The late-summer sun is scorching and the miserable humidity is pushing the heat index into the 90s. We're seeking relief in every available icy form. Our quest for cold noodles today brings us to Ireh Restaurant’s chilled green soy broth noodles.
Kongguksu literally means bean noodles and is a favorite summertime dish in Korea. Ireh’s version has chilled green wheat noodles swimming in cold soy milk and topped with julienned cucumbers, half a hard-boiled egg and sesame seeds.
Wait, soy milk? Yes, and it’s good! We aren’t talking about store-bought soy milk with added sugar and flavoring. Ireh makes its own from scratch. It's a simple recipe with comforting results: Blend rehydrated soy beans with water, strain, add salt and you end up with a frothy, nutty broth that's cooled and poured over the noodles. It’s the purity of this soy milk that makes the dish sing.
Sip the broth first. Taste the elements of the milk. Then make the perfect bite by adding a bite of Ireh's head cabbage kimchee to a heaping pull of noodles, and slurp it all up. The squeaky-salty brightness of this rare kimchee balances out the creamy, springy noodles. Repeat by pairing more noodles with a bite of shoyu-pickled daikon, onion and jalapeno: Same perfection, only crunchier and spicier.
Ireh has locations at McCully Shopping Center and on Keeaumoku Street; both serve kongguksu.
McCully Shopping Center
1960 Kapiolani Blvd.
949-6000911 Keeaumoku St.