Faced with barbecue tables and their embedded grills, it's easy to just order some kalbi or bulgogi and cook things yourself inside Do Eat Korean Barbecue, one of several Asian options in Bridgeport. But a pair of noodle dishes, bibim naengmyeon and mul naengmyeon, beckon, especially in summer.
"Mul means water, naengmyeon means noodle, the buckwheat noodle, so mul neangmyeon means cold noodle in water," said Sue Jiang, the restaurant's manager. "The dish is used for the summer."
Buckwheat noodles are the star. Boiled first, then drained and thoroughly washed in cold water to chill them down, they're squeezed of any excess water.
For the mul version, cucumbers are sliced thin, tossed with vinegar, sesame oil and gojugaru, which is Korean chili flakes. The lean brisket is shaved thin, cooked in soy sauce, then chilled immediately with the aid of ice cubes. The seasoned cucumbers and cold, sliced daikon radish are assembled over the cold buckwheat noodles, along with sliced egg, the cooked beef and a bit of fresh, crunchy apple, followed by a chilled beef broth.
EXTRA COURSE: Steve checks out a different type of cold noodle - this one from Japan- at the newly renovated Mitsuwa Market in Arlington Heights
The bibim naengmyeon is a drier version, without the broth. It begins the same way, with cooked, chilled buckwheat noodles, cucumbers and radish, that have been combined with gojuchang, the ubiquitous spicy-sweet and tangy chili sauce found all over Korean menus.
"Vinegar, sesame oil, gochugaru and mix everything and slice cucumber and white radish and put on the top," said Jiang.
Topped with fresh apple, egg and a shake or two of sesame seeds, the dish is brought to the table, where regulars will add two more ingredients before thoroughly mixing everything together.
"When we eat at the table, we'll add some vinegar and yellow mustard and mix together, will make it more tasty," she said.
Do Eat Korean BBQ
3141 S. Halsted St.