EulMilDae Serves Up North Korean Cold Noodles
EulMilDae (을밀대 평양냉면) is one of those small hole in the wall places that you know of if you’re in the know but wouldn’t spot if you just passed by on the street.
The exterior exudes little and even the interior is simple with retro tables and chairs likely still there from when the place first opened in the 70’s. The white faded walls keep it clean looking and only what is necessary is hung up like the menu, a clock and a tissue dispenser.
EulMilDae specializes in Pyeongyang naengmyeon. There are two kinds of naengmyeon from North Korea, Pyeongyang and Hamheung obviously named after cities in the northern country. Hamheung naengmyeon is made with potato starch noodles and spicy chili pepper paste and isn’t served with broth whereas Pyeongyang naegmyeon is served with buckwheat noodles and a mild cold broth. According to my husband, Pyeongyang naengmyeon is one of those dishes that you either love or you hate. Due to it’s mild taste you may think it’s just not that appealing or it’s like you’re eating but nothing memorable so what’s the point? It wasn’t until I was walking down the street afterward the first time I had the icy dish that I felt the urge to go back and have more which my husband said was proof I was a lover and not a hater. While I was eating though, I was a bit confused. Shouldn’t we add one of the spicy sauces Korean dishes are known for? Or some spicy mustard or vinegar like we add when we’re at a meat restaurant? While there are condiments sitting on the table should want them, my husband would tell you not to.
The soup may seem simple enough to make, but the beef and water kimchi combination has to be just right for it to be refreshing and leave just the right aftertaste in the mouth. EulMilDae has been open since the 1970’s and considering they are still in operation, it’s a good indication that they know what they’re doing. Naengmyeon snobs, like my husband, come here again and again for cold noodle soup from winter to summer and back around again.While the restaurant is known for it’s naengmyeon, there are other items on the menu should you choose to venture off what is recommended though you can’t venture too far. Bibim naengmyeon, hue naengmyeon and beef brisket soup are also available. On the cold day that we headed over to the nearby tax office and on to the restaurant, I opted for the brisket soup. It was also fairly simple though loaded with brisket, rice and underneath the rice was a hand full of the same handmade noodles as in the naengmyeon. I added a bit of salt and pepper to taste, but the simple broth hit the spot as the naengmyeon usually does.
The restaurant is perfectly simple in ambiance while offering up some truly appealing North Korean style soups. Definitely a must visit if you want to know what Pyeongyang naengmyeon is all about.
서울특별시 마포구 숭문길 24
24 Soongmoon-gil 24 Mapo-gu, Seoul
By subway: take Daeheung station, exit 2 and walk straight. Turn left down the fifth street. Follow the street as it curves slightly left and the restaurant will be a couple minutes down on the right just opposite the Mapo Tax Office. You could also go out of Gongdeok subway station, exit 2. Walk straight and turn right down the 6th street. Follow the street as it curves slightly left and the restaurant will be a couple minutes down on the right just opposite the Mapo Tax Office.
By bus: take 110A, 110B, 163, 604 , 740, 7016, 7613
Hours: 11:00am ~ 11:00pm
Price: W9,000 – W14,000