Homemade Bibim Naengmyeon (Korean Spicy Cold Noodles)
Naengmyeon refers to a Korean-style recipe of spicy cold noodles made with buckwheat flour, served at a cool temperature. These chewy noodles served with naengmyeon sauce make one of the most popular summer dishes in Korea. Follow my step-by-step instructions to learn how to make this authentic bibim naengmyeon Korean noodle dish and sauce at home.
I spent very good time both in Korea and U.S last month. Upon my return from the summer break, I would like to treat you with a very cool summer noodle dish of Korea; “Naengmyeon“, the Korean spicy cold noodles.
What does nangmyeon mean in Korean
Nangmyeon means “cold noodles” in Korean. There are two kinds.
- With spicy sauce that you mix together — Bibim Naengmyeon)
- Or with icy broth — Mul Naengmyeon.
While bibim nangmyeon usually tops with slightly sweet and spicy sauce, mul nangmyeon is like a cold noodle soup served in tangy mustardy meat broth. They both are popular noodles to be eaten during hot summer season in Korea.
Today I am going to share with you the Bibim Naengmyeon recipe.
What types of noodles are used in nangmyeon
Korean nangmyeon noodles are made with buckwheat flour and it’s a common Korean pantry staples for Korean cooking.
Although most people relates buckwheat noodles to soba noodles, but the texture of both noodles are completely different. Korean nangmyeon noodles have more chewy and slightly rubbery texture to the bite than Japanese soba noodles.
Check my soba noodle recipe for a comparison. And don’t get mixed up with Dangmyeon, which is the main ingredients for the famous Japchae (Korean glass noodles), either.
Most of nangmyeon noodles will have some wheat flour added, because noodles made with only buckwheat will break so easily (They won’t hold their shape). They contain more of sweet potato starch and wheat flour than the Japanese soba.
Also the color of nangmyeon noodles varies depending on the types of buckwheat as well. The darker the color, the more of outer skin of buckwheat are used.
Homemade Bibim Nangmyeon Sauce
There is nothing that can be disappointing than having a bad naengmyeon with terrible sauce. Just like any Korean noodle recipes, good Korean naengmyeon has to comes with a good bibim sauce.
Don’t be scared by the list of all the ingredients. You can whip up this sauce quite fast, but it needs to be prepared ahead of time to chill, from 20 minutes up to 1-2 days ahead, so that the flavor will incorporate and mature.
Get ready for the spicy paradise!!!
This is how Koreans fight the heat of scorching summer — although some Koreans enjoy eating boiling hot Korean soups and stews to beat the heat.
Ingredients for Korean bibim nangmyeon sauce
These devoted crews are ready to work.
- Savory ingredients — onion, ginger, garlic
- Sweetener — Pineapple (either fresh or canned), apple, honey, brown sugar
- Flavoring ingredients — soy sauce, Korean chili flakes, dijon mustard (or Korean mustard), sesame oil
- First, mix 1/2 cup water with 1/4 cup soy sauce and bring to quick boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Put diced apple, onion, garlic, and pineapple in a blender and process until velvety smooth. You can add a little bit of water or pineapple juice (if using canned) to help blending. I used fresh pineapple but you can use canned. You only need about 3 slices.
- Return to your soy sauce in a pot, add the fruit mixture, chili flakes, sugar and other sauce ingredients. Mix well.
- Add more water or pineapple juice if you prefer thinner consistency. Don’t forget to sprinkle some of my love.., the toasted sesame seeds.
Mature the sauce in advance
Now transfer the sauce in a container and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to mature. 1-2 days will be more desirable. This sauce can last in the fridge for couple of month. You can use it to any type of noodles, or even use in spicy Korean vegetable salads. I made Korean cucumber salad with this sauce and it tasted awesome.
Preparation for noodle toppings
- Peel off the radish, and cut off about 2″ long and slice as thin as your human capability allows you. Thinner than 1/8″ if you can.
- Add 1 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp vinegar to the radish slices and toss well. Set aside for 20-30 minutes to wilt. We are making a quick radish pickle.
- Rinse with water briefly, and squeeze out gently to remove the water. Set aside.
- Cut a cucumber in half lengthwise and scrape off the seeds in the center with a spoon.
- Slice diagonally about 1/8″ thin. Set aside.
