Hamheung Hwaegwan (Hamheung Restaurant)

Naengmyun literally means cold noodles.  The two most typical ones are Mool-naengmyun and Bibim-naengmyun.  Mool-naengmyun is the cold noodles in a cool beef broth.  Bibim-naengmyun is the cold noodles in a spicy marinade which is like a watered-down and slightly sweetened red pepper paste.

I am of North Korean descent, my paternal grandparents are from the North.  My grandfather’s hometown is Gyesong and my grandmother’s home is in the Hamgyong province (the city of Hamheung is in this province), which is way up North.  Well, apparently, the North is known for their naengmyun.  My grandmother, being from the North, loves this stuff.  The Korean food in Baltimore is not so good.  Not surprisingly, the naengmyun is bad there too.  So when my grandparents are in LA, my grandmother makes sure she eats naengmyun as often as she can.

My grandparents are in town to see my graduation ceremony this Friday.  I’ll be the first of their grandchildren to graduate from college.  They flew in for that.  So having ended school, I figured I would show them around my school.  So I gave them a little tour.  Once that was done, without fail, we went to go eat naengmyun.

I took them to Hamheung Hwaegwan; they’re known for their Hwae-naengmyun, which literally means “fish naengmyun.”  The fish they use are skates.  On a side note, eating fermented skates was one bad experience.  Anyways, the Hwae-naengmyun is marinated in an almost bibim-naengmyun-ish marinade but it isn’t as spicy.  And there is some skate in there.  If you bite into something hard, don’t fret, the bones are edible.

I don’t really like naengmyun itself.  If I get the Mool-naengmyun, it’s because I want to drink the tasty broth to cool me down.  If I eat Hwae-naengmyun, it’s because I want to eat the fish.  I find the noodles itself hard to chew and swallow.  And usually 30 minutes after finishing my meal I get hungry again.   At Hamheung Hwaegwan, I figure they do the Hwae-naengmyun right.  It wasn’t too spicy and it had a slight sweetness to it.  The noodles for naengmyun just ain’t my thing and it was no different here.  Though I did like the fish in it.  We also ordered soondae (Korean blood sausages) and I think that did most of the fill-me-up part.  This restaurant is under the same ownership as Western Soondae.  Maybe it’s my bias, but I like the soondae at Western Soondae better.

Hamheung Hwaegwan is one of the older establishments in Koreatown.   So is Dong Il Jang.  So is Jun Won.  They’re all on 8th St.  8th St. is the old school Koreatown.  6th St. is the new.

Hamheung Hwaegwan
809 S Ardmore Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone: 213.381.1520

Ham Hung on Urbanspoon

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