You-Chun Korean Restaurant – Palisades Park , NJ
May be it was the return of the hot weather or perhaps it was because it was Father’s Day, but the place was packed when we returned for another bowl of the arrowroot neng meun. Unlike the previous visits, the piped in music was much too loud and the patrons too were loud but busily enjoying the cold noodles.
When we were shown our table, we noticed everyone seemed to have ordered besides the cold noodles, haemul pajun the seafood pancake. In hindsight we should but instead ordered the LA kalbi, short ribs. However, the chil neng meun did not disappoint. Besides the soup, there were chilled icy chunks of soup floating sort of slushy. When the waiter/waitress asks you whether you want the noodles cut (using scissor) or not, tell him you don’t. Often times you lose the real flavor and texture of the noodle when the noodles are cut and cut too short. The noodles were al dente as as they should.
In a basin of cold soup, noodles, sliced cucumbers, and seasoned radish strips these items were placed on top: white sesame seeds whole and powered, cooked egg half, and kkochu jang, spicy red pepper paste which had hints of garlic. I wish I had taken a photo of this magnificent presentation butI was hesitant to do so and make a scene. As the sign on the wall suggests, unlike traditional neng meun, you do not use shik cho vinegar, but gyeja mustard is acceptable and you will understand once you slurp the cold soup before sinking your teeth into the arrowroot noodles. Although neng meun, literally “cold noodle,” is thought to be more suitable during summer and deemed to be a summer dish, it tastes much better in winter. Traditionally this is often the prefererred winter fare in northern Korea.
Mool neng meun “water cold noodle” costs $9.95 and so is the bibim neng meun “mixed cold noodle” same as mool except no soup. The whe neng meun noodle with sashimi, with piece of skate on top costs $11.95. They also have a “petitie noodle” a smaller versions of above for $6.95. The previously mentioned LA kalbi comes with roasted garlic which actually loses its bitterness once they come out of the oven. The kalbi is $13.95. All the menu items seemed to have gone up by a buck or so since our last visit which was only a few months ago, in the dead of winter of course! Oh and the humongous haemul pajun which was literally bigger than the plate that it came in is only $9.95 which is cheap. Other restaurants in the town normally charge $12.95 and up for this dish.
Looking at the back of the business card, I noticed it lists their Texas branch in Dallas. The NJ location is the 1st branch outside of Korea and there is another one at 156-03 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, NY. The telephone number is (718) 461-6511.