5 Korean Dishes to Tame the Summer Heat
1) Cold Noodle 물냉면 Mool-naeng-myeon
Crispy thin layer of ice and the chewy, I’d sometimes say “stubborn” noodles make a great combination to beat the violent early August sun in Korea. Naeng-myeon is known to be a great diet food because it’s low in cholesterol and fat. There is also a version of this ice noodle that doesn’t have the soup called “Bibim Naeg-myeon.” The noodle itself is the same, but instead of the soup there is a paste/sauce you mix the noodle with. Be cautious when you’re ordering the soup-less version because it can be very, very spicy.
2) Hot chicken stew 삼계탕 Sam-gye-tang
It’s counter intuitive to eat something hot when it’s 40 degrees outside, but in Korea, there’s a saying – “이열치열” 以熱治熱 (yi yeol qi yeol) – which basically means you tame the heat with heat. So this brewed-for-three-hours chicken in a burning hot stone pot is one of the most popular summer meals. There is even days called 복날 (Bok-nal),the upcoming one being on the 12th of August, where Koreans would eat Sam-gye-tang to fight the heat.
3) Red Bean Shaven Ice 팥빙수 Pat-bing-su
You’ll see this dessert being sold everywhere in Korea during summer, it’s like the ice-cream of Korea. Though I have no statistics to back this up, I won’t be surprised if the sales of pat-bingsu surpasses sales of ice-cream in Korea. Well, scratch that. Actually Pat-bingsu these days add ice-cream like cherry on cake so maybe they’re complements. Anyways, there’s even a song about Pat-Bingsu in Korea (yong-joon shin’s Patbingsu Song 팥빙수송), attesting to its popularity.
4) Water kimchi 물김치 Mul-kimchi
There are several different versions of water kimchi which I will not go over here, but it’s usually more popular among youngster and elder who prefer a lighter taste over a strong flavor. I prefer the white cabbage water kimchi. It’s a bit sour like pickle
5) Cold Soybean Noodle 냉콩국수 Naeng-Kong-Guksu
This is probably my personal favorite on this list because I like tofu and it’s basically grind tofu+noodle . “Authentic” soybean noodle is made of grind beans but these days, because of time and all, many places grind tofu into the mixer instead. It’s known to be very good for women because of its high concentration of collagen. It can be a bit bland if eaten alone, so make sure to pair it with your favorite kimchi.