Naengmyeon is the ultimate Korean summer dish, and this spicy version called Bibim Naengmyeon is hands down, my all-time FAVORITE noodle dish in the entire world! It’s spicy, sweet, tangy, and sooo refreshing during the summer.
“Bibim” means mixed and “Naengmyeon” means cold noodles. Naengmyeon originated in North Korea. The noodles are made from buckwheat, arrowroot, and/or potato starch, and there are different kinds of Naengmyeon noodles that have different ratios of these ingredients.
The non-spicy version is called mul-naengmyeon and I posted my recipe for it here. Between these two, I definitely prefer Bibim Naengmyeon!
Naengmyeon- I highly recommend getting chik-naengmyeon (칡 냉면). More on this below.
Beef & broth- making a good beef broth for Naengmyeon is so easy- just dump all the ingredients into your instant pot and pressure cook it for 40 minutes. You need brisket, onion, garlic, Korean radish, green onion bulbs, black peppercorns, water, and dasida. Dasida is Korean beef bouillon. This broth will go into the spicy bibim sauce, and the brisket is our protein for the dish.
*To make this vegetarian or vegan, just leave out beef ingredients, sub for a mushroom bouillon, and omit the egg.
Spicy bibim sauce- this spicy, tangy, slightly sweet sauce is SO good. You’ll need Asian pear, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, beef broth, salt, sugar, rice syrup,gochujang, and gochugaru (Korean pepper paste & flakes). You can make this in bulk and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Icy beef/dongchimi broth- this is the same broth that I made for my mul-naengmyeon recipe. You don’t need this part! You can totally skip it if you want. You can also use the icy broth packets that come with naengmyeon.
Toppings- sliced cucumbers, Asian pear, crushed sesame seeds, hard boiled egg, and brisket slices. Definitely do not skip the Asian pear- it’s really good with Bibim Naengmyeon!
There are a few types of Naengmyeon noodles and if texture is a big deal to you, then these distinctions might be important.
The more popular Pyeongyang style Naengmyeon is made with buckwheat. These noodles aren’t as chewy and would probably suit the taste of most people. I like buckwheat noodles but for neangmyeon, these are not my favorite.
I like chik-naengmyeon (칡 냉면) the best for any type of naengmyeon dish. This type of noodle is chewier and darker than the more popular Pyeongyang style naengmyeon. Instead, this one is made with more arrowroot starch.
These noodles are chewy, and I mean really chewy! Sometimes it’s so chewy that its a bit difficult to cut through them with your teeth when you are slurping away. But, to me this is a good thing! That texture is key.
You can make the sauce ahead of time or in bulk and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. I think it actually starts to taste better after a couple of days. During the summer, I keep a lot of bibim sauce ready in my fridge for quick lunches. You can use this for bibim guksu & bibimbap too.
To make this vegan, use water and mushroom bouillon instead of beef broth. Soaking some dried shiitake mushrooms and using the water will also work.
If you’re making this without beef but you’re not vegan/vegetarian, you can just use dasida and water for the beef broth portion of the recipe.
Bibim Naengmyeon (Korean Spicy Cold Noodles)
- 1 lb brisket
- 1/4 lb Korean radish
- 1/2 small onion
- 4 green onions bulbs (white parts)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp dashida (beef bouillon)
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 4 cups water
- Or make the quick version: 1/4 cup hot water + 1/4 tsp dashed (beef bouillon)
- 1/4 cup beef broth (from above)
- 1/4 Asian pear
- 1/4 small onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp fresh ginger
- 3-4 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
- 2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 2 tbsp rice syrup
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- brisket slices
- thinly sliced cucumbers
- Asian pear slices
- hard boiled egg
- crushed sesame seeds
- Soak the brisket in cold water for 30 minutes
- Put the brisket in a instant pot with the garlic, onion, green onion bulb, Korean radish, black peppercorns, and dashida. Pressure cook for 40 minutes.*If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can just boil for 2-3 hours on medium but you'll need to add water as needed.
- Strain the broth
- Remove as much fat as you can for a nice clean broth. I used a fat seperator.
- When you cut the Asian pear, make sure to cut out the center where the core/seeds are because that part is bitter. Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth. Taste and make adjustments as needed. I like my sauce really spicy, tangy, and a little bit sweet.
Prepare the toppings:
- Thinly slice the cucumber.
- Once the brisket has cooled thinly slice against the grain.
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind down the sesame seeds
- To hard boil an egg: bring a pot of water to a boil then add a splash of vinegar. Carefully drop the egg into the boiling water and set the timer for 12 minutes. Get an ice bath ready in the meantime. Immediately put the egg into the ice bath after boiling and let it sit for about a minute.
- Thinly slice the Asian pear or cut into matchsticks, whichever you prefer. These will oxidize quickly so either place them in cold sugar water before using it, or wait until the last minute to cut them.
Cook the noodles:
- If you can find this brand, get it! This one was my favorite for texture and flavor. Boil the noodles for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Watch the noodles closely because they are very porous and will cook quickly.
- When the noodles are almost done, quickly drain and rinse under ice cold water. Remove as much starch as you can, but try not to keep them under water for too long because they are so porous that they will continue to get softer even in cold water.
- Build your bowl immediately- do not let naengmyeon noodles sit out too long because the texture will change. Top the noodles with the bibim sauce, brisket, cucumber, Asian pear, egg, & crushed sesame seeds. Pour in the icy broth (if using) & enjoy
Optional: make the icy dongchimi broth
- You don't need this to make good Bibim Naengmyeon but I love drinking the broth. It also keeps it nice and cold. To make the icy broth, add equal parts of beef broth + dongchimi brine. Season to taste with sugar and soy sauce, then put it in the freezer for a couple of hours to turn slushy. You can find my recipe for dongchimi here.