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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Beyond Ramyeon – Noodles

A beginner’s guide to noodles.

In the first food article, I gave an overview of some popular dishes. For the remainder of the articles, I will focus on different types of food. In the last article it was rice dishes. This time, let’s look at noodles. Noodles are known as guksu (국수), from the Hangul (Korean), or myeon () from the Hanja (Chinese root).

Noodles are almost as important in Korean food as rice. The most popular, ramyeon (라면), is usually a packet of instant noodles, even when served in restaurants. Instant noodles are fried before packaging, and the flavouring packets are high in sodium, so they’re not the healthiest food on the menu. Kids will eat dry ramyeon by smashing the block into tiny pieces, then adding the flavouring and shaking the packet up to mix it. When it comes in it’s own bowl, it’s known as “cup noodle”.

However, there is a world of noodles beyond ramyeon (as the title of the series suggests).

Japchae (잡채) – Made of glass noodles (sweet potato noodles), soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil, mixed with meat and veggies, chapchae is a popular dish among foreigners. It’s not spicy, but has a rich flavour, which can be an appealing change to the bombardment of gochu (red pepper) in many Korean dishes. It can be served hot or cold, but is usually a side dish rather than a main course.

 

 

 

 

Bibim guksu (비빔 국수) – Another popular summer dish, these spicy noodles topped with beef and julienned veggies are served cold. The dish is similar to bibimbap.

Naengmyeon (냉면) – Buckwheat noodles, served in a cold, vinegary broth with crushed ice and Korean radish, naengmyeon is a popular dish in the summer. It’s served with mustard on the side, which you can add to taste. This can be an aquired taste for foreigners, but it is actually very refreshing during the intense humidity of a Korean summer.

 

Kalguksu (갈 국수) – Literally “knife-cut noodles”, the noodles are so named because they are not formed by a noodle press, or spun by hand, but rather cut with a knife. Kalguksu is usually served as a soup, with the noodles in a thick, seafood or chicken based broth, with potatoes, zucchini and green onions.

 

 

 

 

Sujaebi (수재비) – Similar to kalguksu, sujaebi is a noodle soup, but here the flattened dough is torn by hand.

Spaghetti (스파개티) – Italian spaghetti dishes are quite popular in Korea, and there are many Italian style restaurants around Ulsan offering noodles in tomato, cream and oil based sauces. If you are ordering spaghetti in a restaurant that does not claim to be Italian, beware. It may indeed be a close-to-authentic meal, or it could be the “tomato sauce” is ketchup. Check the Ulsan Online restaurant guide for reviews of restaurants, or ask the Ulsan Online Facebook group for recommendations if you want to avoid the terrible disappointment of ketchup spaghetti.

Jjajamyeon (짜면) – Noodles served with jjajam, or black bean sauce. This is known as “Chinese food” in Korea, and is a very popular delivery dish. It’s what single people are supposed to eat on “Black Day” (April 14th), after failing to receive candy or chocolate on Valentine’s Day and “White Day” (March 14th).

 

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