6 (Tue) April 2021
Pyeongyang Naeng Myeon
at Bong Piyang
-Bangi, Songpa, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
While recently migrating a post on this restaurant from the prior site to the current site (see 4.179 The Piyang MNM), I was struck that I had never made a return visit, even though it had won the Pyeongyang Mul Naeng Myeon challenge (see SSPYSP). I’ve been to other branches of the chain (see most recently 7.158 Pyeongyang Naeng Myeon).
I was in the neighborhood to take care of some business on my way home and decided to drop by for an early dinner.
After 8 years, prices have remained pretty stable for some items, increased a lot for others. MNM is 14,000 won, up a bit from 12,000 won. Mandu are still 12,000 won. Bindae jeon also still 13,000 won. Pork galbi was 24,000 won, now 29,000 won. Bulgogi was 35,000 won, now 55,000 won.
The MNM was perfect as ever. Looking at my notes from SSPYSP, I was impressed at myself in how accurate my impressions had been, and impressed at the restaurant in how consistent the quality remains.
My 8-year-old notes from SSPYSP are cut and paste below, with a few minor modifications:
BROTH. Beefy. Not too much. And not too little. Just right, as baby bear would like it. A wisp of spice (maybe garlic?) and seasoning (maybe soy?) on the finish. Dry. Pure. Perfect.
NOODLES. Strong buckwheat flavor. 70% buckwheat content. Not that mealy but tasty nonetheless. Restrained elegance. Exquisite al dente texture, which was surprising, because Koreans tend to hate pasta cooked al dente, which they consider to be “undercooked.” I loved it. Not perfect but way way good enough.
TOPPINGS. Sliced beef, pickled radish, salted cucumber, winter cabbage mul kimchi (lightly fermented kimchi in white broth), egg ribbons. The kimchi here was subtle and added an appropriate level of tang; furthermore, the counterpoint provided by the cabbage’s dense/stringy texture was nice.
CONCLUSION. The MNM won me over completely. A large chain with vast resources and facilities, under the tight supervision of a noodle master, is well suited to produce and maintain a high level of quality. Every element was excellent. I couldn’t find a single nit to pick.
To extend the experience a bit more, I requested additional broth. The server brought me a bowl of warm broth – some restaurants provide warm broth as kind of an appetizer, but not here, so I don’t know why they would even have warm broth. When I asked for cold broth, like the one for the MNM, she brought it to me in a glass – other places bring a kettle of broth and pour it into the MNM bowl. Which was weird, but kinda awesome to be sipping MNM broth from a beer glass – the broth is so exquisitely good that a wine glass would not be out of the question.
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