A Michelin breakfast for less than $15? This is what you get at Yurimmyeon, a noodle place that has been serving the locals for over 50 years.
Yurimmyeon (Hangu: 儒林麵) is a noodle speciality restaurant from way back. There are only four items on the menu, including naembiguksu (saucepan noodles) and dolnaembi (stone pot noodles) which are great during the winter. In the summer, diners can enjoy memil guksu (buckwheat noodles) or bibim guksu (buckwheat noodles mixed with a spicy chili sauce).
The media exposure and history of this place, naturally, invites mixed crowds; you will see some young couples seated inside, with the rest of the clientele which is a lot older. Despite the age, the restaurant is simple, clean and quite modern — the pinewood furniture is well-arranged while one wooden menu board hangs on one of the walls.
For over 50 years, this family-run eatery founded in 1960 has been serving bowls of noodles to those seeking comforting nourishment. The fresh buckwheat noodles, one of its bestsellers, are made from scratch, daily, using premium salt from Bigeumdo Island in Sinan County, and buckwheat flour from Bongpyeong.
Usually within a minute of you paying for your meal, they’ll bring out their pickled radish (danmooji). Note that this is going to be the only side dish you get no matter what noodle dish or how many noodle dishes you order. You can at least give them credit for making their danmooji in-house so you’re not served that odd neon yellow danmooji from factories.
메밀국수 (Memilguksu) Cold Buckwheat Noodles
If you are imagining zaru soba ざるそば, it is not (even if the menu translated it to be so). Korean buckwheat noodles 메밀 (guksu) are more chewy and remain so even after chilled. The single portion came with two trays of noodles topped with shredded dried seaweed 김 (gim), the soy dashi broth on the side and a basket of chopped scallions.
The guksu has a high level of buckwheat as you can tell by the nutty, somewhat gritty consistency. The buckwheat soy sauce broth 메밀간장 (memilganjang) is homemade as you can tell they’ve used a mix of their own seasonings. It’s refreshing, tasty, and just great for summer. The chopped radish that is usually left on the side for the Japanese style was already added into the ganging.
After trying without the horseradish to savour the original flavour of the ganjang, I was ready to take the experience up a notch with a generous dollop of wasabi 고추냉이 (gochu naeng-i)
Because the sauce had sugar in it, it elevated the sting for the wasabi. Be warned, it could really clear your nose block if you have one.
냄비우동 (Naembi Udon) Saucepan Udon Noodles
This is the dish that was featured on that K-drama, You Who Came From the Stars 來自星星的你 starring Korean heartthrobs Jeon Ji Hyun 全智賢 and Kim Soo Hyun 金秀賢, which probably brought in a major influx of non-Koreans seeking these noodles.
The naembi udon is basically fish cake udon soup. The fish cake soup is joined with plump udon noodles, generous slices of fish cake, mushrooms, some sook, and a perfectly near poached egg on top.
I love my noodles with a liberal amount of scallions and lucky for me, they had plenty for you to add to the noodles from the cold noodles. I must learn the phrase for scallions in Korean or I would have none.
The udon noodles were plump and cooked just right to that chewy consistency with bite. The fish cakes weren’t your cheap fish cakes comprised of mostly wheat and fillers.
This is a must-go place for that traditional Korean noodle experience. The staff do not speak English, but the menu is translated to English/Chinese/Japanese and there are only four items on the menu, so you just need to point and smile. And then you pay before you get your food.
You may miss it from the main round Seosomun-dong. Look out for the tall commercial building along the main road with an Office Depot 오피스디포 on the ground floor. Turn into the lane, and you will see this short building with a red sign that says 50년 전통 유림면 (50 years of tradition Yurimmyeon) amongst the tall skyscrapers. This is the place we are looking for.
139-1 Seosomun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 중구 서소문동 서소문로 139-1
Tel : +82 2-755-0659
Visited Mar 2023
Michelin Seoul Guide Bib Gourmand 2020-2023
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