The thought of winter cold got you down? Warm up with these hot noodle dishes that are served Korean-style. We've got everything from ramyun to kal-guksu, udon and more.
As the name “Chanyang-jip” (meaning “house of praise”) suggests, a taste of the food at this establishment will have you singing its praises. Chanyang-jip has been serving seafood kalguksu (knife-cut noodles) since 1965. The refreshing broth, made with sea squirt, shrimp, mussel, short-necked clam, dashima (edible kelp), dried anchovy and leek, is a work of art. Some have called the broth “bland,” but the loyal patrons of this eatery, who come because they miss the taste of their mother’s kalguksu, would beg to differ. The secret is in the fresh ingredients. The stock is made with seafood purchased fresh every morning at the seafood market. When a customer sits down and orders, the plump noodles are cooked and put into the broth, then generously topped with crushed gim (dried seaweed) and zucchini. The kalguksu comes with a plastic orange bowl; by the time the diner has finished eating the bowl will be filled to the brim with clam shells and mussel shells. There are also two types of kimchi available to suit different tastes: sour, over-fermented kimchi and freshly-made kimchi. The motherly proprietor is humble about the restaurant’s popularity, claiming that it’s because of the affordable prices (5,000 a bowl, with free refills on noodles), but as the diners pay and get ready to leave, all without exception are sincere in their expressions of satisfaction at the delicious food.
Tuk Tuk Noodle Thai is a gem of restaurant located in the basement of a small building near the entrance of the Yeonnam-dong alley. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Tuk Tuk was the chief cause of Yeonnam-dong's renaissance as a “hot” place. With the growth of unique, small restaurants beginning to form a bustling commercial district, customers have flocked to the area and created long, eager lines of ready diners. The chef of Tuk Tuk is from the Issan province in Northern Thailand, famous for its delicious—and spicy—food (you've been warned). Some Koreans might draw the analogy of Issan Province being similar to Jeolla Province in Korea, another region famous for its food culture. It may be difficult to make a selection: Tuk Tuk's ssomttam green papaya salad, isan croc (a Thai style sausage dish), tom yum, yum unsen, thod man kung (a deep fried minced shrimp and pork dish), are all impressive. And your must-try list just longer: Last summer, they opened Soi Yeonnam, a Thai noodle shop, in the vicinity and will open a Thai food bar called “opas” soon (end of March 2015). Tuk Tuk Noodle Thai has become a symbol of entrepreneurial success in Yeonnam-dong, and for very good reason. Summary: not to miss.
Here's a secret: 4.5 Pyeong Udon Jip isn't actually 4.5 pyeong. It's more like eight to nine pyeong in size and originated in Buam-dong where the restaurant first opened its doors. Opened only earlier this year, the small noodle shop doesn't claim to do anything fancy. They don't have a special menu item that people come searching for and they don't make their own noodles by hand. The broth consists of a hint of Japanese soy sauce and dried anchovy base and tastes especially good with their crispy garlic udon. Albeit not a light dish, their udon noodles with curry don't leave that greasy, heavy feeling after eating that most restaurants do. The radio hums softly in the background and the atmosphere feels homey and cozy—even though it's not 4.5 pyeong.