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[Home Cooking] Mul naengmyeon (noodles in cold broth)

Naengmyeon is a cold noodle dish of thin, chewy noodles made with buckwheat and potato or sweet potato starch. Mul naengmyeon is served in a clear, refreshing broth that’s typically made with beef broth, dongchimi (radish water kimchi) broth or both.

To make mul naengmyeon, you will need to prepare the broth ahead of time and chill it. You can use a combination of beef broth and dongchimi broth, if available. Otherwise, simply use beef broth.

Another item you will want to make ahead is the naengmyeon kimchi, also known as mu chojeorim -- sweet and sour radish pickles. It should be made at least a few hours before using it in naengmyeon. 

Mul naengmyeon (noodles in cold broth) (Korean Bapsang)
Mul naengmyeon (noodles in cold broth) (Korean Bapsang)

For sweet and sour radish:

450 grams Korean radish

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

For beef broth (makes about 10 cups):

250 grams beef brisket (yangjimeori)

1/2 medium onion

6 cloves garlic

3 thin ginger slices (about 2.5 centimeters round)

2 large scallion white parts

2 tablespoons soy sauce for soup

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

1 teaspoon sugar


For noodles and garnish:

2 servings of naengmyeon noodles

1 boiled egg, cut in half

1/2 Korean cucumber (or 1 kirby cucumber)

2 thin half-moon shape slices Korean pear


Hot mustard paste

Clean the radish by scrubbing it with a brush or scratching off the stubborn impurities with a knife. Cut the radish crosswise into 6 to 7-centimeter pieces, if long. Place cut side down and slice lengthwise as thin as you can. Gather the slices and cut into about 2-centimeter strips.

Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix well by hand until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more vinegar or sugar to taste.

In a large pot, uncovered, bring the meat, onion, scallions and garlic to a boil in 14 cups of water. Reduce the heat to medium to medium low to keep it at medium boil and skim off the scum. Continue to boil, covered, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the soy sauce for soup with 10 minutes remaining. Remove the meat and cool. Discard the vegetables. Cool the broth.

Pour 5 cups of the beef to a bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar and salt to taste. Keep it in the freezer for an hour or two until the broth becomes slushy. Keep the remaining broth in the fridge or freezer for later use.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Thinly slice crosswise, lightly sprinkle with salt and let it sit until the cucumber slices are wilted. Thinly slice the beef against the grain. Thinly slice the pear into a half-moon shape.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath while water is boiling. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain quickly and shock in the ice water to stop cooking. Drain and rinse again in icy cold water until the noodles are very cold. Make two one-serving size mounds, placing in a colander to drain.

Place one serving of noodles in the middle of the serving bowl and top with the pickled radish, slices of beef, cucumber and pear and egg half. Pour half of the prepared icy broth around the noodles. Repeat for the other serving. Serve with vinegar and hot mustard paste on the side.

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By Ro Hyo-sun