|Place of origin||Korea|
|Region or state||Pyongyang, Hamhung (N. Korea)
Jinju (S. Korea)
|Main ingredients||Noodles (flour and starch of buckwheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes)|
|Cookbook: Naengmyeon / Raengmyŏn Media: Naengmyeon / Raengmyŏn|
Naengmyeon(냉면, in S. Korea) or raengmyŏn(랭면, in N. Korea) is a Korean noodle dish of long and thin handmade noodles made from the flour and starch of various ingredients, including buckwheat (메밀, memil), potatoes, sweet potatoes, arrowroot starch (darker color and chewier than buckwheat noodles), and kudzu (칡, chik). Buckwheat predominates (despite the name, it is not a wheat but rather is more closely related to sorrel). Other varieties of naengmyeon are made from ingredients such as seaweed and green tea.
According to the 19th-century documents of Dongguksesigi (동국세시기, 東國歲時記), naengmyeon has been made since the Joseon Dynasty. Originally a delicacy in northern Korea, especially in the cities of Pyongyang (평양) and Hamhung (함흥) in North Korea, naengmyeon became widely popular throughout Korea after the Korean War.
Naengmyeon is served in a large stainless-steel bowl with a tangy iced broth, julienned cucumbers, slices of Korean pear, thin, wide strips of lightly pickled radish, and either a boiled egg or slices of cold boiled beef or both. Spicy mustard sauce (or mustard oil) and vinegar are often added before consumption. Traditionally, the long noodles would be eaten without cutting, as they symbolized longevity of life and good health, but servers at restaurants usually ask if the noodles should be cut prior to eating, and use scissors to cut the noodles.
The two main varieties of naengmyeon are mul naengmyeon (물 냉면) and bibim naengmyeon (비빔 냉면). The former is served as a cold soup with the noodles contained in broth made from beef, chicken or dongchimi. The latter is served with a spicy dressing made primarily from gochujang (red chili paste) and eaten all mixed. In the case of bibim naengmyeon, a bowl of the soup broth used in mul naengmyeon or plain broth from the boiled noodles itself are often served on the side, albeit hot instead of cold in temperature.
Mul naengmyeon originates from Pyongyang. Pyŏngyang naengmyŏn is mainly made from buckwheat and the broth of beef or pheasant. It also uses dongchimi broth or a mixture of it, while adding the sliced pieces of the radish to the dish. Vinegar, mustard oil (provided on request at most restaurants), and sugar is added according to taste before eating. South Koreans do not add sugar and use beef broth exclusively.
A version of bibim naengmyeon originates from Hamhung, the hoe naengmyeon (회 냉면). Hoe naengmyeon is bibim naengmyeon with additional marinated raw fish (hoe), usually skate. It is eaten with the spicy gochujang dressing and other ingredients all mixed. Vinegar, sugar, and sometimes sesame oil is added according to taste. The noodles of Hamhung naengmyeon are usually made from potato or sweet potato starch, so the noodles are very chewy in texture compared to those of Pyongyang naengmyeon.
Another variety of naengmyeon is yeolmu naengmyeon (열무 냉면) which is served with yeolmu kimchi.
Morioka reimen (盛岡冷麺) is derived from naengmyeon which was introduced by Korean immigrants, part of Japanese regional cuisine in Tohoku region.
Instant naengmyeon noodles are available, with the soup broth prepackaged with the noodles. A clear plastic package of mustard oil is often supplied.
In popular culture
In the South Korean variety show Infinite Challenge, Park Myeong-su and Jessica, a former member of Girls' Generation, performed the song "Naengmyeon" which was named after the food. The song became a hit and received wide acclaim.
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