Soy and Noodle Soup 밥보다 국시

Recently a very dear Canadian friend returned to Korea to visit and she was missing kongguksu (콩국수) like crazy so we took her out into the countryside for some of the best 콩국수 around. It’s a little silly to be blogging about this in the winter since it’s actually hard to find right now, but there are times this is what we are desperate to eat and this particular restaurant has it year round.

If you are vegetarian or don’t eat spicy food, then you need to know about this delicious soup. It’s made from soy beans and is mild and flavorful. It’s generally considered a summer soup since it’s usually served cold, but at this restaurant it’s served year round. It’s important to note that not ALL 강국수 is vegetarian and non-spicy. For example, I chose to have the squid, spicy version. If you are a vegetarian you might want to clarify that you don’t eat “seafood or meat” – 나는 해산물이나 고기를 먹지 않는다 so that you get the version made only with the beans. At this restaurant, you will need to ask them to remove the egg that comes on top.

This particular restaurant is one of the most popular places in all of Pyeongtaek for this dish. It’s very traditional with a simple menu and floor seating. Their side dishes are minimal and they put their efforts into their noodles and soups. The soup here has especially good noodles and the bean broth is very smooth and flavorful. You can tell they pay attention to the quality of their beans. It’s somehow both light and rich at the same time. Very earthy and soothing.

In addition to the kongguksu (콩국수) they also have a few other seafood based noodle soups. We like all of them.

영양콩국수 – Nutritious Soy Bean Noodles
어죽국수 – Spicy Reduced Fish Broth and Noodles
맑은국수 – Seafood in Clear Broth with Noodles
물만두 – Small Mandu

For those that are new to Korean food we are gong to break down the aspects of the dish you might find a little hard to appreciate at first. We find that knowing ahead of time how the food is a bit different than you may expect can help you appreciate it more the first time you try it. For example, the first time we tried this dish we actually didn’t know what we were ordering and when it arrived without meat and not spicy we were disappointed. It took maybe a year before we tried it again. The second time we tried it, we knew what to expect and deeply enjoyed it. Now it’s something we crave. With that said, here are the elements of kongguksu that might surprise your pallet:

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  • 1) very light in flavor and you will be expected to add your own level of sea salt 
  • 2) because it’s ground beans it has a sort of chalky texture 
  • 3) it’s cold  
  • 4) it doesn’t have meat

If you are prepared for these differences you will be in the right frame of mind to enjoy this soup.

Bonus: If you think this sounds delicious and would like to make it at home, here is a recipe from Maangchi

Now it’s time to go try them all and leave your reviews in the South of Seoul app. Just go the app, open the listing, and click the star in the banner. You can tell us all what you thought. Remember to include useful tips like where you parked, if they had chairs for kids, or other details you found important. Reviews help us build a beautiful life together. One Star reviews with no explanation may be rejected.
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