Over boiled white noodles, pour the deeply boiled anchovy broth, and season with spicy soy sauce.
A bowl of yummy noodles makes my heart warm, even just thinking about it.
[1988. Sun-dried Homemade Noodles]
Pyeongtaek Rice Market is located at the corner of Siheung-dong, Geumcheon-gu, Seoul.
Long noodle strands are lined up in the sun in front of the store.
Lee Ki-seok and Shin Myung-ja, the owners of this house, have dedicated their lives to noodles.
“Since we started the business in 1988, it's been over 30 years.
At first, we sold rice together, but there were so many people looking for noodles, so we only make noodles now.”
In the shop, there are traces of the past thirty years.
Inside the shop is the ‘Noodle Life History Museum,’ which has an old noodle picker, a long noodle cutter,
and a wooden chest containing noodles.
[The Secret Recipe Hidden in the Noodle Dough]
The taste of our noodles is the only thing that has kept us here for 30 years.
“The noodles are chewy. We use good flour and from dough to drying, it takes a lot of effort.”
Pride is shown in Lee Gi Suk (67)’s face.
Every procedure has its own rules and recipes.
“Flour dough needs to be adjusted with different water temperatures and salinities,
depending on the weather and season, such as rainy days, sunny days, summer and winter.
For example, I use lukewarm water in winter and ice water in summer,
and the salinity is between 13 and 16 degrees,” confides Mr. Lee.
The saltwater used for the dough should be rested overnight until the impurities are settled down.
"You have to set the noodles’ saltiness to be just right after boiling and rinsing them in cold water."
Fold the dough several times to improve the chewy texture.
The noodles are freshly extracted from the noodles frame,
and they take them carefully, like a newborn baby, and dry them in the sun.
Noodle packaging is all handmade, too.
Properly cut the dry noodles with a knife, weigh them on a scale, and package them individually.
This couple spends a lot of time and effort making a single bundle of 5,000 KRW noodles.
In addition to the flour noodles, seven varieties of barley noodles,
mugwort noodles, baeknyeoncho noodles, pumpkin noodles, rice noodles, and buckwheat are also on display.
“Generally, common noodles are sold, but those who have diseases, such as diabetes,
should be careful with wheat foods, so they prefer barley or rice noodles.
Parents with young children seek colorful green, yellow, and pink noodles.”
Patrons and the ties that they have accumulated are the motivation to continue their hard work of noodle making.
“Even after they move away, patrons come back and say ‘I can’t eat any noodles except these’,
so we can’t quit making them even when we’re tired’ says the couple.
The couple smiled, saying that after the Pyeongtaek Rice Shop was selected as a long-standing shop in Seoul,
and went viral, orders from other regions have increased sharply.
Is it because I witnessed the entire dedicated process?
The noodles created are full of the honesty and dedication of the old couple,
and I slurped them all up. They were chewy, and, quite literally, the best.
Written and photographed
by Seoul Storytelling Team Oh Mi Jung 2019