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Best Cold Noodles?

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  • sprout Jun 19, 2006 09:32 AM
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It is way too hot out. I love cold sesame noodles. Whenever I make them at home, they are not as good. Where could I get a really fantastic pile of cold noodles? As always, Central-Harvard-Porter-Davis is best, though anywhere T accessible is okay...

Other cold (or just not hot), non-salad suggestions are also welcome. Thanks!

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  1. Try the NangMyun at BukKyung in Union Square Somerville or Brighton Ave Allston. They only serve it in the summer and the noodles are home made -- none of the other Korean restaurants use fresh noodles.

    NangMyun is a dish with very fine buckwheat noodles served cold in a large bowl of mild beef broth with ice, a hard boiled egg, and some slices of beef and korean pear. Ask the waitstaff to cut the noodles for you and add either mustard, kochujang (hot pepper paste), or vinegar to season the broth. The broth at the Union Square restaurant is a little better than Allston's.

    If you want to sweat yourself cool instead, try the bibimnangmyun!

    4 Replies
    1. re: TMaB

      Ooh, that sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for the tip... This may be a weird question, but how big is the serving? I have a very small appetite in the summer and hate to leave things unfinished. Would it work as take-out or could I split with a friend?

      Thanks again.

      1. re: sprout

        I don't have a huge appetite at lunch, but I can polish off a plate of those cold noodles at most Korean restaurants. I haven't been to Hometown or Byuk Kung yet.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          The mul naengmyun noodles are served in a tight mound in the center of a very large bowl with the beef, radish, pear slices, and hard boiled egg halves on top of the noodles. The server will either bring you a pair of scissors or cut the mound into quarters and then make a few additional cuts with the scissors. So it is really easy to share when the noodles are first cut and still clumped together before you separate them in the broth. The bowl is really large and is always served with ample soup -- more than enough to share. Btw, you are not expected to finish the soup.

          Big eaters can order an extra portion of noodles to add to the soup. Usually this is ordered at the end, but at the Union Square Buk Kyung, they have offered to bring out an extra order as soon as they noticed that I was sharing an order. I usually get a dinner order of Ganpoongki as an appetizer to share with my DCs. With the panchan and the ganpoongki, I can have trouble finishing one standard order. But my DCs frequently order the extra portion of noodles. Two moderate eaters could probably share and finish these two dishes.

          I'm not sure how well take out will work. At the Union Square Buk Kyung there can be some language barrier for take out orders, so it's better to specify the cold buckwheat noodle soup (mul naengmyun).

          I don't do take out very often, and I don't recall any area Korean restaurants packing any panchan (the kimchee and other side dishes) with their take out orders. Cabbage, radish, and cucumber kimchee all go really great with mul naengmyun too. If you do get takeout, make sure you ask them to pack the mustard and hot sauce for mixing into the broth, and add ice to your noodles and broth when you get home. I doubt they will pack vinegar for you, so just add regular white vinegar, not rice vinegar, to taste at home.

          As with most noodles dishes, the noodles must be packed separately from the broth. Because naengmyun is so fine, it will overcook instantly if packed hot, and if it is packed in the soup, naengmyun can absorb an unbelievable amount of liquid. Also, naengmyun can be difficult to separate if refrigerated cooked. So if you get takeout and refrigerate some leftover noodles, you may need to separate them with boiling water just before serving them in the iced broth.

          1. re: TMaB

            I've gotten takeout from both Bookkyung (Union Sq) and Kaya (Porter Sq), and in both cases, they packed the banchan (side dishes) too. Kaya packs each type of banchan separately in small Chinese food takeout boxes. Cute.

    2. I too desire great cold noodles--sad to say I have not found them like I grew up on in San Francisco.

      Different, but delicious is the cold bean starch app. at Shrangri-la in Belmont--sauce is cold noodle-y, but gets its heat from wasabi(?) & has cukes to cool...

      Link: http://www.myspace.com/philgrenadier

      1 Reply
      1. re: Trumpet Guy

        That's good to know. I have recently moved back here from the west coast (Portland) and there are definitely some things that I just can't find here (good tacos!). However, there is tons of glorious indian food here and there was nothing even edible in Portland, so it all works out. I think I'll just make my own cold sesame noodles and try out the summer dishes here that are good. Seems like there's plenty of other stuff to try.

