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By Way of Korea

South Korea   |   New York

A Korean food blog and travelogue inspired by

an epicurious New Yorker's journey around South Korea


North Korean-Style Cold Noodles at Jinmi Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (Nonhyeon-dong, Seoul)

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

A choice always has to be made when ordering naengmyeon: mul-naeng or bi-naeng? But when I began my search for naengmyeon in Seoul, I found myself having to answer a slightly different question: pyeongyang or hamheung?

Opinions are divided when it comes to Pyeongyang naengmyeon ㅡ people either love it enough to have it twice a week, or find it unpalatable. Eager to find out which side of the fence I'd be on, I made of list of pyeongyang naengmyeon restaurants in Seoul recommended by cold noodle connoisseurs. One happened to be in my neighborhood. I made it to Jinmi Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (by Hapjeong Station) just before their lunch rush.

A thin film of fat glistened on surface of the pellucid beef and pork broth through which you could clearly see the bottom of the bowl. The clarity of the broth was a result of hours of simmering and skimming off the fat. A ball of buckwheat noodles sat in the bowl with slices of boiled beef and pork, half a boiled egg, radish, cucumbers, and scallion. Before adding any condiments, I tried a spoonful of the broth, which tasted as bland as it looked. It took me a couple of pulls of noodles and another couple of spoonfuls of broth to note the meaty flavor belied by the lack of seasoning that my palate had initially interpreted as blandness. The slices of boiled beef (pyeonyuk) and pork (jeyuk) were tender, and the noodles were not as chewy as, but more flavorful than those made of potato and sweet potato starch used in hamheung naengmyeon.

Pyeongyang naengmyeon typically consists of buckwheat noodles served in a clear, beef and/or pork broth often combined with dongchimi. It is what the mul-naengmyeon we are familiar with evolved from. But Jinmi's naengmyeon lacked the flavors, especially the tang, of the mul-naengmyeon I grew up eating at home or at restaurants in Flushing. While the variations of naengmyeon that evolved throughout South Korea take many liberties with seasoning, Pyeongyang naengmyeon relies on the flavors intrinsic to the ingredients used: the delicate meat flavor of the broth and the nuttiness of buckwheat. If your standard of satisfaction with a meal is dictated by how well food is seasoned, this naengmyeon might be a disappointing. You may, of course, add vinegar and mustard, but opinions about whether this is the right way to enjoy the noodles are also divided. Although I personally didn't appreciate it enough to go back for a second bowl, I was able to understand its appeal to the naengmyeon aficionados on the other side of the fence.

Jinmi Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (진미평양냉면)

Address: 305-3, Hakdong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울시 강남구 학동로 305-3)

Hours: 11AM~9:30PM daily



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"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go."

Anthony Bourdain's unmatched relish for adventure and humble approach to food, cultures, and humanity left an indelible impression on my younger self. Imparting on me the courage to veer into the unknown, he inspired me to embrace my vulnerabilities and seek adventures and growth beyond the comforts of home.


In July of 2017, I boarded a one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. Within the first week of arrival, I signed a lease for an apartment and by the end of August, I had accepted a job offer that relocated me to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where the Winter Olympics were soon to be held. From there, I had the rare opportunity to explore much of the greater Gangwon Province's beautiful mountainous and coastal regions and their distinctive foods. Once or twice a month, I'd return to Seoul or travel to an unfamiliar region to poke around alleyways, markets, and mountains in search of more good eats and adventures.


By Way of Korea is a storytelling project inspired by the food, places, and faces I encountered throughout Korea. By sharing my fondest memories, notes, and images of Korea, I simply hope to play a small part in piquing greater curiosity about Korean food and culture in my readers.  My content will heavily spotlight, but not be limited to Korean food and culture. 

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