naeng myon at jong ga house
this past friday i BARTed over to oakland to satisfy a craving for naeng myon, or korean cold noodles, usually buckwheat. i wasn't sure where to go, and cursory searches here didn't seem up to date. i picked jong ga house because their menu lists seven varieties, and its walking distance from 19th st. BART station and a friend's house.
i ordered the mul naeng myon, or cold buckwheat noodles in an icy cold broth. it was topped with shredded cucumber, sweet pickled radish slices, thinly sliced beef (i think shank?) and a half of a boiled egg. they brought out the usual vinegar and a smear of hot mustard to doctor up the broth. i don't know if they make the noodles in house or not. i remember reading a chronicle article about cold asian noodles a couple years ago, and it mentioned that ohgane has a machine to extrude its own noodles.
i enjoyed my lunch very much, and it fit the fantastic weather. but some of my noodles were clumped together, and the broth seemed to have a light flavor. i think having it so cold can mute flavor nuances, ,and i ended up touching it up with a bite more and more of the mustard and vinegar. but it was basically what i was craving. the beef was a tad chewy and the boiled egg just a bit overdone. but i don't really like boiled egg yolk, so i just scooped it out, which i usually do. i know i 'm not giving a very positive description of my meal, but i really did enjoy it, i'm just nitpicking. the generous shreds of cucumber were refreshing, and the sweet pickled korean radish was delicious.
my friend ate the haemul kalguksu, or seafood "knife cut noodles." i didn't taste hers, but she claims it was delicious, though she could only eat half of it. the panchan was generous. i liked the cabbage kimchi and the radish kimchi was nicely pungent. didn't touch the cold, stale florets of deep fried broccoli. there were probaby ten to twelve varieties of panchan, mostly very good.
with summer approaching, does anyone else have any fresh news on good naeng myon either in the city or oakland? is ohgane's better? somewhere else? not a fan of the skate wing spicy variety, but the rest i'm into.
Jong Ga House
372 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
I had a pretty good version of bibim naeng myon at Seoul Gomtang's sister restaurant (same name) in Santa Clara. It had plenty of beef and the broth was really nice, perfectly spicy. I'd bet the Oakland one does it well too.
If you feel like making it at home, you can purchase a kit in the refrigerated section of Koreana Plaza. The kit comes with premade soup base and noodles that only require a few minutes to cook. Just be sure to rinse the cooked noodles in cold water with plenty of ice cubes to maintain the chewy texture of the noodles.
I like the Pulmone brand of dongchimi naengmyun. I think it runs about $8 or $9 for two servings. However, they usually put it on sale during the summer months for under $5. But don't hold me to these prices, because my memory is a bit fuzzy on the prices.
I like to freeze the soup base for 5-10 minutes so it's still liquid, but a tad icy. Just add your own toppings and you're good to go. You can also freeze the noodle and soup base packets if you don't want to use them immediately. Just defrost in the fridge prior to use.
2328 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA