10.355 Laeng Myeon

10.355

26 (Thu) December 2019

Laeng Myeon

2.0

at Chin Chin

-Seogyo, Mapo, Seoul, Korea-

with MtG and the Boys

2020 Winter Holiday in Korea, Day 3.

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For lunch, we were agreed to meet at a restaurant specializing in mul naeng myeon.

This morning on television, by coincidence, a program about mul naeng myeon was aired by the History Channel.

One segment highlighted the landmark MNM restaurant Okryugwan in Pyeongyang, as well as a new restaurant in Seoul that purports to replicate the Okryugwan dish.

LUNCH

Today, for the first time ever, I shared a meal in Korea with the colleagues with whom I’ve broken the most bread in the Philippines over the past few years.  RK currently has 114 GMTD-registered meals, mostly dinners, not counting what may be nearly as many unregistered lunches, as well as several more that I may not have counted before I got to know him.  EK has 42 – when she departed as a consultant in January 2015, she had 32 – “more than anyone else in Manila, thus far (see 6.002 Pan-Grilled Shrimp in Roast-Pepper/Tomato Sauce – RK was at that farewell dinner).  I was suppose that we see each other so often on a daily basis that the thought of meeting up while on holiday had never occurred to us.

When I was asked to suggest a venue, I did not hesitate to propose “my favorite restaurant in the world.”

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The taste and presentation of the eobok jaengban here, even the name of it, is further proof that Jinmi’s kitchen has some connection with the kitchen of Pyeongyang Myeonok (see for comparison 5.003 Jaengban Ban).
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The only observable difference was the beef, which was externally fattier here, more internally marbled there, but both brisket and excellent.

My colleagues appeared to enjoy the food, especially the MNM – by now, I should think that I can read their reactions.

But beyond the food, we had a blast, just gabbing away – 95% about WHO, 5% other – like back in Manila.

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Photo of MNM, courtesy of EK.

Prior visits:

  1. 8.296 Mul Naeng Myeon (4.0)
  2. 8.303 Maybe the New Best Mul Naeng Myeon (4.0)
  3. 9.014 Mul Naeng Myeon (3.5)
  4. 9.016 Probably the Best Mul Naeng Myeon (4.0)
  5. 9.142 BBQ Platter
  6. 9.169 Chamchi Hoe
  7. 9.192 Tuna Pizza
  8. 9.294 Indubitably, the World’s Best MNM (4.0)
  9. 9.295 Char-Grilled Hanwoo Strip Steak
  10. 9.348 Mul Naeng Myeon (4.0)
  11. 10.057 Hindu Meal
  12. 10.193 Mul Naeng Myeon (3.0)
  13. 10.354 Roast Lobster with Cheese

DINNER

Chin Chin is a Korean restaurant.  Purports to specialize in northern-style fare, including MNM, supposedly modelled on the Okryugwan dish, recreated by a North Korean defector who had once worked there as a chef.

It’s the restaurant that was featured on the History Channel program this morning.   MtG and I had originally planned to have dinner elsewhere, but I called an audible upon seeing the program.

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Having never been to Okryugwan, I can’t say how close the replication gets to the original MNM.

On its own terms, however, I wasn’t too impressed.  The broth was light and tangy.  The noodles were rubbery.  The toppings were too busy.

Whether accurate to a specific restaurant, the MNM as even a vague approximation of the current style in the North does bolster my long-held, hard-earned theory that the actual mul naeng myeon in Pyeongyang these days bears no resembled to the so-called “Pyeongyang-Style” served in South Korea, which I refer to as “Contemporary Southern Pyeongyang-Style” (see generally 4.261 Pyongyang (Mul) Naeng Myeon).

Incidentally, due to the divergent evolution of how certain Chinese-based characters are used in different regions, “naeng” in the South is pronounced/written as “laeng” in the North.

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IZ was overly impressed by Coca-Cola in a bottle.

The rest of the food was also meh.

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