15 October 2006

arrowroot hits the mark

after finally setting up my blogger, i took a little break from posting. that doesn't mean, however, that i haven't been eating. in fact, the day after providence, i went to one of my new favorites, the koreatown restaurant yu chun.

i was first swept into yu chun by a sea of red devil korean soccer fans. we'd just witnessed their country's elimination from the world cup on k-town's big outdoor tv screen. thousands of people drained into the numerous cafes within walking distance. my buddy suggested this one. little did i know at the time that yu chun is one of the premier places for chilk naeng-myun, korean arrowroot cold noodles. i've been going regularly ever since.

the weather could have been warmer on this particular afternoon, but if you're looking for something light and refreshing, naeng myun is definitely the way to go.

my koreatown contacts tell me that there are several outposts of yu chun in exotic locales as far off as garden grove. this particular one (on alexandria & 6th) might have been family-operated, with grandma making kimchi dumplings at a far table, mom cooking in the back, and daughter as our waitress. at least it seemed that way.

yu chun is a one-dish restaurant. my first time there i tried the spicy naeng myun; which was decent but sans broth, which, i would soon discover, made all the difference in the world. pictured are the vinegar and mustard to dump into your slush.

the banchan soon arrived. nothing mind-blowing, the kimchi was limp and a tad mediocre, but it was enough to hold you over for a few minutes.

time to get down to business. i ordered a naengmyun and galbi combo. arrowroot naengmyun is a little different from the regular buckwheat stuff; it has a darker color and a chewier, stringier consistency than what i was previously used to.

what makes yu chun's naengmyun stand out is... the slush! most places will serve lukewarm cold noodles with a few ice cubes in the bowl; at yu chun, you get a full on slush that pleasantly melts into a flavorful and exceedingly cold broth. noodles swimming in ice floes, i like it a lot.

the galbi. again, nothing spectacular, but it's a good compliment to the naengmyun and gives you that little bit of extra meat to send you home happy. truly, yu chun is a one trick pony specializing in chilk naengmyun. but it's a trick i won't tire of anytime soon.