The Korean cold noodles often seen in Yanji are made from a mixture of certain proportions of flour with wheat powder, buckwheat powder, and starch. The dough is repeatedly pressed and rolled before making it into noodles. Buckwheat is a grain that adapts to the local cold climate. The powder made from it is dark in color, and has a tough and smooth texture, all of which helps stimulate the appetite and relieve the summer heat of the diner. Buckwheat is regarded as a type of healthy food as it has low sugar content. It can soften blood vessels and lower blood lipids and cholesterol.
The noodles are served in a broth blending the flavors of onion, ginger, soy sauce, and apple and pear juice. The chilled broth must be light and refreshing. If it is beef broth, the cook must skim off the layer of oil on the top. Both the broth and noodles should be cooled before serving. After the noodles are boiled, soak them in cold water, then drain the water out. Place them in a bowl. Add half an egg, beef slices, kimchi, hot sauce, pear or apple slices, cucumber and water radish slices. Pour in the chilled beef or chicken broth and sprinkle a handful of sesame seeds over the noodles.
The fixings in the dish should give diners an aesthetic feeling with ingredients in five bright colors. The mixed flavors of sour, sweet, salty, and spicy create a unique mouth-watering taste.
Traditional Korean hot sauce is a must for the dish. The hot sauce is made with chili powder, apple sauce, Korean soybean paste, and honey. Kimchi, a traditional and representative fermented food of the Korean ethnic group, is a constant condiment of their daily meals. Korean women are all experts at making kimchi. Cabbage and radishes, used as the main raw materials of the dish, are seasoned with salt, chili powder, soy sauce, various kinds of shrimp and fish pastes, and then fermented. The fermentation process is critical in determining the taste of kimchi. During the process, the protein in the shrimp and anchovy pastes will be broken down into amino acids, and as the fermentation matures, sour lactic acid bacteria will be produced, making the kimchi delicious and refreshing.
On a sweltering summer day, a bowl of cold noodles can bring an invigorating feeling of coolness to the diner. The first mouthful has a strong smell of raw soy sauce, and then comes the tastes of kimchi, and white vinegar. Topped with traditional Korean hot sauce, the noodles can arouse the taste buds and brings appetite. The best season for eating a bowl of cold noodles may not be the summer, but rather midwinter, especially during a night of heavy snowfall. Having eaten the cold noodles, the diner trembles on a stealthy gust of wind on the way home. The frozen coldness outside, together with the tingling evoked by the sizzling spicy feeling created in the mouth by the hot spices, can give a little masochistic pleasure for real foodies.