The reason why is because in summer we get more exhausted and tired,
    so nice, warm and healthy food with good herbal ingredients (good example is samgyetang)
    are supposed to give you the energy and stamina you need.
    and what you said is right too, because taking hot meal will make your inner body temp up
    so your body starts its own cooling down system
    if you eat cold food it will cool you down inside and your body will start to warm you up

    also eating egg first when you eat nangmyeon is controversial.
    some people believe so, some people dont
    what I heard is because we use vinegar(-acidic) so egg is suppose to protect your stomach from the acid from it

  16. 저는 한국인입니다. 여러분이 한국문화에 관심을 가져주셔서 정말 감사합니다^^.

  17. I remember Naengmyeon in the restaurant in Lotte Department Store, (8th or 9th floor?) Sogongdong downtown Seoul, was really good. Famous Kalbi BBQ restaurants are usually good for Naengmyeon, cause the broth is made with beef and bones. You should try Hyoe (회)Naengmyeon too, with spicy fish mixed with Bibim Naengmyeon. (better than it sounds, I bet.) I will have lots of them this August! I will be there in 10 days!!

  18. Byeonguk Yook

    You gulped the bibimnaengmyon without reaching for the water?? or did you cut that part out?

  19. The rule I follow re Naengmyeon (냉면) is to ONLY eat it at a restaurant that makes Naengmyeon (냉면) as their MAIN dish.  Do NOT try eating Naengmyeon (냉면) at a korean restaurant that sells it as one of their secondary dishes.  90% of the time you will be disappointed. 

    For such a simply looking dish, it’s actually hard to get it right.  I believe because the broth has to be good and hard to make for for small portion.

    If anyone happens to be in LA, CA, USA, go here.  http://www.yelp.com/biz/yu-chun-chic-naeng-myun-los-angeles-2
    They also sell good mandu.

    About Koreans eating hot food during hot summer to get cool, that idea is from the pre-AC days. 

    Imagine.  Weather is hot.  You eat hot food and you get hotter/warmer than the ambient temperature.  As your body temp goes down to get in equilibrium with the ambient temperature, your body will feel like it’s getting cooler.  Or so I heard from my parents when I was a kid.

  20. Hehe. You eat hot food in summer to replenish your health. It is mainly meat so it boosts your energy. Also you probably have been eating all those cold food, ice creams, ice, etc, so hot food really heat your stomach to make you not sick anymore. It’s been handed down for many generations so it is true a lot of people are confused of why you need to eat hot food, but it really is helpful to your body.

  21. Anonymous

    I love martina’s egg victory song…revenge is sweet, sweet like an egg ahaha. Your videos never fail to make me laugh! Nice topic and I am feeling hungry now even though I just ate breakfast >.<

  22. You guys are crazy !!
    haha. so funny!
     
    Next week, i’m gonna have Naengmyeon with my international friends in Korea.
    Naengmyeon is the best in a summer season ! ^^

  23. FOODIE FRIDAYS!! great idea, i totally agree! :D

  24. i agree you should totally have foodie fridays :9

  25. I’ll have to get used to that one!

  26. allaboutlibra

    Yeah, go for Foodie Fridays! :D

    I really like Naengmyon (Bibimnaengmyon is soooo good! :9), my whole family does!

    http://allaboutlibra.blogspot.com

  27. Anonymous

    If you guys ever end up doing a weekly friday segment, it should be called Foodie Fridays! 

  28. Is there anyway fro people over in the states and canada to make some of this? It looks really good, but I’m broke and can’t travel to Korea…

  29. I’m going to a Korean restaurant right now in fact. I”m gettin’ some of this stuff for lunch – no joke!

  30. My mouth is seriously watering like crazy right now.

  31. Anonymous

    I don’t eat meat so the Bibim naengmyeon looks good to me.

  32. 냉면 (naengmyeon) is originally from northern province of Korea.
    Originally, the cold noodles are served during the winter days.