        I don't have a car, but if I ever make it to Belmont, I will definitely check out that dish. Sounds really interesting! Thanks.

      2. In the summer I love the 'soft bean curd skin' from Wang's in Somerville. It's on the 'side orders' part of the menu, and it's served either lukewarm or cool (can't remember). The bean curd skin has a very light dressing (slightly sweet soy and vinegar?) and a few vegetables (cucumbers mainly I think). Sharing this and an order of vegetarian leek dumplings (which are just as good when they are not hot) is the perfect light dinner for two on a summer night.

        Dave M.P.

        1. On a hot summers day, there is nothing I love more
          than a cold noodle dish, for sure! A couple weeks ago,
          when I was last at Ken's Ramen, the waitress said they
          would begin serving hiyashi chuka for this week. I
          hope to get a chance to go up there this week!

          Hiyashi chuka is basically ramen served cold, with a
          sour dressing poured onto it, topped with usually
          cucumbers slices, egg slices, some ham/pork slices,
          and maybe some green veggie slices. Delish..love this
          stuff.

          (Ken's Ramen has been mentioned before on chowhound,
          but if you don't know of it, it is in the Super 88
          in Allston, on Brighton Ave near where it hits Comm
          Ave)

          1. h
            Heathen & Spells

            I just said to my husband the other day that I really need and require cold sesame noodles- we grew up in nyc, upper west side, and one summer when we were teens every day my now husband and rest of band- would get Szechuan West's cold sesame noodles and play music- it was a great and very memorable summer- and Szechuan West's noodles- the only ones we ever knew- were so perfect- so refreshing w/ cucumber spears in and perfect peanut sauce and sesame and hot oil bliss- I think that Mary Chung's (Central Sq, Cambridge) dun dun noodles-(plain without the boiled shredded chicken on top) is an amazing facsimile the caveat being- and yes, it is a huge caveat for instant eating enjoyment- that it is warm but you can get earlier in the day (other than being closed on tuesdays) they open early every other day) and refrigerate and have pretty perfect for dinner-time...(oh also per your small appetite this time of year- they are truly excellent left-over, so you can pick and come back. Now I am ravenously hungry and hot...)...

            1. i just had some tenzaru (buckwheat noodles that you dip in shoyu) at bluefin in porter square. pretty simple but nice and cooling. came with a side of shrimp tempura. it was my first tenzaru, so i can't say how it compares with any others, but i enjoyed it. and it seems to be in the right location for you!

              1 Reply
              1. re: dchow

                I had this same tenzaru at Bluefin today. The soba noodles are ok - I doubt they make it themselves, but it had good firmness and texture. The tempura, however, was very small: 2 small pieces of shrimp. Which meant that the meal was too small so I had to get a spicy beef donburi afterwards. (The spicy gyuudon, BTW, is a pretty good deal - lots of beef.)

                So if you're not too hungry, then try Bluefin's cold soba. I like the restaurant a lot + eat there frequently, but portions can be small.

              2. You should be able to get hiyashi soba in one of the little restaurants in Porter Square. I forget the name, but I think it's the second one from the back.

                And doesn't Mary Chung's have dan dan?

                1. Chef Chow's in Brookline (the one on Harvard...I'm pretty sure it's Chef Chow's) has tasty cold sesame noodles. It's not my favorite place in general, but it's a good spot for cold noodles and/or Peking duck.

                  1. I love sesame cold noodles too.

                    The best can be found at Wang's in Somerville, along with the best Chinese food in the area. Bernard's in the Chesnut Hill Mall also makes excellent sesame cold noodles.

                    If you're more in the mood for Japanese cold noodles, the Porter Exchange Mall in Cambridge has several good options, particularly "ITTYO, Japanese Noodle Factory" (one of the small restaurants in the food court area) and Bluefin, which does excellent cold buckwheat noodles, although they may only be on the lunch time menu if I recall correctly.

                    Has anyone come across chao2 xian3 leng3 mian4 (North Korean-style cold noodles) around the Boston area?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lipoff

                      If it's nangmyun (which sounds very much like liang2 mian4/cold noodles to me), it's often served in the summer at Korean places like Buk Kyung. Had a pleasant one at Color a long while ago.