After a couple bleak months of wondering when I’d be able to afford quality sushi again, I landed a gig at a food and wine website in Los Angeles. On my first day of work, I purposely neglected to pack a lunch so that I could explore my new ‘hood—Koreatown.
Koreatown is packed with so much goodness that it’s hard to know where to start. Do I want DIY barbecue? Bi bim bap? Or a glass of soju to settle my first day of work jitters? After a quick Yelp search courtesy of Wandering Chopsticks, I settled on Miljip House of Noodles, which is located in a strip mall a couple minutes from my office. The B rating on the front door and the smiley woman manning the counter signaled that this place was gonna be good.
The specialty at Miljip is Kalguksu (literally “knife noodles”)—“a Korean noodle dish consisting of handmade, knife-cut wheat flour noodles served in a large bowl with broth. It is traditionally considered a seasonal food, consumed most often in summer. Its name comes from the fact that the noodles are not extruded or spun, but cut.”
The consistency of the broth was thick and gelatinous, reminding me of Vietnamese banh canh. Flavor-wise, the broth was much more subtle than any Vietnamese noodle soup. At first bite, the broth’s garlic undertones stood front and center. A few nibbles later, the essence of seaweed and clams made a light but noticeable appearance. The broth seemed to tip-toe around the bowl to avoid overpowering the delicate noodles.
The knife-cut technique yields a thick and slightly uneven noodle with an awesome “bite”—truly, the highlight of the dish. The noodles and broth were accented with a sprinkling of scallions, small clams, zucchini and potatoes. I was sweating up a quiet storm by the time I finished up my lunch.
The kalguksu was served with a side of kimchi, which looked super-spicy, but was actually quite manageable. I dunked the kimchi into the broth to spice it up a bit.
I was also served a banchan of pickled radishes with jalapenos. Once again, not too spicy and a great contrast to the steaming and mild noodle soup. My meal at Miljip was my first foray into Korean noodles; next on my list are cold soy noodles and Sul Lung Tang.
Miljip House of Noodles
4003 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010