  33. sil_clocks

    Yay! you guys covered my favorite summer dish:-)
    The hot-food-for-summer paradox is actually for your health, I think. In summer, you are prone to having lots of cold dishes and supposedly, constant intake of cold food affects your dygestive system in a bad way. So once in a while, you eat hot and nurishing food like Samgyetang so that your stomach won’t freez up from eating too much cold food. Well…I don’t know if it is scientificaly proven or anything. Just something my mum told me when I was young. Hope this helps!

  34. Hodto Tu

    Sorry for wrong placed note, but reply button didn´t work :(
    Originally meant as response to Eleanna Nikol

  35. Hodto Tu

    Under delicious I suppose you mean Simon and Martina :)

  36. Hodto Tu

    Under delicious I suppose you mean Simon and Martina :)

  37. magggie cook

    What was the name of the place you went to? 

  38. Anonymous

    Lol actually I’m from Mexico and we also believe in eating hot food in the summer, especially in veracruz there is a custom of drinking really hot coffee in the middle of the afternoon, I also thought it was nuts buuuut you really should try that sometime

  39. Anonymous

    Naengmyeon was originally a mid winter delicacy since there was no fridge in the olden days. Combined with hot ondol floor it was supposed to be sublime. :)

    http://www.hwrfood.com/

    Hanwoori is one of the fancy-pants shabushabu places in Seoul that serves the best beef-flavored Mul Naengmyeon I”ve ever tasted. Try it at lunchtime. I recommend the main branch at Shinsa-Dong.

  40. Anonymous

    You guys are such an aegyo couple!!!!
    >.<
    so cool so cute
    !!

  41. i think southern ontario is trying to rival all of those other super hot temperatures! >_< with the humidex, it was 50C (122F) in toronto the other day. apparently records were broken. it doesn't seem to be as continuously hot as say, texas (as previously mentioned), but we're in canada and we deal with a lot of COLD! the heat is UGH UGH UGH….plus add the humidity from all of the surrounding lakes and it's so difficult to breathe some days….feels like drowning.

    okay, the food in this looks SO GOOD! i totally eat cold spaghetti and, well, pretty much anything (other than potato things) cold….so i think i'd be fine with this stuff. but how hot is the hot sauce?  i like spicy but i still like to be able to taste my food! :D

    also, i'm enjoying the extra added descriptions with the captioning. ^___^ they're hilarious!

  42. if you want a hot weather you should go to the Philippines  especially during the summer!!!

  43. alicia ouyang

    I’m currently in China right now, which means there’s a lot of hot beverages and soup. So the other day, for breakfast I had some tofu soup. Now it seems weird, cause I’m thinking, wait, soup isn’t for breakfast, it’s for lunch or dinner! But realizing this is not the place to be picky and apply different customs, I ate it. It was also very hot, knowing Beijing. So my guess for the friend who said that eating hot foods cools you down is that you become hotter than the air around you, so you don’t sweat as much. So in other words, you feel like the air around is cooler. I guess though if you’re way too hot and can’t even think about eating hot foods, cool food is the way to go. I don’t know. They both kinda work. Just don’t eat room temparture foods. XD

  44. OMG!!! I LOVE BIBIM NAENGMYEON!! I first tasted it when my friend who just came back form S. Korea  ordered it in a Korean restaurant. At first I was “eewww, cold noodles??” But now it is my favorite dish. I love to eat spicy sour stuff. But I’m too afraid to try the mul naengmyeon. I don’t like my broth of anything to be cold. The only way I would try it if I go someone else and they order it, then I’ll try theirs.

  45. Looks delicious! I’m going to Seoul in 2 weeks, can you post the address of that restaurant? :)

  46. Pallavi, the place where I get Nangmyeon is vegetarian and it’s very tasty. (The broth is actually dried fish broth which tastes like chicken broth.)

    In fact, since moving to Korea I keep noting that I’m eating much more vegetarian then I ever did in the states. It seems like vegetarian meals are everywhere!Mmmm, now I want Naengmyeon for lunch.

    http://kimskorea.blogspot.com

  47. Pallavi Sambasivan

    Looks good :) Too bad I’m vegetarian…..nothing korean is ever okay for me to eat :(

  48. That looks tasty, any words on how to make something like it int he states?

  49. Sascha Wong
    Sascha Wong

    Mmmm, I want those really badly now! Did you guys ever have cold noodles in Japan? They’re called zaru soba there… probably not as flavourful as naengmyeon, but it’s delicious and refreshing!