How to cook Korean nangmyeon noodles
- Boil water and add the Naengmyeon noodles.
- Cook for 4 minutes or follow the package direction for the cooking time. You will see the water becomes very cloudy. You want to stir the noodles often so that they don’t stick together.
- Rinse your noodles in the cold water. Ice water is even better. Rinse until you don’t see any more starch water coming out from the noodles.
- Place noodles in a large bowl and top with sauce, about 2-3 tablespoonful. Top with the radish, cucumber, and boiled egg sliced in half.
How to serve bibim nangmyeon
To serve, just mix the noodles with the sauce.
But in order to mix well, this is what some people do in Korea. (Although a true nangmyeon mania won’t like this method)
- Cut noodles 2-3 times with a pair of scissor. That way it is easy to mix and won’t choke you with a long strand of noodle as you eat.
- Some people like to add couple of ice cubes in a bowl to keep the noodles cold. But it can dilute the sauce as you eat.
Beat the summer heat with the other type of heat. It’s so spicy hot, that you will forget how hot it is outside. You gotta love the Korean way of keeping up with the summer.
More noodle recipes
Summer is a great season for noodles. Here are a few of my favorite noodles recipes that I enjoy during the hot season.
- Easy Japchae Recipe (Korean Glass Noodles)
- Korean Noodles with Beef Sauce
- Hong Kong Style Cantonese Pan-Fried Noodles
- One Pot Korean Noodles and Vegetables
- Light Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen)
Homemade Bibim Naengmyeon (Korean Spicy Cold Noodles)
- 1 package Korean nangmyeon noodles
- 1 Asian cucumber, cut in half, seeded and thinly sliced diagonally
- 4 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
For quick pickled radish
- 1/2 Korean radish or daikon radish, cut into 1/2-inch wide, 2-inch long thin strips
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp vinegar
For bibim sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 apple, peeled and diced
- 1/2 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 3 slices pineapple, same volume as apple or 3 rings of canned pineapple
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp water or pineapple juice
- 1 cup Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tsp Korean mustard or Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- To make the sauce, combine 1/2 cup water and soy sauce in a pan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a blender combine apple, onion, pineapple and garlic, add the 3 tablespoon water or pineapple juice (if using canned pineapple) puree until smooth.
- Return to the soy sauce in a pan, add the fruit puree and the rest of the sauce ingredients. Mix well. Add a little more water if you prefer your sauce thinner. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes up to 1 day before using.
- For the quick pickled radish, toss the radish strips with salt, sugar and vinegar and set aside for 20 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out extra moisture.
- To cook noodles, boil water in a pot and add noodles and cook according to package directions. Stir often so they don’t stick together. Drain and rinse the noodles with very cold water.
- To serve, place desired amount of noodles in a large bowl and top with 2-3 tablespoonful of bibim sauce. Place cucumber and pickled radish slices on top, and egg.
- To help with serving, cut noodles with a pair of scissor 2-3 times and mix well with sauce and toppings. Enjoy!
This was really good, I loved the heat. But now I’ve got two cups.of the sauce left over, any suggestions for what to do with it?
Use to sauce up any types of noodles – rice noodles, wheat noodles, vermicelli, etc. You can even toss with ramen noodles (without the seasoning powder), too. Top with some sliced cucumber and a hard boiled egg, and you have a simple noodle meal in no time since you have the sauce ready.
Loved the recipe! My fiancé wants the cold ice soup broth to mix with it. Would you mind sharing the recipe for that as well? I’m having trouble finding a recipe he likes it paired with.
I tried this wonderful recipe yesterday and it was delicious, like all of your recipes I cooked so far.
Now I’ve got a question about the soba noodles. When I opened the package I found a couple of sachets containing maybe 3-4 tablespoons of a liquid of light orange color. As all the descriptions are in Korean I have no idea how to use it. Could it be used as an additional sauce to your spicy goodness? Or is it a helper for the lazy cook and thought to be used as the only sauce?
And I got another question. I was finally able to find some frozen Eomuk / 어묵. Here, too, they added some spice. It is a small sachet with a reddish powder. Could it be, that I need to dissolve it in water to make some spicy sauce? Or is it to sprinkle over the Eomuk, because I found no numbers indicating an amount of liquid to use?
