Escaping the Summer Heat With Korean Noodles

August 14, 2016 5:52 pm Last Updated: August 14, 2016 5:52 pm

At the peak of New York’s summer, the heat can be so unbearable we lose our appetites. And to cool down, too often we gulp down drinks full of sugar and artificial flavoring.

For a restorative meal, missKOREA in Koreatown has a menu of noodle dishes that will revive you with nutrients and appetite-pleasing slurping ($9.95, available daily in August, 10 a.m to 5 p.m).

Korean cold noodles, or naengmyeon, feature springy, chewy buckwheat noodles in chilled broth—allowing one to cool off in a wholesome manner. The mul naengmyeon tastes pure and clean, flavored with beef stock and the pickling brine used to make water kimchi (a non-spicy type of kimchi). Bits of ice floating in the soup make the dish even more invigorating.

Mul naengmyeon, or beef broth cold noodles, with bits of shaved ice to cool you down. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Mul naengmyeon, or beef broth cold noodles, with bits of shaved ice to cool you down. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

For cold noodles with more of a kick, the kimchi guksu (or noodles with pickled vegetables in soup) has all the garlicky spiciness of kimchi—but the flavors are more balanced in soup form, with a potent broth you’ll want to savor.

Kimchi guksu noodles, potent with the spicy, garlicky flavor of kimchi. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Kimchi guksu noodles, potent with the spicy, garlicky flavor of kimchi. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

A soupless version of cold noodles, bibim naengmyeon, will reenergize you in the lazy summer heat. The noodles are dressed in sesame oil and gochujang, combining the pleasant nuttiness of sesame with the tangy sweetness of the red pepper paste.

There’s a traditional Korean belief, rooted in Taoism, that the five elements must be in balance for one’s body to maintain a healthy state. Reflected onto the Korean dining table, dishes are garnished with five colors—black, white, red, green, and yellow—representing the five elements. Following that principle, missKOREA’s noodles are layered with cucumbers, kimchi, radishes, a hard-boiled egg, and strips of seaweed, creating delightful texture and visual presentation.

missKOREA's noodle dishes will reinvigorate you from the summer heat. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
missKOREA’s noodle dishes will reinvigorate you from the summer heat. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Korean medicine also has a remedy for cooling down: by eating something hot. Traditional thought holds that sweating it out cools the body. MissKOREA serves two types of hot broth with knife-cut noodles made of flour, called kal guksu. The noodles’ broader surface allows the flavor of the rich broth to be savored. The broth in the haemul kal guksu (seafood knife-cut noodles in broth), made with anchovies and vegetables, is comforting and full of vitality. The mixed in clams, squid, and shrimp lend extra briny flavor.

Haemul kalguksu, or seafood knife-cut noodles, in a comforting broth made of anchovies and vegetables. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Haemul kalguksu, or seafood knife-cut noodles, in a comforting broth made of anchovies and vegetables. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Beef bone kal guksu gets its name from simmering beef bones for 48 hours, until the broth gains a milky, creamy consistency. Drinking the soup is like sipping on the essence of beef, robust and soothing.

Beef bone kalguksu (knife-cut noodles), made with a beef bone broth that's both robust and soothing. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Beef bone kalguksu (knife-cut noodles), made with a beef bone broth that’s both robust and soothing. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

MissKOREA’s owner, Sophia Lee, also wants to wish her patrons good fortune with three new combination meal sets—Longevity, Happiness, and Love, featuring cuts of marinated and unmarinated meats—so you can try all the glorious types of Korean barbecued meats in one go.

missKOREA owner Sophia Lee at her restaurant. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
missKOREA owner Sophia Lee at her restaurant. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

missKOREA BBQ
10 W. 32nd St.
MissKoreaBbq.com

Hours:
missKOREA JIN
The First
212-594-4963
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

missKOREA SUN
The Second
212-736-3232
Sunday–Wednesday
11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Thursday–Saturday
11 a.m.–midnight

missKOREA MEE
The Third
212-594-7766
Sunday–Wednesday
11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Thursday–Saturday
11 a.m.–midnight