07/20/20 8:35am

These Korean cold noodles are one of my favorite forms of edible air conditioning!

When the dog days of summer have got me panting I seek cold noodles: chilled Japanese soba, Chinese liang pi, Chengdu liang mian, and the chillest noodles of all, Korean naeng myun.

Think of the slippery buckwheat noodles as edible air conditioning. There’s a soup version, mul naengmyeon, which consists of the greyish noodles along with chilled beef broth, often with a small glacier of beef stock; cooling fruits and veggies like sliced Korean pear and cucumber; thinly shaved beef; and a hard-boiled egg. And then there are soupless varieties like hwe naeng myun, topped with raw fish.

I’ve never had the fish version and was eager to try it at New Hae Woon Dae in Elmhurst during what seemed like day 1,024 of quarantine and day 99 of New York City’s heat wave. “We don’t make it anymore,” the server told me, so I opted for the bibim naeng myun, or mixed naeng myun.

So much chili sauce blanketed the noodles that I could barely see them. Slices of daikon, Korean pear, shaved beef, and an egg were relegated to the side of the silver bowl, as if scared of the chili drenched strands.The server used her trusty noodle shears to deftly divide the bowl in four and advised me to add hot mustard and vinegar.

New Hae Woon Dae’s bibim naeng myun comes with a cold bowl of soup on the side to add. Slippery spicy noodles, crunchy vegetables and fruit, and that little bit of meat combined for a satisfying and refreshing summer lunch.

I still can’t wait to try the seafood version though. I’d love to know about your favorite cold noodles and soups. Let me know in the comments.

New Hae Woon Dae, 75-32 Broadway, Woodside, 718-397-5834

07/27/15 10:24am

A cool bowl of Gui Zhou liang fen–sour, spicy, slippery–just the thing for the dog days.

There was a time and place when cold noodles meant one thing—and one thing only—sesame noodles. The time: circa 1976. The place: any number of strip mall Chinese joints in Nassau County. These days, here in Queens, the cold noodle choices are far more diverse from Korean naeng myun and Tibetan laphing serpo to Sichuan cold noodles and liang pi.  The latest entry into Queens’ polyglot noodle pantheon is Gui Zhou liang fen. (more…)

03/05/13 10:15am
The Chinese name translates to noodle hat, but there are no noodles to be found in this cold soup.

The Chinese name translates to noodle hat, but there are no noodles here.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Dongbei cuisine, which got me to thinking about Minzhongle, a bygone Flushing spot. Like most Dongbei places the Korean influence was evident on the menu with dishes like naeng myun. The refreshing cold Korean noodles in an icy beef broth, are one of my favorite things to eat come summertime.

So when I saw “special Korean cold noodles” on the menu at Minzhongle, I had to find out just what was so special about this $17.99 bowl of noodles. Minzhongle is closed but the dish whose Chinese name translates to “noodle hat,” remains one of the strangest things I’ve ever eaten. For one thing there were no noodles in the icy beef broth. It did however contain the standard slice of beef shin. It also had many things which seemingly have no business being in a cold noodle soup. There was practically an entire produce stand’s worth of fruit in the bowl: watermelon, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and Korean pears. It was as if someone had spilled a quart of naeng myun broth into a fruit salad. To this day it remains one of the strangest things I’ve ever eaten.