[Non-halal] Here’s our favourite noodle dish in Seoul! In business since 1966, Myeongdong Kyoja specialises in noodle and dumpling dishes, with only four items on their menu.
We enjoyed the Kalguksu (knife-cut noodles in soup) so much that we ate here twice during our recent trip to Seoul.
[Dec 2022 Update: Myeongdong Kyoja is listed on our Top Nine Meals of 2022 list. Click here to read the article]
Myeongdong Kyoja in Seoul
Operating within the busy streets of the Myeongdong neighbourhood, Myeondong Kyoja (MK) is a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
Since we chose to stay in Myeongdong, the restaurant is only a 3-minute walk from our hotel.
If you are planning a trip to Myeongdong, we highly recommend checking out MK.
In fact, the Kalguksu at this restaurant was recommended by our favourite Korean food Youtuber Chubro.
Michelin Bib Gourmand
MK is well-acclaimed as it is recognised as a Bib Gourmand restaurant in the Michelin Guide from 2017-2022.
MK opens at 10.30 am daily, but we’ve always seen a queue in front of the main store just before it opens.
However, don’t get discouraged as the main store has three floors of dining space, and service is prompt.
There is also a sister restaurant on the same road, which offers more seats.
Only four items on the menu
MK offers only four items on their menu – the popular Kalguksu (KRW10,000 or USD6.90), dumplings (KRW11,000), Bibimguksu (KRW10,000) and Kong-guksu (KRW11,000).
We love a simple menu, as it usually means special attention is given to all the dishes.
The procedure here is simple – after being seated, you’ll promptly make your order and make payment. We arrived just after they opened for both visits – and waited approximately 10-minutes before our dishes arrived.
Special garlic kimchi
Chubro made special mention to try their special Garlic Kimchi, which comes as a free side dish.
Compared to most kimchi we’ve eaten, we did find MK’s kimchi to be remarkably special with the abundant use of garlic.
MK also uses dried red chillies from Andong and sun-dried salt from Sinan to make its kimchi.
The kimchi is considered less fermented as the cabbages are soaked in salt water and spices, and is only refrigerated for a day.
This results in kimchi with a lovely sweetness at the start before the prominent garlic taste kicks in. Finally, the strong heat from the chilli comes at the end.
If you love garlic and spicy stuff, you’ll enjoy the kimchi here.
Kalguksu, so good!
And here’s our favourite dish at MK – the Kalguksu, literally called knife-cut noodles.
The noodles here are made fresh daily by cutting the dough using a knife and served in chicken broth.
We enjoyed this noodle dish a lot! The noodles were soft and slippery smooth with a good bite.
However, the chicken broth really stood out as it was flavourful with deep umami from the chicken essence. It was slightly smoky and peppery with a lovely sweetness from caramelised onions. We have not tasted any broth in KL similar to this, so we really enjoyed its unique flavour.
The noodles are served with some dumplings, minced meat and ear fungus for a bit of earthy flavour.
You could also request for a bowl of rice to add to the remaining kalguksu broth after finishing the noodles. Then, you could eat it as a gukbap (rice in soup) dish – so the tasty broth does not go to waste.
Mandu, do me good!
The Mandu (Korean dumplings) are the next popular dish to order here.
For KRW11,000, we received 10 warm dumplings served in a steamer basket.
Compared to the Chinese-style dumplings that we are used to, the dumplings here are huge and plump.
Max enjoyed the dumplings as they were stuffed with minced pork and chives, with skin that is sufficiently thin. However, Ming thought the dumplings lacked sufficient flavour, especially when compared to the KL and Taiwanese versions.
We also enjoyed the refreshing Bibimguksu (spicy cold noodles) here.
Compared with most bibimguksu dishes, the noodles here have a deep green hue as the wheat dough was mixed with chlorella.
The noodles have a good al-dente bite, and are very appetising when mixed with the gochujang-based paste.
When mixed together, the noodle dish had a good balance of garlicky notes, spiciness and nuttiness from the sesame seeds. The sliced cucumber helped to brighten up the dish.
On our second visit, we tried the Kong-guksu – which is noodles served in cold soybean-based soup.
Compared to the other two noodle dishes, we found the dish to be lacking in flavour, as we found the soybean flavour to be mild.
Kong-guksu is a dish typically eaten in summer – so this was not particularly enjoyable in the chilly autumn month of September.
Overall, we really recommend checking out Myeongdong Kyoja!
The Kalguksu here is truly the best noodle dish we ate during our Seoul trip.
Max recommends trying the Mandu and Bibimguksu (although not as mind-blowingly good as the Kalguksu) but skip the Kong-goksu unless you are yearning for a cold dish on a hot summer day.
Ming’s picks, however, are to stick purely to the Kalguksu and Bibimguksu.
Address: 29 Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Hours: 10.30am-9pm Daily
Phone: +82 2-776-5348
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