The past weekend was all about this beauty secretly hiding in Cheonho Sijang (Market) for the past 30 years: Yeolmu Naengmyeon 열무냉면 (Chilled Noodles w Young Radish Kimchi). I ran this traditional market a long, long time ago, but just like many undiscovered places in Seoul, I always make a mental note to come back knowing very well that some of the best-kept secrets are hidden in these markets. And, finally, with warm weather calling for something cold and refreshing, I finally made the short trek to Cheonho Market, which to my surprise, was labeled New Cheonho Market. To be honest, I am not 100% sure they renovated the “old” market or moved to a new spot entirely because the market is still anything but “new” or modern.
After visiting several notable places in the tucked away Naengmyeon Golmok (Noodle Alley), the nod goes to Kkot Jip Naengmyeon 꽃집냉면 run by two friendly emos (aunties) who were more than helpful as I struggled between the three mouthwatering options: original mul naengmyeon (with broth), bibim naengmyeon (spicy sauce), and yeolmu naengmyeon. Having had my fair share of the two common varieties, I went with the yeolmu and loved everything about it. The ramped-up sauce and dongchimi + sagol yuksu broth, when combined thoroughly, are absolutely magical together. Slightly sweet, spicy, briny, tart, and umami-packed. Simply, one of those broths you could easily drink a liter of on a hot summer day. The young radish stems and other pickled/fresh veggies were crisp and refreshing, a nice contrast to the somewhat chewy, starchy noodles.
At 6,000 won for a much-bigger-than-it-looks bowl of naengmyeon, this place will undoubtedly be a haven when summer creeps closer and definitely ranks high on my personal favorite naengmyeon places. If you happen to like cold noodles as much as me, you won’t be disappointed with any of these shops that have been serving the same dishes for many decades.
Note: Besides this noodle alley, the market is home to jokbal golmok (pork trotter alley), a popular spot for people who need meat and drinks in their lives. Check out the next post to see which restaurant serves the best collagen-rich trotters.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars
Kkot Jip Naengmyeon “Flower House Noodles” 꽃집냉면
Cheonho-dong 401-6 천호동 401-6 (Cheonho New Market)
Hours: Open every day from 11:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/Fp0AV4qr