4.184 The Eulmildae MNM

4.184

8 (Mon) July 2013

Mul Naeng Myeon

2.5

at Eulmildae

-Yeomli, Mapo, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

solo

Seoul Searching for Pyeongyang-Style Perfection (8 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.

Eulmildae is the 8th and final restaurant to be reviewed, deliberately reviewed last, anticipating that it could be the winner.

I’ve been to this restaurant on several occasions dating back to my college years and, more recently, reviewed the MNM twice on the blog.  This time, I sampled the dish de novo with a more critical/clinical mindset.

On the plethora of signage, “Eulmildae” can be seen 7 times, “Pyeongyang Naeng Myeon” 5 times.
The noodle press, visible though the screens of the front window, looking into the kitchen.
No frills …
… from top to bottom.

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 additions of vinegar and/or mustard (although the necessity of any such adjustment probably means that the game is already).

BROTH.  Beefy.  Dry.  Plus alpha.  My description and opinion of the Eulmildae MNM broth keeps deteriorating o ver the past few months: from “a certain je ne sais quois” (see 4.071 Mul Naeng Myeon) (positive) to “an aftertaste of some sort, garlicky perhaps” (see 4.077 Mul Naeng Myeon) (neutral) and now “outright funky” (negative).  But as ever, I’m at a loss for how to explain the flavor more precisely.  Hours later, I could still feel a tingling/lingering sensation on my tongue.  In that first review, I mentioned how I couldn’t stop thinking about the MNM even after I’d gone home.  The restaurant’s fanatics often describe withdrawal symptoms.  It’s like the broth contains beef/garlic-flavored MSG laced with a narcotic.  Score: 1.0.

NOODLES.  Buckwheat bombshell.  The nut flush.  Gritty.  Gravelly.  Like chewing on raw buckwheat.  Awesome.  Also enhanced somehow, perhaps.  Score: 4.0.

TOPPINGS.  Sliced beef, pickled radish, pear and cucumber, and boiled egg (half).  Unique in all my experiences with MNM, the beef here was brisket, tender and flavorful but also inherently fatty, leaving a film of grease on the surface of the broth.  Also one of a kind, the boiled egg was cut horizontally (which is actually easier to do and helps keep the yolk from breaking apart.   Score: 3.25.

CONCLUSION.  Given my ever-vacillating opinions about the MNM here and MNM in general, as this project has shown, I’m hesitant to make any declarative judgments.  Just a couple months ago, I’d rated it 4.0, which I don’t do lightly (about 2.5%).  But now, because I can’t get the peculiar taste of that broth out of my mouth, I’m leaning towards 2.0, maybe even 1.5.  I’ll average it out to 2.5 on the strength of the noodles and the toppings.   Weighted score: 2.57.

An order of sari, which came with extra broth.

PRICE: 10,000 won + 4,000 won for a double order (gobbaegi) or extra noodles after the fact (sari); though an extra large (yangmani (양마니)) is free.

(See also FOODS)

(See also PLACES)

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