Korean Spicy Watermelon Noodles | Soobak Naengmyun (수박냉면)

Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. I've been having a great time, mostly because I love a nice long weekend but also because the weather was amazing. It was perfectly warm but breezy and the evenings had that crispness hinting that autumn is definitely approaching.

I don't really keep up with Korean trends or anything. I'm not that into K-pop or even Korean beauty, which seems to be super popular these days. However, the one thing I do get curious about is the food. Lately, I've been seeing a lot of watermelon naengmyun (수박냉면), which is basically bibim naengmyun (비빔냉면) made inside of a watermelon and mixed with bits of watermelon.

I thought this would be the perfect toast-to-the-end-of-summer kind of meal. It isn't quite yet the end of summer and I'm definitely not someone who jumps on the pumpkin spice bandwagon as soon as it hits September. However, watermelon season is definitely coming to a close, so if you feel like making this, go out and buy some watermelons today.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
8 oz. naengmyun noodles (buckwheat noodles; these are different from soba but soba can be substituted)
2 baby cucumbers, julienned
¼ cabbage, chopped (savoy or green)
2 dozen perilla leaves, chiffonade
2 baby watermelons
4 eggs, hard boiled
1 scallion, sliced
+ sesame seeds for garnish

1 cup watermelon
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions
¼ cup Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)
3 tablespoons Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup cola

Split the baby watermelons in half. Use a melon baller to scoop out some prettier pieces to serve with the noodles and then use a spoon to scoop out the rest. Leave a few pieces and some juice in the bottom but set aside the rest of the watermelon. Most of the scooped out melon will be a nice snack; some of it will be used for the sauce.
For the sauce, add about a cup of the scooped watermelon, garlic, scallion, Korean hot pepper flakes, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, and Korean hot pepper paste to a food processor and blend until smooth.
Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 7 minutes until just tender.
While the noodles are going, prep the vegetables. Cut the cucumbers into matchsticks, slice up the cabbage, chop the scallions, and chiffonade the perilla leaves.
Set aside some of the cabbage and cucumber for garnish.
When the noodles are done, drain and then rinse in cold water. Put the noodles back into a big bowl and add in the cabbage, cucumber, and perilla leaves. Add in about three-quarters of the sauce and toss. Add more sauce, adjusting to your preference.
Portion the noodles into each of the watermelon bowls. Garnish with a little cabbage, cucumber, scallions, sesame seeds, and egg. Drizzle a little more sauce on top and serve immediately.
This dish is super cool and refreshing and a perfect ode to summer. The noodles are chewy, the sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, the vegetables add a delicious crunch, and the bits of watermelon are a juicy surprise. Serve any extra sauce on the table so your guests can drizzle more on if they like. Oh, and don't forget to serve the reserved melon balls too.
Here's the recipe page:


  1. Super, thanks for posting this, enjoyed it a lot!


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