Ever heard of the phrase, “it’s too hot to eat?” I know, I know. Sacrilege. But still. Sydney’s had those days lately, and it’s been a real bitch. That’s why when Simon suggested Poong Nab Dong for their naengmyeon (Korean Cold Noodles), I leaped at the chance.
It’s like a salad, but with carbs. What’s not to love?
Mul Naengmyeon, $13
Bibim Naengmyeon, $13
There are two primary ways to have your noodles – dry, with a spicy chilli paste, or with a cold, refreshing beef soup laced with mustard and vinegar.
I always opt for the chilli option because I just can’t help myself (I am Singaporean, after all), and when given an opportunity, I always go the extra spicy (see above explanation). Here, the Bibim Naengmyeon was a little bit on the sweet side and slightly one-dimensional in its flavours, even after I asked for an extra plate of chilli paste to zhuzh things up a bit.
The Mul Naengmyeon fared much better, with a flavourful broth that stayed light and refreshing. It’s served with mustard and white vinegar on the side, for you to mix it up to your taste. Now that, was a noodle I can keep going back to.
The service at Poong Nan Dong was a bit…non-existent. There was much waving and signalling in an empty restaurant, and even then I could swear that they were deliberately ignoring us. Not that they went out of their way to be rude, but being invisible never sits well with hungry foodies.
Oh and we did think that it might have been a push button on the table for service, too, like Jonga Jip.
Nope. No button.
Value for money:
$13 per person is pretty good value in Eastwood – especially in a sit-down restaurant situation – and even more so considering that we were given about 5 plates of banchan (Korean side dishes) to go with our meal. Banchan is usually refilled for free, which means that if you’re really still hungry after the huge bowl of noodles (I was stuffed), you can keep eating till your heart’s content.
Good value when compared to other non-side-dish restaurants, but average when compared to other Korean restaurants, where banchan is the expected deal.
I’ve never seen Poong Nab Dong busy except for Friday and Saturday nights, and even at the peak of lunchtime (when we went) it still only had a smattering of people. There was a sense of eat-and-get-out about the place, and certainly nothing much there to keep you from leaving. Perhaps their Korean barbecue fares better than their a la carte times – but it’s going to be very difficult to get me leaving my usual Jonga Jip.
With both a hit and a miss in the same meal, I’m not sure that I’m going to be going back to Poong Nab Dong. Mind you, the miss wasn’t a disaster, but coupled with non-existent service and no emotional attachment, the better-than-average Mul Naengmyeon isn’t enough inspiration to get me back through the doors.
Except for when I want to order that specifically, of course.
Oh, and one more thing: please don’t wear shorts or short skirts to visit this restaurant. Pleather seats plus a hot day has now given me the association of sticking painfully to the chairs. Not something I would like to repeat, #thankyouverymuch.