SoCal is hot. In August, downtown Los Angeles reaches about 85 degrees, but with the surrounding concrete in its effort to “revitalize” the city, it feels like an inferno that can almost melt the plastic of this city’s population. In Asia, the weather is sticky, hot and most places lack air conditioning – creating a culture that has a selection of cold noodles to cool down their bodies. The Korean cool down solution is nang myun, a chewy buckwheat noodle in cool beef based broth. However, there exists something better than this concoction- dongchimi gooksu.
LA, known for its Korean BBQ and tofu soup, is the only city in the United States that has perfected this cold noodle dish. My mouth waters just saying the name – dongchimi gooksu. Dong-winter, chimi-kimchi and goosku- noodles. It’s watery cool brine is perfect for summer- tangy, sweet, cool, and with a hint of pepper. The slight fermentation means that this type of brine and kimchi is prime for 2 or 3 days. This noodle dish, is not often found in North American restaurants given its association with rural Korean areas. The one restaurant in LA- Corner Place or in Korean, GilMuk has given a spin on this noodle dish to create a common craving to Koreans and non Koreans alike searching for ways to cool down from the heat. The restaurant owners have a secret recipe in perfecting this dish- as in many kimchi recipes, good kimchi is always a family secret. They don’t even let you take it to go because they don’t want you to figure it out- but my sources say it has something to do with Sprite.
I know what it is about this dish that sends previous eaters simultaneously drooling and crying when I mention I ate it- it’s wishing they could just have some of the broth, closing their eyes and repeating the word to themselves “ahh dongchimi gooksu”. It’s sweating in the hot summer far away from Los Angeles when naeng myun doesn’t cut it….and thinking – “All I want is some dongchimi gooksu….I want it so bad”.
For 4.75 for a small bowl, I guarantee that you will finish the whole bowl and leave happy….but still wanting more. However, the noodles go great with an order of BBQ meat such as beef tongue or beef ribs.
Corner Place/ Gil Muk
2819 West 9th Street, Los Angeles
19100 Gridley Road, Cerritos