3.005 Mul Naeng Myeon

-Cycle 3, Item 5-
10 (Tue) January 2012

Mul Naeng Myeon


at Okcheon Goeup Naeng Myeon (옥천고읍냉면)

-Okcheon, Gyeonggi-


As mentioned briefly in a prior post (see 1.261 Wanja), Okcheon is a small town renowned for a special kind of mul naeng myeon (MNM) (물냉면).  While regarded as a derivative of Pyeongyang style (PYS), it's distinctive enough to be in its own class altogether (OCS).  The chilled broth, derived from beef/pork stock, is similarly free of sweetness and tang.  The noodles are similarly thick and composed of buckwheat but combined with potato starch to make them chewy, in that sense more along the lines of Hamheung style, in contrast to traditional PYS noodles, which are relatively doughy in texture.  Otherwise, anyone who's a fan of PYS will usually be a fan of OCS.  

That said, the MNM restaurants in the area are hit or miss.  Okcheon Naeng Myeon--arguably the most famous, perhaps the one that started it all, established in 1952, according to the sign, located right off the highway--sucks.  Based on my experiences with a handful of different places, the farther in that the restaurant is, the better that it seems to be.  Like Okcheon Goeup Naeng Myeon (고읍냉면), the best of the bunch that I've tried thus far.  (Incidentally, I do eat in Okcheon as often as I can, maybe several times a year, but it's never been directly featured on the blog as yet because the meals have all been for lunch, passing through on the way to/from somewhere.)

Every MNM joint in Okcheon has the exact same--EXACT SAME--menu items; prices may slightly vary.

At Goeup, the MNM represents OCS excellence.  The broth, like a high quality vodka on ice, is virtually flavorless and yet remarkably crisp and refreshing.  The noodles are perfectly chewy without being rubbery.  The toppings are as minimal as can be, just half of a boiled egg and julienned cucumbers, but the dish feels complete. 7,000 won.

The solitary side dish is pickled radish in a red chili dressing, also an Okcheon standard.

After 2 days of cooking for myself on a snow-covered mountain (see most recently 3.004 Grilled Duck with Char Siu Glaze in Romaine Wraps), I drove down for a bowl of chilled noodles.  MNM is said to be a winter item--probably dating back to a time when the broth was left outside to freeze in the natural cold--so it was an appropriate choice for my final dinnertime meal of the trip.  Afterwards, I drove back and and zipped myself into my tent and cranked the heaters on high and settled in for the night.  I was beginning to miss home.

Address: Gyeonggi-Do Yangpyeong-Gun Okcheon-Myeon Okcheon-3Ri 604 (경기도 양평군 옥천면 옥천3리 604)

A marathon of Everybody Loves Raymond, which made me even more homesick.


  1. interesting how they call the jeon wanja. I always associated wanja with meatballs.

  2. well, it's a flattened meatball. i described it as "jeon" because it's coated in egg wash and pan-fried.