  50. Anonymous

    I want cold noodles now! That looked so good, thanks for sharing a new Korean Dish! Keep up the great work Simon and Martina!!

  51. Yup, pretty much get all sweaty and also probably a sensory thing. Also, depends on what kinds of food. Sam gae tang (a big bowl of one cooked small chicken in broth, normally stuffed with sweet rice, dates, and ginger–a place near where I live substitutes the broth with a sweet rice porridge boiled in chicken broth) is said to give you a lot of energy. Since the summer heat sucks the energy out of you, a bowl of this will help bring the energy back. Personally, I feel pretty good eating hot foods on a hot day. I just feel full and fine; the heat doesn’t seem to bother me so much after that.

    Naengmyeon was my mom’s obsession while we were in Korea. There just isn’t a lot of good naengmyeon places around where I live (or, so far as we’re aware), and her favorite naengmyeon place was in Myeongdong. Apparently it’s famous or something and she’s eaten there when she was in her 20s. Their naengmyeon tastes fantastic.

  52. Anonymous

    Maybe the scientific basis for the perceived coolness is sensory adaptation? After a hot shower in the summer, the air always feel relatively cool because your heat-sensing nerves are tired from firing so much in the shower. You’re in so much intense heat when you eat spicy foods in the Korean heat that afterwards everything feels cool.

    I really love spicy foods and would eat them in the summer, even if it makes me sticky and gross. This is exactly the excuse I tell myself to justify eating spicy foods and inevitably feeling worse than before overall but still satisfied from the deliciousness.

    I bet Koreans were thinking of the same thing when they made up that tale.

  53. :( it’s so hot right now where I’m from. I really wanna try the Naengmyeon. I’ve had plenty of soba before (Japanese buckwheat noodles served on ice with a sweet dipping sauce), but Naengmyeon sounds like more fun since it has so many other flavors in it. I’d have to get either what Simon has or leave out the vinegar though (bleh)…

  54. as far as the eating hot and cold foods to respectively keep you warm or cold, it’s true. apparently drinking hot cocoa during the winter, or eating popsicles during the summer, is completely counterproductive. when you drink cold things, your inner core is becoming cooler, so your body has to work to make it warm again. the same goes for hot things. so if you drink something hot during the winter, your inner core will become overheated, and will be working to cool you off, making you doubly cold. i’ve never noticed that before, since i typically drink hot cocoa wrapped in a blanket during the winter anyway, but apparently that’s how the science works.

  55. That sounds amazing! There’s a heat wave here and I could definitely use some cold noodles right about now. Thanks for sharing this tidbit of Korean food with us! :3

  56. I tried Mul Naengmyeon when I was in Korea, least favorite Korean food. Normally I love noodle dishes but there was something odd about eating cold noodles ~_~ Maybe if I tried the bibim version of it, I’d like it but regular mul, no. It made me want to gag ^^;; I ate it once with the teachers at my school for lunch. I said that I like it (was being polite) but one of the other teachers told me later that he could tell by my face that I didn’t. ^^;

  57. I LOVE IT when you guys make videos like this. The KPops and WTFs are fun, but videos like this one really educate people and encourage them to try new things! Keep up the great work!

  58. Anonymous

    It was 110 degrees F in the shade yesterday. (I live in North Carolina)  How hot is it over there?

  59. I keep hearing how hot it is in Korea during the summer, but here in Texas it’s been over 100 degrees for 20 days straight and our heat index fluctuates between 115 -120 degrees.  Some days it can get pretty humid.

    How hot is it in Korea compared to Texas?  I’m really curious, since I’m moving there in less than a month.

    • Brandi Smith

      I’m originally from Texas, and taught in Busan for a year recently.  The
      hottest point of Korean summer is pretty warm, but not as bad as the
      weather in Texas.  That only lasts for about a month, though.  And while
      all of your foreigner friends from cooler regions will be complaining
      about how hot it is, you’ll be thankful that you’re missing the real
      heat back in Texas.  The hard part for me was the winter; it lasts
      forever and is SO COLD!  That’s where everyone else had the advantage. 
      :P  It didn’t really feel like spring to me until June.

