Monday, July 27, 2009

A cool dish for a hot day

Sagging a bit under today's heat and humidity, I stopped by Homung Nangmyun, a Korean cold-noodle house, to chill with one of their signature dishes. The place was packed and I had to wait 15 minutes for a shared table.

I ordered a regular-size bibim nangmyun ($10.95), traditional buckwheat noodles in a hot and spicy house sauce. First I received three side dishes -- radish kimchi, salad and stewed potatoes -- and a small thermos with hot, milky beef-bone broth. The Korean merchant sharing my table explained the broth would warm my stomach against the shock of the cold noodles.

The waitress used a scissor to cut the long, bundled noodle strands before she set down my bowl. The noodles, which resemble angel hair pasta, are garnished with half of a boiled egg, some boiled beef and thin-sliced cucumber and radish kimchi. Slurping is encouraged. After my cool meal, I felt pleasantly full and my lips tingled.

The cold-noodle house is in Closter Commons, a shopping center on Piermont Road in Closter, near other Korean businesses: bakery, nail and hair salons, spa, rice-cake house and barber, which is where I got my hair cut and vacuumed before lunch. Yes, every haircut includes a vacuuming of your head -- a combination massage and cleaning of stray hairs. (This post has been revised.)

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