I began my trek for ramen to Tampopo last Monday without calling ahead. It was a brilliant but cold day and ramen was going to be perfect. Sure enough, Monday was Tampopo's day off. All was not lost. Further north up Lincoln Avenue is Pyung Yang Myun Ok. The only English sign is "Cold Buckwheat Noodles" or "Homemade Buckwheat Noodles," I forget which.
Anyway, I started by asking all sorts of questions--"How many different noodles do you have?" and "What's the best way to get them?" etc. From what I gathered (the waitress was a Korean teenager fluent in English but not entirely schooled on the offerings), Pyung offers homemade wheat noodles, and two types of homemade buckwheat noodles (clear and dark). The wheat noodles are served in hot soup and the buckwheat noodles are served cold with or without broth.
I tried both the wheat noodles in seafood soup, #3-16 Hae Mul Kal Gook Soo, and the cold, spicy buckwheat vermicelli without broth (very similar to mung bean vermicelli). They gave me the buckwheat vermicelli on the house because I had asked for a half portion--and perhaps pity was involved (how could anyone eat so much?). I did not try the dark buckwheat noodles.
To the noodles: both were excellent. The wheat noodles were perfectly toothsome, the broth simple and satisfying. I found clams, squid, octopus, and shrimp. But the seafood wasn't the focus, the noodles were. They could not be faulted. The buckwheat vermicelli was excellent too. I was warned that the sauce was "spicy" but didn't find it so. I found it a bit cloying after a while and was glad to have only ordered a 1/2 portion. I can't wait to try the dark buckwheat noodles. I know I'm in for a treat.
The panchan, or free little appetizers, were 10-dishes strong and very solid.
This place is a real find. Atmosphere is typical Korean--that is to say, not much but not unpleasant. The place mat serves as the menu and has excellent English translations. I took mine home with me.
Pyung Yang Myun Ok
5828 N. Lincoln Ave.