Get To Know The Cold Noodle Dishes Of Japan And South Korea (And Where To Try Them In Metro Manila!)

For a tropical country like the Philippines, it’s curious how cold noodles are not enjoying as much popularity as they do in colder four-season countries like Japan and South Korea. In fact, they’re rarely heard of in the Philippines. 

Cold noodles are a big hit in summer, and they never vanish from restaurant menus even in winter. There are various ways to serve cold noodles—in a chilled soup, with a dip on the side, or salad-style. They’re perfect as a main dish enjoyed with cool drinks or as a cooling postlude to samgyupsal. This cold dish is very refreshing and easy to enjoy (no sweat, literally!), and the firm and chewy noodles are to fall for.

For a nation fond of hot noodle soup dishes like mami and lomi, it may sound weird at first. But you’ll soon find out why they’re so popular in other countries. See for yourself and try these Japanese and South Korean cold noodle dishes you can find in Metro Manila!




Mul-naengmyeon (top-right) & Bibim-naengmyeon (bottom-left) via Sariwon Korean Barbecue

Naengmyeon is the national cold dish of South Korea, a staple during summer and also popular even in colder seasons. The traditional version of naengmyeon is soup-based, served with chilled meat broth and garnished with boiled egg and vegetables. Bibim-naengmyeon is another version, where the noodles are instead mixed with red hot chili paste, a more refreshing way to enjoy your spicy.

It’s good to note that makguksu is a very close cold noodle relative of naengmyeon, and you may often find the two interchanged. However, makguksu is a cold noodle delicacy from Gangwon-do, distinguished by the use of buckwheat noodles akin to Japanese soba. On the other hand, naengmyeon uses noodles made with a mix of buckwheat, potato, and sweet potato starch.

Try it at: Sariwon Korean Barbecue
Location:  C2, Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Ave., BGC, Taguig City
Contact: +63 966-862-6670





Kongguksu via egg (Hong, Yun Seon), CC BY 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons

As heartwarming as it is refreshing, kongguksu is another South Korean cold noodle dish made with thick and hearty soy milk broth. It’s not your regular off-the-shelf soy milk; the soup is made with soybean puree that gives it its thick consistency and nutty flavor. Garnish is also minimal, which helps highlight the flavor of the broth and noodles. Not only is kongguksu delicious, but it’s also nutritious, a perfect dish to replenish energy on a hot summer day!

Try it at: Kaya Korean Restaurant (Multiple branches)
Contact: +63 998-584-4235



Zaru Soba/Udon

Zaru soba via Ai Subarasiki on Pixabay / Zaru udon via kimishowota, CC BY-SA 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a real noodle lover, here’s the perfect dish for you. Japanese zaru soba and zaru udon are simple dishes that highlight the noodles. Cold soba or udon are placed on a bamboo strainer called zaru, hence the name. It is then served with a cold soy sauce-based dipping sauce along with condiments you can mix with it such as wasabi, spring onions, and grated white radish. 

Zaru soba is the best way to enjoy soba noodles as the lightly flavored sauce complements its earthy flavor. It’s also a nice wheat-free option. Meanwhile, go for zaru udon if you want something more neutral. These fat and chewy noodles are also a delight to chew. 

Try it at: Kazunori Japanese Restaurant
Location: G/F Mazda Makati Bldg., ​2301 Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati City
Contact: +63 917-836-2695




Bukkake Udon

Beef Ontama Bukkake Udon via Marugame Philippines

Bukkake udon is sure to please the local palate with its sweet broth and tasty toppings. The cold broth, typically made with kaeshi and dashi, is splashed onto cold udon noodles—which is what the term bukkake describes. It can have any kind of toppings, from green onions and dried seaweed to poached eggs, tempura, and even meat. The dish actually has hot and cold versions; decide which one to get based on your local weather forecast. 

Marugame Udon has its own version called Beef Ontama Bukkake Udon, topped with sweet slices of beef and ontama or soft-boiled egg, also with hot and cold options.

Try it at: Marugame Udon (Multiple branches)




Hiyashi Chuka

Hiyashi Chuka via Mendokoro Ramenba

Hiyashi chuka is a great alternative for ramen lovers. Cold ramen noodles are topped with various colorful ingredients like shrimp, crabsticks, ham, cucumber, and tomatoes, all beautifully arranged which makes for a very appetizing treat. It’s mixed with a sweet, salty, and tangy dressing made with soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame seeds/paste. Compared with hot ramen, hiyashi chuka is easier to make but filling all the same!

Try it at: Mendokoro Ramenba
Locations: Salcedo Village, Makati / Icon Plaza, BGC / Molito, Alabang
Contact: +632 8478-9625




Find more treats you can enjoy at home on KKday!


*Featured image via via Sariwon Korean Barbecue & Wikimedia Commons