  60. YAH Naengmyeon!! :D  I could totally see how watermelon would be good in it, my favorite part of the soup was the broth, daikon and cucumbers… I also looked a lot like Martina eating the noodles before they were cut ;) 

  61. I’m really hungry now ,*runs off to forage for food*

  62. faizah noor

    sounds interesting!
    have u guys ever try cold soba?
    it’s normally serve as freezing soba on ice with hot soy sauce.. :)

  63. This sounds delicious!!! I’m one of those weird people that prefer the taste of my food *cold* (especially noodles/pasta, chicken, and pizza).

  64. The place we go to already has the vinegar in the broth O.o They always go easy on me with the pepper paste because I die from any kind of spice >.> My bf is korean and they always tease him over my watering eyes  =x

  65. kkk where did u get wine glass Simon? did u bring yours? kk

  66. Theres cold pasta salads in Canada. You guys just forgot

  67. miney2_lel

    i wish i can eat it now !!
    3lin

  68. Marjorie Hale-Gornell

    I have tried them, the mul naengmyeon that is, I think mine were buckwheat… I didn’t really care for them at all.  Felt like eating iced worms, and I found the flavor bland.  Yes mustard and red paste were offered, but from previous experience with those, I’ll pass.
    Eat hot to cool down… have you ever noticed that most of the “warmest” places in the world have some of the hottest (or spiciest) foods.  Partially because it grows there naturally, but also because it’s been cultivated as the people realized its benefits. 

  69. actually if you drink or eat something cold your body has to work harder to bring it to body temperature, so it can make you warmer in the end. 

    • Yeah, you know, I’ve heard the science behind it but it’s never bothered me. I like to leave a restaurant shivering cold from my food and I feel refreshed on a hot day, but when I drink hot drinks or eat hot soup I sweat like crazy and go outside and feel exhausted and sweaty and dirty.  Maybe we’re both weird humans…well, it’s pretty clear we are weird…but maybe extra weird. :D

      • TraVelle Natural

        Im confused…who answers comments? Simon or Martina? -`_`- So if I said Martina your outfit is really cute in this video ( but might be too many layers for hot weather)…does Simon answer…like a man? LOL. <3 you guys!

        • We both answer from different computers, so I think from now on we should put “M” or “S” behind our comments huh? That was me talking from before! And by ME I mean, Martina!
          YAY for a cute and cheap g-market outfit! :D

  70. Nice suggestion. I’ll see if the noodle shop in my town has it.

  71. oh ~ ! i’ve heard about these noodles ! i so wanna try one, envayy >.<

  72. Anne Jenkins

    I love Naengmyeon anytime of year, but especially summer time! I’m also a naengmyeong snob and have my favorite places :) Nice video!

  73. apparently, you should eat samgyetang (삼계탕) during the three 복s to regain energy cos summer drains you of it.

  74. Anonymous

    LOL can both of you get any cuter?! XD

  75. And BTW, you’re supposed to eat the egg first – a lot of people save it till last or just ignore it altogether, but apparently eating it first helps with digestion or something…IDK.

  76. For the “eating hot foods in summer to cool you down” thing, there’s actually a phrase (called “이열치열”) which basically means “fight fire with fire”. The thought process is, if you eat hot stuff when you’re already hot, they will basically cancel out each other and leave you cool! 

    Yeah, I don’t get it either. But naengmyun is delicious :D

  77. OMG !!! They look SOOOOO delicious !!!! <3 <3 <3 

  78. Marie Officer

    Its true about having something hot to cool down.  I have hot tea in summer and it really helps.  Can’t say I would want to eat spicey food though.

  79. Anonymous

    Oh I saw Lee Honggi cut his noodles
    O.O
    Wow..you guys made me want noodles..
    Also I always eat hot food to cool me down on a hot day.
    Btw GO MARTINA
    GOOD ON YOU FOR GETTING THE EGG
    :D

  80. Anonymous

    Ohhhh looks tasty

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