RECIPE: Mul Naengmyeon (Ice-cold Noodle Soup)

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Icy noodle soup for those hot summer nights. —INGRAIN, Summer 2019

RECIPE / Debbie Yoon

Traditionally served in winter, mul naengmyeon is more commonly found on summer Korean menus these days. The icy cold noodle dish is so refreshing on a hot night. It’s often served in a stainless steel bowl to keep the noodles cool throughout the meal.

You need to cook the broth ahead of time so it has time to chill (make a big batch to freeze for later); it should be the consistency of a slushy when you serve it. If you don’t have the time to make your own broth, look for it ready-made in the refrigerated section of your Korean market. Most stock several different types; the mul naengmyeon packet is what you need. When you add your own fresh toppings, it’s almost as good as homemade.

You can find dongchimi brine (radish water kimchi brine) in the kimchi aisle at a Korean market. The geoja (hot mustard paste), which also usually comes in the prepackaged versions of the soup, tastes like a cross between horseradish and wasabi; use it sparingly.

Pairing These icy cold noodles go well with a clean, crisp, and refreshing lager like Natural Villain (Goose Island), or try a Czech or German pilsner.

Serves 6 to 8

½ pound boneless beef brisket

1 medium onion

4 scallions

6 garlic cloves

2-inch-piece ginger

10 black peppercorns

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Asian pear juice (optional)

1½ tablespoons sugar

2 to 3 cups dongchimi brine (radish water kimchi brine)

Naengmyeon noodles (2 ounces per person)

Geoja (hot mustard paste)

Kosher salt (or sea salt)


½ pound boneless beef brisket + 1 medium onion (quartered) + 4 scallions (dark green tops trimmed) + 6 garlic cloves + 2-inch-piece ginger (peeled, finely grated) + 10 black peppercorns + 12 cups water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and skim off any scum that forms at the surface. Cover and cook for about 2 hours, until meat is falling apart and broth has reduced.

STRAIN Broth (reserve meat) and add 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or to taste). Cool completely and refrigerate meat. Add 2 cups dongchimi brine (or to taste) + 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar + 1 tablespoon Asian pear juice (optional) + 1½ tablespoons sugar + pinch salt + geoja (hot mustard paste) to taste. Transfer to freezer for 2 to 3 hours until consistency is like a slushy (or freeze fully for later use).

COOK Approximately 1 small fistful (2 ounces) naengmyeon noodles per person (or substitute buckwheat soba noodles) according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water.

PREPARE Fresh toppings: Korean cucumber (julienned; or Persian) + Asian pear (sliced) + pickled radish (optional) + hard-boiled eggs (sliced in half).

PILE A mound of noodles into each serving bowl and pour the icy, chilled naengmyeon broth over the noodles (use a fork to break up any large chunks of ice). Arrange reserved sliced beef brisket (optional) alongside noodles and serve with fresh toppings.

Grocery List: Mul Naengmyeon (Ice-cold Noodle Soup)

In the mood for more Korean food? Check out Gimme Ssam.

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