31 (Wed) March 2021
Mul Naeng Myeon
at Gangnam Myeonok
-Munjeong, Songpa, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
Gangnam Myeonok (강남면옥) is a Korean restaurant. Currently 16 branches across the country. Specializes in mul naeng myeon (MNM), as well as galbi tang.
We were shopping nearby and saw the flickering lights. I knew by reputation that the MNM is Hamheung-style, but recently I had tried the galbi tang at the Seongsu branch near the office restaurant, which was decent, so we gave it a try.
As GMTD readers should be well aware: (1) MNM is my favorite dish (see most recently 12.005 Mul Naeng Myeon); (2) traditionally, MNM falls into 2 broad categories – Hamheung-style (HHS) (see generally 3.010 Mul Naeng Myeon) and Pyeongyang-style (PYS)(see generally 1.188 Mul Naeng Myeon); and (3) I am strictly in favor of the latter (see for example 9.294 Indubitably, the World’s Best MNM).
By rare cosmic coincidence, like certain stars aligning once every few thousand years, I happened to have both HHS and PYS on the same day, one for lunch, the other for dinner, giving rise to an opportunity for comparison within the same day.
The two critical differences between HHS and PYS are the broth and the noodles.
As per HHS, the broth was characteristically tangy, though more sweet than sour. It was passable.
The potato starch noodles were characteristically rubbery, requiring multiple cuts with scissors to be chewable. Even then, they were flavorless.
The toppings, including a boiled egg (half) + beef + cucumber + pear, were fine.
Earlier in the day, I had a work thing in the area, so I dropped by Jinmi Pyeongyang Naeng Myeon – my favorite restaurant in the world – for lunch.
As per PYS, the broth was subtle yet rich in beef flavor, not a touch of sweetness or sourness. Sublime.
The buckwheat noodles were grainy and mealy. Delicious.
The toppings, including a boiled egg (half) + beef + pork + pickled cucumber + pickled radish, were good.
I was suddenly inspired to add a dollop of the garlic chili paste to the MNM, which is provided separately as a condiment for other dishes, such as jeyuk or mandu (see for example 11.332 Jeyuk). More on this in a future post.
(See also MUL NAENG MYEON)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)