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Korean chicken noodle soup at Woo Hyung-joon Rice Mill

New Korean restaurant serves up tasty grains and noodles in a bowl

At Woo Hyung-joon Rice Mill, a new Korean restaurant that opened in January, the carbs are the real draw, from extra-chewy, glossy noodles strewn in chicken broth to nutty chicken porridge.

The key to all those tasty carbs lies in the rice.

“They say freshly milled grains are the backbone for very good rice,” said owner Woo Hyung-joon, which is why, he added, he and his team mill their grains.

For the chicken porridge, Woo uses brown rice, allowing those hearty grains to add an earthy flavor to a health-conscious stew of chicken, chicken stock, jujubes, ginseng, mushrooms and onions. 
Noodles flecked with “mi gang,” finely textured rice bran, are used in “kalguksu,” Korean noodle soup, and “chogyeguksu,” chicken-based cold Korean noodle soup, at Woo Hyung-joon Rice Mill. (Photo credit: Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Noodles flecked with “mi gang,” finely textured rice bran, are used in “kalguksu,” Korean noodle soup, and “chogyeguksu,” chicken-based cold Korean noodle soup, at Woo Hyung-joon Rice Mill. (Photo credit: Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

For the “dak gomtang,” a Korean chicken soup, he uses rice that has approximately 10 percent of the rice bran removed, leaving the germ intact.
The resulting rice is glutinous, slightly sweet and moist.

Rice, according to Woo, also makes an appearance in the establishment’s “dak kalguksu,” Korean chicken noodle soup.

“We put ‘mi gang’ (the finest textured bran of rice), into the noodles,” he said. “Customers say it is nutty and tasty.”

According to Woo, the rice bran-infused kalguksu dough is allowed to rest for 12 hours.

“We actually make our noodles thinner than your average kalguksu noodles because the dough has such great elasticity,” he explained. 
Woo Hyung-joon Rice Mill, a new Korean restaurant located in Sinsa-dong, Seoul, opened in January. (Photo credit: Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Woo Hyung-joon Rice Mill, a new Korean restaurant located in Sinsa-dong, Seoul, opened in January. (Photo credit: Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

The slightly brown-flecked noodles, flat and near translucent, pair well with the mild and soothing chicken broth, yielding a pleasant and firm chew that is both addictive and satisfying.

The noodles, in fact, are so chewy that they do not lose their spring, even when submerged in soup for some time.

Those very same noodles show up again in a new menu addition, “chogye-guksu,” a chicken-based cold Korean noodle soup.

Thinner than their kalguksu counterparts, these noodles, slippery and elastic in their vinegar-spiked broth, are perfect for slurping in the soon-to-come warmer months. 

“We are also using the same noodles in our ‘bibim guksu,’” said Woo of yet another new menu item which will feature noodles served with a spicy red pepper paste-based sauce that can be jumbled together into a fiery tangle of chewy goodness.

Less than three months into business, Woo is still expanding the menu which centers on tasty bowls of carb-centric fare with a chicken stock base.
“I wanted to focus on healthy food,” Woo explained the impetus behind his menu. 

Woo and team serve their health-conscious grub from a 42-seat perch located in Sinsa-dong, Seoul, near Hyundai Department Store’s Apgujeong branch.

Woo Hyung-joon Rice Mill
572 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
(02) 545-5800
Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Dak kalguksu costs 8,000 won, dak gomtang costs 7,000 won, chicken porridge costs 9,000 won

By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)
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