Koreans love a cold soup, and two of the tastiest can be found in Jung-gu. The first is the naengmyeon from Eulji Myun Oak (을지면옥). Buckwheat noodles are submerged in icy broth with sliced beef, hard-boiled egg, slivers of Korean pear, cucumber, spicy mustard oil, vinegar, and dongchimi (radish water kimchi). It’s light, refreshing, and totally sinus-clearing. No one will judge you for throwing back your head and draining every last drop.
Our other must-try soup is kong-guksu from 1960s holdover Jinju Hall (진주회관 콩국수). It’s a huge steel bowl of creamy, silky, chilled soy-milk broth poured over noodles made of buckwheat and soy beans. The smell takes some getting used to, so use the spicy kimchi served on the side as a palate cleanser. Locals pack the place in summertime, swearing by the soup’s restorative properties. As a tourist, you may get some funny looks for showing up, but just do like the locals do: chomp, slurp, repeat.
Eulji Myun Oak: 72-1 Chungmu-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea; +82-02-266-7052.
Jinju Hall: 26, Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea; +82-2-753-5388.