Myeongdong Gyoja 명동교자 Restaurant Review

Myeongdong Gyoja is a restaurant in Myeongdong known for its kalguksu (knife sliced noodles 칼국수). This place is so popular, there are actually 2 branches in Myeondong within 90 meters of one another.

Myeongdong Gyoja map

I went to branch no. 1, the one across from Missha, on a Thursday night and the place was jam packed. I'm not sure if I was being overly sensitive, but I noticed that when the host realized I was a foreigner, I was escorted upstairs. The restaurant is pretty small on the inside, with the tables crammed closely together, but everything looked fairly clean.

Inside Myeongdong Gyoja

As soon as you sit down, a waitress comes to take your order. Staying true to my online research at wingbus, I ordered kalguksu (knife sliced noodle soup 칼국수), bibimguksu (cold noodles with sauce 비빔국수), and mandu (steamed dumplings 만두). Everything is served with a small bowl of rice and their specially made kimchi. You can ask for free refills for both, but the ajummas are quite vigilant and refill your kimchi almost as soon as you finish.

Kimchi at Myeongdong Gyoja

Now, this was no ordinary kimchi. It looks like a small, innocent lump of fermented goodness, but the kimchi at Myeongdong Gyoja was like a hot fireball fuming with garlic gas. It was seriously spicy, yet strangely addictive. I had three refills before my nose started running non-stop from the heat. 
I didn't wait long at all for my food to come:

* * *

Kalguksu at Myeongdong Gyoja

Mandu at Myeongdong Gyoja

The kalguksu was just okay. I don't know what all the hype is about. The soup was hot, which was a plus because one of my main complaints about Korean food is that food is never served hot enough, but it was also a bit starchy. The noodles were sliced thinly, but not paper thin or anything and the four mandu that came with the noodles were nothing special. Overall I thought the kalguksu was just average. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great either. Given a choice, I would choose Taiwanese mian xian 麵線 over the kalguksu any day.

As for the rest of my meal, the mandu was good but again, nothing really wowing. I actually like Chinese steamed dumplings way more. The filling inside the mandu was nice and not overly packed (like a hard lump of meat), but there wasn't much flavor. The bibimguksu, however, was absolutely delicious. In fact, I was so focused on eating that I didn't remember to take a picture of it until after I cleaned off the plate! The bibimguksu was a cold noodle dish with vegetables, meat, and a spicy red sauce. The sauce wasn't pungent like the kimchi, but spicy, sweet, and flavorful.

Everything on the menu cost 7,000 won, so my meal totalled 21,000 won. Not bad, if you ask me! I would definitely go to Myeongdong Gyoja again, but only for the bibimguksu and kimchi garlic attack. The kalguksu is overrated and the mandu makes you wish you ordered something else instead.

For more information on Myeongdong Gyoja:
Myeongdong Gyoja 명동교자
Address: 서울시 중구 명동2가 25-2
Phone: 02-776-5348
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Budget: less than 10,000 won for one person
Top Menu Items:  (everything cost 7000 won)
  1. kalguksu (knife sliced noodle soup 칼국수)
  2. bibimguksu (cold noodles with vegetables, meat, and sauce 비빔국수)
  3. kongguksu (noodles in chilled soybean soup 콩국수)
  4. mandu  (steamed dumplings 만두)
  • Main Branch - From Exit 8 of the Myeongdong Subway Station (Subway Line No. 4), proceed between La Bellavita coffee shop and Crown Bakery. Walk for about 150 meters, passing two intersections. 
  • Branch No. 1 - From the Main Branch, walk straight for 90 more meters. The restaurant is across from Missha.

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