I wished the soy dipping sauce had a little more chilly and garlic for that extra level of flavor.
The first time I had these Mul Neng Myun (buckwheat noodle in cold broth) years ago, it left a bad taste, so I’ve never gave them a second try. When the manager insisted (this is one of their specialties), I swallowed my doubts and gave it a slurp. To my surprise, I found a new appreciation for them. Its originally a very popular winter dish in North Korea. Apparently the pieces of shimmering “ice” floating on the surface isn’t your usual ice. This is made from a cold beef broth. Traditionally, the beef broth is “naturally fermented” without refrigeration, bringing it back and forth from indoor and outdoor during the cold winter months. This gives it that desired sourness. But being in the States, of course that isn’t health department approved, so here at Shilla, they add a little vinegar instead.
Their thin white buckwheat noodle are freshly made in house, the waitress urged us to dig in as soon as it arrived. She broke them apart meticulously and served us along with the tangy iced broth. Side of asian mustard was optional. The noodles itself were great, really bouncy, with a slight chewiness and unlike regular egg noodles, these were light and refreshing. The mustard acted as wasabi and gave it a nice little punch between slurps of noodle and sips of soup. The stainless steel bowl kept the temperature low. It had a couple julienned vegetables, boiled egg and a piece of cold beef, but honestly, the noodle was the star and I forgot about the rest. I’m pretty sure I won’t be craving this in any zero degree weather, but summer is around the corner and this would be a great way to slurp the heat away.
Oh yeah, look at all that juice and caramelized coating. Sorry, I’m drooling again, how unlady like of me. I apologize, glad you can’t see me right now.
Bi Bim Bap is one of those dishes that crosses all languages and palates. Everyone can enjoy mixed vegetables over rice with beef and egg. The trick is to mix the raw egg really quickly and then wait patiently for the crust like crunchy rice all around the hot stone bowl, at least that’s how I like it. Love that brown worm like mountain vegetable, it reminds me of some of our best meals in Seoul.
I’m glad I have a new place to eat at from now on. And lunch specials are around $10. How I wished I worked around there.
P.S. Chubby’s RATING:
37 West 32nd Street