Yes, barbecue gets all the shine in Korean cuisine. But what about lunch? You’re not going to do three rounds of marinated wang kalbi and take advantage of the “buy 12 bottles of soju and get the 13th ‘service'” deal on a weekday afternoon, are you?
That’s where Korean noodles come in. They’re fast, they’re delicious, and won’t get you fired for stumbling into the office drunk. Korean cuisine has elevated the humble noodle in unique ways, set apart from your greasy stir-fries and unctuous pork broths. To experience Korean noodles is to engage with a staggering breadth of flavors, from the sweet umami in a bowl of Korean Chinese jajangmyeon (black soybean paste noodles), to the spicy bouillabaisse of a jjampong, to savory, steaming kalguksu (knife-cut noodles in clear broth) and beyond.
After reading up and eating up at some of these noodle spots, you can finally be that person in the group who says (with a touch of indignation): “You know there’s more to Korean food than grilled meat and alcohol, right?” And then you’d be right — for the most part.