Growing up, our house was always stocked with jars of kimchi. We had many different varieties, so there was a dedicated kimchi fridge in the garage. It can stink pretty bad, so you can imagine the comments I'd get when friends came over.
Out of all the comments I'd get whenever the subject of kimchi would come up, the most classic were from old dudes who were in the Korean War. They'd tell me about how insane it was that the Koreans had jars of rotten cabbage stored in the ground, and people would EAT IT. They'd then proceed in telling me how gross it looked and how bad it smelled, and I would fidget and nod politely.
It's become a popular and trendy food item today, and I don't know how to quite feel about it. I'm happy that more and more people are enjoying it, but I'm confused as to how I will feel when it won't be trendy anymore. It'll be weird when people are over it and think it's not cool anymore, and I'll be still eating it going, "Um, it's the food of my people. It was never trendy."
Anyway, if you like it, you'll love this traditional Korean cold noodle dish. There are many variations on this, so consider this your Kimchi Bibimguksu 101. Also, note that no two kimchi or gochujang sauces alike, so taste the sauce as you go! Add more sugar or vinegar if desired. If you do not have a lot of kimchi juice, use a little more vinegar. This recipe can easily be doubled, and the sauce can be made a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge.
Kimchi Bibimguksu - Spicy Cold Noodles with Kimchi
1 cup chopped Napa kimchi
1/4 cup kimchi juice
2 tablespoons Gochujang (found in Korean or most Asian grocery stores.)
3 teaspoons sugar (or more)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or more)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 bunches of Somen noodles
1/2 English cucumber, julienned
1 hard boiled egg, cut in half
1/4 cup microgreens for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
Combine kimchi, kimchi juice, gochujang, sugar, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add more sugar or vinegar to desired taste. Mix well and set aside.
Add noodles to a large pot of boiling water, and cook until cooked through. Noodles should be chewy and soft, (average time about 2-3 minutes). When the noodles are done, strain and rinse them in cold water. Once the noodles are cool and the water has drained, divide into two bowls. Divide kimchi sauce mixture and pour on top of noodles.
For the garnish, add julienned cucumber, egg, microgreens, and sesame seeds on top. Mix together and enjoy!