22 (Sat) August 2015
Mul Naeng Myeon
at Chosun Cafe
In Korea, where kudzu is referred to as “chilg (칡),” the root of the plant is dried, ground into a powder, and added to various foods and beverages. Cafés back in the day commonly offered chilg cha (tea) (hot) and chilg jeub (extract) (on ice), though nowadays they’re likely only to be found at traditional teahouses. The powder is also used to make chilg ddeok (rice cakes) and chilg naeng myeon (cold noodles), particularly in North Korea (see for example 4.261 Pyongyang (Mul) Naeng Myeon). Highly regarded for its bitter flavor, black color, (perceived) medicinal properties, and starchy texture.
Here, the mul naeng myeon was meh. The noodles were blackish — just food coloring to mimick the appearance of chilg — but with no bitterness that’s characteristic of the real deal. The broth was sweet and tangy, Hamheung-style (see for example 3.010 Mul Naeng Myeon). Typical of the dish as it’s served at cheap BBQ restaurants. Not my thing (see for contrast 6.216 Mul Naeng Myeon).