Have you ever eating Korean buckwheat noodles – Makguksu? It is a local specialty of the Gangwon province of Korea and is one of the most popular dishes in its’ capital Chuncheon. Makguksu is usually served in cold Kimchi broth. Due to that reason, buckwheat noodles are the most popular in summer but are still widely eaten all throughout the year. Last weekend we have visited the Makguksu museum in Chuncheon and learned how this delicious dish is made.
Makguksu is the archetypal Korean cold noodle dish and is somewhat related to Nengmyeong. Both of those dishes are widely eaten in both, South and North Korea, even though there are few differences in the preparation method. Since buckwheat is a staple crop in the Gangwon-do area, Makguksu is eaten here more often, than in other areas of the peninsula. Due to this, Chuncheon does not only serve home to this Makguksu museum but also has a famous “buckwheat noodle street” full of restaurants, serving different variations of this dish as well as hosting an annual Chuncheon Makguksu Noodle Festival.
Chuncheon Makguksu Museum was opened in 2016 and has been educating the public about this representative dish of the region since then. The exterior design of the museum is very unique as well. It looks like a hot pot and a stone mortar, which are used to cook Makguksu.
On the first floor, there is a buckwheat exhibition hall, where many materials and loads of information on the origin and distribution of buckwheat is displayed. You can learn a lot about the buckwheat itself as well as other related foods and uses of the grains. Did you know that Koreans also use buckwheat grains to stuff pillows?
On the second floor, you can find an experience hall and a restaurant, where you can learn about making your own buckwheat noodles and then the staff would immediately prepare it for you to eat. Even though it looks eas at the beginiing, the making of the noodles requires a lot of strength and determination. I had to use my full body weight to squeeze out the dough, otherwise, the noodles would not come out.
Due to the fact that buckwheat does not have any gluten, the noodles cannot be premade (like, for example, pasta) and have to be prepared immediately. The dough is usually squeezed into the boiling water, which soon would make the noodles ready to eat. Otherwise, the noodles would get back together as a single dough piece and would not be possible to eat.
After making the noodles we had lunch at the same space as well. Prepared and served with some fresh radish soup, the Makguksu noodles made light but delicious lunch. Even though I would prefer eating it in the summertime, as opposed to the current chilly weather, it was still a great experience.After all, eating regional food in the designated region is always a good decision.
Useful tip: The 11th day of each month is called “Noodle Day” with all the food and activity fees at a maximum 10% discount. If you have a chance, make sure to take advantage of this offer. Therefore, the prices are not that high anyway, so even if you are coming on a different day, probably that would not be much of an issue.
If you are a foodie, you would enjoy this place at any time of the year, but I specifically would recommend coming when the temperature is boiling hot, so you could refresh yourself with some delicious buckwheat noodles – the staple food of Chuncheon city, Gangwon province of South Korea.
Adults (ages 19-64): 1,000 won / Group: 800 won
Teenagers (ages 13-18): 700 won / Group: 600 won
Children (ages 7-12): 500 won / Group: 400 won