Spicy Cold Noodles (Bibim Guksu)

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

These supersimple noodles are my favorite dish to make during the summer. If you want them less spicy, you can use less gochujang and kimchi, substituting with a little more sugar, soy sauce, and lettuce.

Makes2 servings

Cooking Time10 min



Total TimeUnder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes


  • 4 large Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, unpeeled
  • 2 cups kimchi
  • 1/4 small Fuji or Gala apple
  • 3 tablespoons kimchi juice
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang (red chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 (3-ounce) bundles somyun or makguksu noodles
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Toasted seaweed, crushed, for garnish
  • Tobiko (flying fish roe) for ganish (optional)


  1. Cut off the thick white bottoms of the lettuce leaves. Roll the leaves into a cigar shape and slice into thin ribbons.

  2. Slice the cucumber into thin matchsticks.

  3. Cut the kimchi into bite-sized pieces.

  4. Peel and chop the apple into bite-size pieces. In a blender, combine the apple with the kimchi juice, gochujang, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil and blend into a smooth paste.

  5. Cook the somyun in boiling water for a couple of minutes and taste one to see if it's cooked. The noodle should be soft but still chewy and not mushy.

  6. Rinse the cooked noodles with cold running water and drain.

  7. Spread the lettuce on the bottom of each of two serving bowls and put the noodles on top. Pour the sauce over the noodles and arrange the cucumber, kimchi, and a boiled egg half on top. Garnish with the toasted seaweed and sesame seeds. Tobiko is also a great garnish, if you want to add more exciting color and texture.


  1. Somyun and makguksu are thin white Korean wheat noodles. They are as thin as angel-hair pasta.

  2. Traditionally, Asian pear is often used in this sauce. I've substituted it with apple, which is inexpensive and easier to find. You can also use pear, kiwi, or watermelon. If you don't have any fruit, no worries. Just add more kimchi juice and sugar instead!


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