Korean noodles refer to noodles or noodle based dishes in Korean cuisine. Noodles along with rice are the staple in many of the Korean households.The noodles or noodle based dishes are known as myeon or guksu in Korean language. The noodles in Korea are made up of either regular wheat flour or buckwheat flour. The thin, brownish, buckwheat noodles are always overpriced in comparison to regular noodles made up of wheat flour. The wheat flour noodles known as milguksu and buckwheat flour noodles known as memil guksu, are specially served on all auspicious occasions,such as birthdays and weddings, because their length is associated with the longevity. The noodle, in entire, is served during weddings, wishing the couple good luck for their life together.
The traditional buck wheat flour noodles are served with anchovy stock, beef and poultry.
Origin of Korean Noodles
The exact date of origin of Korean noodles is not known, but its birth is very much integrated with the origin and preparation of noodles throughout Asia. It is believed the noodles existed in Asia in 6000 to 5000 BCE. The noodles were enjoyed in Korea since ancient times but it only became a staple food item in 1940’s, when wheat production increased. Today noodles have become an integral part of the Korean cuisine.
Korean Noodles Recipe Variants
- Jjol – myeon: This is a thick noodle dish, and it is made by combining noodles with vegetables. The dish first made its mark in 1970’s in Incheon. This is today considered as one of the symbol or representative dishes and is very popular amongst youngsters. The thick noodles are usually combined with seasonings and hot pepper paste, and various fresh vegetables like carrots, sprouts, and cucumbers.
- Naengmyeon: This is one of the popular variants of cold noodles soup. This noodle dish is considered as a good summer comfort food. Naengmyeon is prepared from dough made up of potato flour and buckwheat flour; it is cut into thin strips and boiled. The strained noodles are then combined with a chilled chicken stock or stock made up of dong chimi (winter white water kimchi). The dish is served after garnishing with sliced pork or beef, pieces of Asian pear, boiled half-sliced egg, sliced cucumber and sour kimchi. At times, sauce is also added. The sauce used for seasoning is prepared with pepper powder, pepper paste, soy sauce, chopped onions, garlic, and vinegar.
- Kalguksu: This refers to a handmade noodle dish and it is prepared with dough made up of soybean flour and buckwheat flour. The dough is spread on a flat surface , thinly sliced and boiled in water. The dish is seasoned with sauce and the dish is prepared with sesame salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper powder, garlic, and green onions. Some of the popular versions include naengkongkuksu and makkuksu.
- Makguksu: This is a buckwheat noodles dish and is served with a clear chicken soup. Higher ratio of buckwheat flour to potato flour is used while preparing the noodle dough. The dish is normally served with hot pepper paste seasoning, Kimchi soup and chicken broth. Sometimes potato pancakes or mung bean pancakes are also served with the dish.
Korean Noodles in News
In June 2011, the Korean Government urged people to stop eating popular noodles “Shin Ramen” because some serious side effects have been reported by its consumption. The product was suspected of having excess amounts of cancer-inducing plastic additives known as di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).