4.163 The Eulji MNM


17 (Mon) June 2013

Naeng Myeon


at Eulji Myeonok

-Ibjeong, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with MtG

Seoul Searching for Pyeongyang-Style Perfection (3 of 8) (see also SSPYSP)

On a mission to determine Seoul’s best representative of Pyeongyang-style (PYS) mul naeng myeon (MNM), among 8 restaurants named in a newspaper poll a couple years back.

In no particular order, Eulji Myeonok is the 3rd restaurant to be reviewed.

Located in what may be the oldest building in the city’s oldest district.

Eulji Myeonok (을지면옥) is a Korean restaurant.  Landmark.  Old school.  Specializing in naeng myeon and other northerly items at okay prices.  With so many office buildings in the area, the restaurant continues to make daily killings during the week both at lunch and after work.

Hand-painted signage – I would bet that nobody in management/ownership has ever considered updating it.  If the food were better, I would be tempted to steal it.
Although the copyright of the map is 1985, the title is “Northern Region,” as it would’ve been called before 1945, before the peninsula was split into 2 countries in the wake of WWII.
Most of the other customers exhibiting the laid back air of regulars who’d been patronizing the place for decades.
Ajeossi Bellwether Standard – not a single female customer in the entire joint.
Talk about hardcore, the menu is hand-written and taped to the wall; though listed under a single heading, “naeng myeon” is available both as mul and bibim.
Hardcore MNM restaurants don’t provide spoons.

The tasting process: (i) two sips of broth; (ii) two bites of noodles; (iii) two bites of noodles with various toppings; (iv) another sip of broth; (v) another bite of noodles; and, if necessary, (vi) another sip of broth following an adjustments with vinegar and/or mustard (although the necessity of any such adjustment probably means that the game is already lost).

BROTH.  Kinda sweet.  With a lot of mustard, it was coaxed into reasonable balance, but it remained sweetish.  Couldn’t taste a lick of beef.  Score: 1.25.

NOODLES.  No buckwheat flavor.  Slightly floury aftertaste.  Even in color, the noodles were very white.  Score: 1.25.

An order of sari came just with noodles, a total ripoff because any self-respecting MNM joint serves the extra noodles with extra broth, sometime with extra toppings, in essence a whole ‘nother serving.

TOPPINGS.  Sliced beef, boiled egg (half), sliced daepa (large scallion), red chili powder.  Same negatives concerning the scallions and chili as mentioned in my review of Pil-Dong Myeonok.  Score: 1.75.

CONCLUSION.  In every aspect, a paltry representation of PYS MNM, even MNM in general.  But for some reason, many people with much more experience than I do seem to like it.  MtG, who’s also very particular about food, didn’t like it very much either.  Weighted score: 1.30.

PRICE: 9,000 won + 6,500 won for a double order (gobbaegi) or extra noodles after the fact (sari).

The payphone, which looks remarkably unused, is pre-digital; I am tempted to steal it.

(See also FOODS)

(See also PLACES)

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