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'Naengmyeon' vs. 'Naengjeon'

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By Park Moo-jong

The latest joke at "naengmyeon" restaurants in Seoul and elsewhere across the country is, "Is naengmyeon gliding down your throat?"

Naengmyeon, already popular icy cold Korean noodle dish in the sizzling heat of summer, has sparked a craze anew in South Korea this autumn, thanks to an outspoken North Korean strongman, adding to the "naengjeon" or cold war on the Korean Peninsula.

As the readers, especially foreigners, have acknowledged, "naeng" means cold as used in such words like "naengsu" (cold water), "naengtang" (cold bath) or "naenghyeolhan" (cold-blooded man).

Naengmyeon is served in cold meat stock, generally beef, or cool kimchi soup "dongchimi" with garnishes of boiled egg, sliced cucumber and pear, and slices of beef or pork. Mustard and vinegar are the two basic seasonings whose quantity depends on taste.

Originally a delicacy in Pyongyang and Hamhung in North Korea, North Korean refugees brought the dish to the South after the 1950-53 Korean War, and it has become one of South Korea's representative dishes together with "bulgogi" and "bibimbap."

As reported widely both at home and abroad, the remarks by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, is stirring up public outrage, with opposition politicians calling for the government to demand an explanation and apology........

© The Korea Times