Vague questions, I know, but I hope you’ll have a way to help me.
The sachet might be the sauce that comes with the noodles. But I am curious why it is light orange in color. Usually complimentary sauce in the package for this noodle is usually deep in red color. Have you checked the expiration date?
The reddish powder might be the mild chili powder that you can sprinkle directly over your 어묵soup. Taste it fist to see if it is edible to make sure, though. 🙂
Glad to hear that you got some Korean cooking going on! Happy eating!
Yes, I checked the date and it is fine. If I decifer the looking like handwritten letters correctly the name of the liquid should be 냉면 용 육수.
I will try the powder by sprinkling it on the Eomuk and you’ll here from my self-experiment in case I survive it, OK?
Oops, that should be *decipher of course. (Sometimes I’m just too lazy or too distracted by my kids to check the dictionary and see the obvious mistakes too late.)
Had this for supper and it was delicious! Great recipe.
Hey! Your recipe looks absolutely yummy~ I will try making it very soon!
The sauce must be made one or two days before being eaten right? Should we keep it in the fridge after making it?
Yes, keep the sauce in the fridge.
How do you get the noodles to be chewy? I’ve tried doing as you said with rinsing in ice water but it never comes out as chewy as when I get them at restaurant. Do I let it sit in the fridge? Also the noodles tend to clump up. How do I keep it from sticking together?
Can you use gochu jang as well for the sauce?
You can, but I highly recommend to use the chili powder instead. Paste will bring different texture to the sauce.
한국전통음식을 소개하면서 소바라고 설명하는 것은 부적절하다고 봅니다. 냉면은 이북지방 고유 음식이고 일본소바와 얼마나 관련이 있는지는 의문입니다.
영문판 위키에서 냉면을 검색해봐도 소바라는 단어는 보이지 않습니다. 삭제 또는 정정 부탁드립니다.
의견 감사합니다. 그렇군요, 소바는 일본말이라 냉면으로 표현하기는 적절하지않군요. 정정하겠습니다.
This looks wonderful! Lovely pics, as always, and a great recipe. I’ll definitely be trying this!
That sauce sounds amazing! I’m definitely going to make it once I get my hands on some pineapple! I love the chewy texture of the noodles.
wow… i bet that sauce is nuthin like the little packets you get with the prepacked Naengmyeon you get at the k.market 🙂 i gotta give it a try!
This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it! I love Beyond Kimchee!! Keep up the great work!!
Welcome back! Sounds like you had a great vacation. But no matter how much fun a vacation is, I, too, always enjoy returning home. Particularly if I have a dish like this to look forward to! What a great recipe. I love pasta and I love spicy, so this sounds wonderful. Great flavors, and pretty easy to make – what could be better?
I am visiting where I grew up right now.
.Funny how it used to be home and great place to visit, but Florida is home now. I love your step by step your photos.are great!..I so want to try this…I might have to ease up on the heat a bit though.
Welcome home! I love this recipe — so unusual and exotic, but still somehow comfort food. And pineapple is a surprise ingredient! I can’t wait to try this.
Thanks Ann. Pineapple adds nice flavor to the sauce without tasting any. Hope you can give this a try.
What stunning pictures. Cold noodles are all I eat nowadays. Too hot to have anything else! Thanks for the bibim naengmyun recipe. I always eat the packaged ones, but now I know.
Thanks Mabel. I guarantee this spicy Naengmyeon will beat your summer heat. Tastes far much better than the package kind.
I love this! I was never a big fan of nengmyon when I lived in Korea but now I love it! Funny how my appetite changes overtime! This looks fabulous.
Believe me, my appetite changes every day. Naengmyeon is great dish to turn up the lost appetite.
I totally agree with the sentiment that home’s the best. Thanks for posting all the step by step photos, korean food is one of my favourite, this recipe looks so delicious, time to visit my favourite korean restaurant soon. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Yes, Korean food is my favorite too. Thanks for stopping by!
I tried this once and simply loved the texture of the noodle and the ultra spicy sauce 🙂 Certainly a great dish for a place like Malaysia where its summer all year round. Thanks for the recipe Holly! I hope you had great vacation.
Hi swan, good to hear from you. Of course I believe any Malaysian can handle the spicy Korean sauce. Just perfect match!