Make makguksu, a PyeongChang delicacy, for a Games-worthy feast

A staple in Gangwon Province — but that's not the only reason you'll want to try "bibimbap’s cold noodle sibling".

A staple in Gangwon Province — but that's not the only reason to try "bibimbap’s cold noodle sibling"

(Photography by Leela Ceed)

This recipe was originally published February 20, 2018.

With the 2018 Winter Olympics well underway, it’s been hard to focus on anything other than the action going down on the slopes. But this versatile dish from Kim Sunée and Seung Hee Lee’s new cookbook, Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks, makes a serious argument for turning our attention to another facet of PyeongChang life: the food! It’s made with cold buckwheat noodles, or makguksu, which are a staple of South Korean cuisine, is loaded with colourful fresh veggies and comes with both a spicy and mild sauce option, for those who can’t take the heat of a Gochujang — or simply want alllllllll the sauce. And don’t let the sauce recipes below intimidate you, none are any harder to whisk together than a salad dressing. We can’t say it’ll transport you straight to Olympic Village, but it certainly makes streaming the Games a whole lot tastier.

Buckwheat Noodles and Assorted Vegetables with Gochujang Vinaigrette | Bibimguksu

By Kim Sunée and Seung Hee Lee

This rainbow-hued dish is the classic bibimbap’s cold noodle sibling, replacing rice with noodles and using crunchy vegetables to create a refreshing cold noodle salad. You can use anything seasonal and fresh; just keep in mind to include a variety of color and texture for maximum wow factor. If using buckwheat or vermicelli rice noodles, cook according to the package directions, then rinse under cold water. It’s preferable to use buckwheat noodles, but if using vermicelli, make sure to buy noodles made without potato starch as they will not absorb the sauce as well.


  • 3 cups cooked buckwheat or green tea noodles 
(substitution: vermicelli rice noodles without potato starch), rinsed under cold water, drained
  • 1 cup julienned cucumber (English, kirby, or Persian)
  • 1 cup julienned carrot
  • ½ cup julienned red bell pepper
  • ½ cup julienned yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup radish sprouts or thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup julienned Asian pear or apple, such as Fuji 
or Brisbane
  • ½ cup shredded cooked chicken or king crab legs or cooked shrimp (optional)
  • 2 soft-boiled eggs, halved (optional)

Spicy sauce:

  • ¼ cup gochujang vinaigrette (see below)
  • 2 tbsp honey or preferred sweetener (e.g., pure maple syrup or granulated sugar)
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp lightly toasted sesame seeds

Mild sauce:

  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • ½ cup granulated or brown sugar or preferred sweetener (e.g., pure maple syrup or agave nectar)
  • Fresh lime juice
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, mint, or Thai basil (optional)

Gochujang vinaigrette:

  • ½ cup gochujang
  • ½ cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced green onion
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish


For gochujang vinaigrette:

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl; stir well to combine, incorporating the gochujang by pressing with the back of a spoon against the side of the bowl. The consistency should be similar to that of a thick syrup. Can be stored, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Gochujang absorbs liquid, so it may thicken over time; simply stir in some warm water or fresh lemon juice to loosen it up.

For spicy and/or mild sauce:

Combine the ingredients for each sauce in a bowl and mix just until blended.

For noodles and vegetables:

Arrange the cooked noodles in the center of a large serving dish and place the julienned vegetables, Asian pears, radish sprouts, and roasted chicken or seafood, if using, around the noodles. Alternatively, arrange the noodles, vegetables, and protein in individual bowls big enough for guests to mix on their own. Mix the noodles with the sauce of your choice just before serving. Top the noodles with halved soft-boiled eggs.

Excerpted from Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks by Kim Sunée and Seung Hee Lee. Photography by Leela Ceed. Copyright © 2017 Published by The Countryman Press, A division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 4-6 servings


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