The time is here for temperatures well over 90 degrees, talking about only beaches and water parks with your friends and sprawling out on your bed with the fan on but still sweating profusely. When it gets unbearably hot in the summer, I recall my mom cooking these five dishes to cool down in the heat. Trust us — they’re some of the best cold dishes around, and boy, are they delicious.
Korean cold noodles (naeng-myun)
Naeng-myun is probably the most famous cold Korean dish. The broth — made from an assortment of beef, radish, anchovies and white kimchi — is frozen to create a slush-like consistency. Then, it’s served with some buckwheat or arrowroot noodles and eaten icy cold. When you take gulps of this tangy, sweet, delicious broth, your body will instantly feel much cooler, ready to combat the suffocating heat.
Best known as soba, this dish actually originates from Japan, but it’s widely popular in Korea as well. A cold dipping sauce made of soy sauce and fish sauce is served with ground radish and spring onions on the side. It’s also served with buckwheat noodles, and you slurp the delicious mixture up as soon as you dip the noodles into the sauce. The savoriness from the sauce along with the right amount of bitterness from the radish and spring onions is a unique combination and definitely one to remember.
Noodles in cold soybean soup (kong-guksu)
Kong-guksu is traditionally made from grinding soybeans with water, but some people also like to put a bit of peanut butter or soy milk for an extra nutty flavor. Usually served with wheat noodles, this dish has a thick, creamy consistency from all the nuts. It’ll probably be very different from most dishes you’ve tried, but this is absolutely a favorite.
Watermelon is known as the summer fruit, and hwachae is essentially a watermelon punch. In a bowl (or sometimes the bowl-like rinds left from scooping out all the watermelon), you put in watermelon along with other fruits like apples and grapes. You then add Sprite, sweeteners (syrup or honey) and sometimes milk to create the perfect cold beverage.
From our agrarian ancestors were passed down some of the best cold salads and dishes made from refreshing and delicious kimchi. Traditionally stored in a cool environment to ferment for years, kimchi can be prepared with noodles, rice, salads and more. You can add it in virtually anything to make the flavors richer and more delicious, and it is best served cold. Nothing is more Korean than kimchi.
Hopefully, these dishes will help you beat the heat. If not, you still have some amazing recipes to try out!
Contact Christina Kim at [email protected].