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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Madang Gooksu: Knife-cut Chicken Noodle Soup

On cold days like these, there's nothing better than a piping hot bowl of kalgooksu, which literally translates to knife noodles because they are hand-cut using knives. And there's no other place in LA that does it better than Madang Gooksu. The thick, rich broth has hints of dried anchovy (myulchi), chicken and garlic and the classic chicken kalgooksu comes with shredded chicken, huge chunks of potatoes and zucchini. Because it doesn't come fully seasoned, one can customize one's desired level of saltiness and spiciness with the accompanying seasoning sauce consisting of soy sauce, red pepper flakes and green onions (and probably other ingredients I'm missing). If you're nursing a cold, it doesn't get more comforting than this. The complimentary kimchi side dish will awaken your congested sinuses too. The kalgooksu portions are large. One order could easily feed two.

The (hot stone) dolsot bibimbap was also decent. The kimchi was ok but not as good as the one at Hanbat, which serves my favorite bowl of sulleongtang.

In short, the thing to have at Madang Gooksu is, uh, gooksu, which means noodles. In the summertime, this place serves an excellent konggooksu, which is a cold, soybean-based noodle dish that I can't get enough of. The ice-cold, milky broth is basically ground soybeans that have been soaked, peeled (it's a lot of work to make it at home but well worth it) and pureed with some water and then seasoned with some salt. Add thin noodles, a wedge of tomato (odd, I know, but indispensable), cucumber strips, half a hard-boiled egg and voila.

Madang Gooksu
869 South Western Avenue, Suite 1
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 487-6008

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