The heat wave’s over, and nobody asked us, but we just thought we’d throw in our own tip for how to “beat the heat.” (Check out this slideshow for quaint, weird, and funny advice from strangers around town.) It’s still hot, after all.
We say, eat naeng myun. The first introduction to the cold buckwheat noodle dish took place in L.A. a few years ago — plus we were dining with a Korean friend, so it’s been a tough act to follow in New York. But we only recently ate at You-Chun, where naeng myun is the specialty, for the first time.
Instead of plain old buckwheat noodles — not that they’re anything to scoff at — You-Chun’s noodles are made from kudzu roots (aka “arrowroot”), and are dark brown, slippery, and deliciously chewy. We’ve had a lot of naeng myun that features water-logged, limp noodles in our day, and worse, the dish can be bland, though refreshing. At You-Chun, where we had the most basic incarnation — a slushy beef broth flavored with sweet vinegar and hot sauce, shavings of daikon, scallion, cucumber, crunchy, thick slices of frozen Asian pear, sesame seeds, chili paste, and half a hard-boiled egg — all served in a freezing cold metal bowl.
And I know the nurses say to avoid alcohol, but that soup sure does go well with, um, a bottle of soju and a $10 pitcher of Hite, Korea’s refreshing light beer.
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