4.174 Pyongyang Mul Naeng Myeon

-Cycle 4, Item 174-
28 (Fri) June 2013

Pyongyang Mul Naeng Myeon


by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Wife, Dominic, Ian

So long as I'm on a quest to determine Seoul's best Pyongyang-style (PYS) mul naeng myeon (MNM) (물냉면) (see most recently 4.173 The Woo Lae Oak MNM...), I may as well try the packaged stuff.  Pulmuone, my favorite local food company (see other posts relating to Pulmuone), recently introduced a new line of semi-instant products for MNM, as well as its spicy, brothless cousin bibim naeng myeon (BNM) (비빔냉면).  Wife: "Aren't you sick of it yet?"  Me: "Just getting started, baby."

BROTH.  Sweet.  Tangy.  No trace of beef.  Crystal clear.

NOODLES.  Darkish.  Rubbery.  No trace of buckwheat.  

TOPPINGS.  None,  except a tube of mustard.  The instructions on the packaging helpfully suggests adding cucumber, pear, radish.

CONCLUSION.  I wasn't expecting much, and I got exactly what I'd expected.  Not PYS, nowhere close.  Not even really naeng myeon.  That said, it was...okay(ish)--the way that bottled apple juice doesn't actually taste like apples, but it's still kinda good.  Dominic: "This, this is what I'm talking about, this is the kind of MNM that I like!"  

NITPICK.  One is called "Pyongyang Mul Naeng Myeon," while the other is called "Hamheung Bibim Naeng Myeon." If one were to include the thicker, buckwheat PYS noodles, and the other were to involve the thinner, potato starch Hamheung-style (HHS) noodles, then the respective attributions would technically be correct.  However, the two products seem to contain the same noodles, somewhere in between the two styles: darkish in color yet rubbery.  In any case, the labeling distinction reinforces the mistaken notion that, categorically, PYS = mul and that HHS = bibim, which is not true: (i) as this MNM series has shown, PYS restaurants also serve BNM but with buckwheat noodles; (ii) conversely, I've reported on an HHS restaurant that served MNM but with potato starch noodles (see 3.010 Mul Naeng Myeon).  Shame on Pulmuone for perpetuating a myth.

The meal did include other items.

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