This is quite possibly the best bowl of makguksu (buckwheat noodles) during my time in Korea, which is saying a lot since I‘ve had my share of great makguksu while living in Gangwondo. And little did I expect to find it on one of my cycling trips across the countryside, this time in Yeoju.
Basic makguksu is similar to naengmyeon, but due to the higher ratio of buckwheat noodles to starch, the noodles are grainier and “rougher.” It’s a texture befitting the mountainous landscape where they are grown, most notably in Bongpyeong. And just like naengmyeon, two standard varieties will usually be on the menu: mul (“water”) and bibim (“mixed” with sauce). Here at Ipo Soondubu Makguksu, they ingeniously serve their makguksu with strips of gajami sikhae (fermented flatfish), giving each bite a nice contrast of taste and texture like no other. It’s slightly chewy and fibrous, but it goes perfectly with the softer, earthier noodles. Absolutely delicious and perfect fuel for cycling.
Although it took me two hours to bike here, it was absolutely worth the trip! I brought along a good friend on the second visit and together we inhaled their other specialties like dweji pyeonyuk (boiled pork) and soondubu (housemade tofu). I had the makguksu alone on my first visit, but together with the tender pieces of pork, it was the perfect combination that left me speechless. If you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to stop by this special restaurant serving a knockout meal that’s also easy on the wallet (21,000 won).
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ipo Soondubu Makguksu 이포순두부막국수
Chunseo-ri 617-17, Daeshin-myeon, Yeoju (경기 여주시 대신면 천서리 617-17)
Hours: Open every day 11:00 am ~ 8:00 pm, closed on the 1st and 3rd week of Wednesdays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/FVfln6r9