Joie De Vivre Tuesday #1 – Naengmyeon
Posted by Shannon on 01/18/2011
Tuesdays are extra special at OFPD. Why?
Well for one, we made it this far. Monday is now a thing of the past and you’re still alive. Second, Tuesday is the only day with seven letters, so why not focus on foods I’m lucky enough to have encountered and added joie de vivre to my life.
#1 Naengmyeon; (Icy cold soup w/ buckwheat noodles)
I had this dish, properly, for the first time during a warm, humid evening in August 2010. I was in Andong, South Korea, having my first dinner with my biological family after meeting them for the first time.
Surrounded by my birth mom, older brothers, translator and van driver, we all sat together on the floor, surrounding the low table and its grill-top. Bulgogi and galbi sizzled away. My mom noticed I was a little flushed from the radiating hit and the evening temperature. She motioned for our waitress and instructed her in a low tone and hurried rate not too unlike my own cadence.
A minute or two later, the waitress placed a wide silver bowl & long, thin silver chopsticks in front of me. The chilled buckwheat noodles were the simple, satisfying focus amidst the sea of tangy, sweet vinegar broth. Crushed ice surrounded the mini noodle mound, while gochujang, carrot, zucchini, tomato and a hard-boiled egg pig-piled neatly atop it.
Naengmyeon is a go-to during Korea’s hot summer weather to refresh and cool down. Andong’s naengmyeon made a pronounced enough impact for me to pause during that surreal dinner and take the picture above. The dish forever ties to my South Korean trip memories.