Image by KnowingKorea

A guide to finding the best Pyeongyang Naengmyeon in Seoul

by KnowingKorea

Naengmyeon is a Korean dish composed of noodles in a cold, meaty broth. Easily one of the most popular dishes among Koreans seeking a way to cool down during the hot summer, the best naengymeon is traditionally found in the North Korean capital of Pyeongyang, but as few people are able to visit the country, especially South Koreans, they must instead settle for restaurants serving Pyeongyang-style naengmyeon in Seoul. Fortunately, with many North Koreans having escaped South during the Korean War, or defecting in the 65 years since, and bringing their knowledge and love of naengmyeon with them, there is no shortage of choice.

Originally founded by a North Korean defector and now run by his son, Eulmildae (을밀대) boasts incredibly long lines cementing it as the number one naengmyeon restaurant in Seoul. Dongmu Bapsang (동무밥상), too, was also founded not only by a North Korean defector, but specifically an ex-chef of Okryugwan (옥류관), one of the most famous naengmyeon-serving restaurants in Pyeongyang itself.

Euljimyeonok (을지면옥), too, is one of the most popular and famous naengmyeon restaurants in Korea providing the quintessential Pyeongyang naengymeong experience. The same also owns Pildongmyeonok (필동면옥), where they sell delicious North Korea-style dumplings not available at Euljimyeonok. Similarly, Pyeongyangmyeonok (평양면옥) is also popular for the incredible dumplings and dumpling soup served with their naengmyeon.

Some of the oldest Pyeongyang naengmyeon restaurants in Seoul were founded all the way back in the 1960s, and include Seobukmyeonok (서북면옥), known for their uniquely chewy noodles, and Buwon Myeonok (부원면옥), known for their strong taste and soft texture, as well as being sweeter than traditional Pyeongyang naengmyeon.

Yujinsikdang (유진식당) is another long-existing restaurant which may look shabby at first look, but if you refuse to judge the book by its cover you can enjoy delicious naengymeon with distinctly darker, less salty noodles. Conversely, if you prefer something more high-end, you can visit Uraeok (우래옥), which is also famous for several other delicious Korean dishes.

Other famous Pyeongyang naengmyeon includes the clear broth and thick, rough noodles at Junginmyeonok (정인면옥), the soft easily broken down noodles at Neung Ra Do (능라도), Pyeongraeok (평래옥) with their delicious seasoned chicken side-dish, Bongpiyang (봉피양) which also offers delicious pork ribs, and Nampomyeonok (남포면옥) where you can also enjoy the pleasant experience of eating in a traditional Korean house.