Cold Kimchi Noodle Soup (Kimchimari Guksu) is the perfect dish for a hot summer day or any day. An easy and simple noodle recipe that will hit the spot. Absolutely refreshing and tummy clearing cold noodle soup that has just the perfect amount of spicy kick.
Cold Kimchi Noodle Soup or Kimchimari Guksu 김치말이 국수 is a wonderfully cooling noodle dish that comes in a very cold (can be even icy) Kimchi broth that’s just so incredibly delicious that you will want to drink the whole bowl until the last drop! You don’t need to do a lot of cooking for this dish because the kimchi juice has all the flavors that you need.
What is Kimchimari Guksu
Kimchimmari 김치말이 literally means to ‘mix something with Kimchi’ and Guksu 국수 means ‘noodles’. Just like the rice version, it originates from North Korea where my parents are originally from (before the Korean war). So, I grew up eating this dish but have not seen this at many restaurants until recently. A few days ago, I saw this served at the end of a Korean BBQ meal at our local restaurant and it inspired me to share a recipe for it here.
Each province in North Korea may have a slightly different variation but according to my mom, it is mostly made with beef broth + kimchi juice or Dongchimi juice and really nothing more than that. I have seen some Soeul restaurants add sesame oil and roasted gim to it and I kinda like that version but my mom says the version she remembers doesn’t have any of that. Just so you know.
Also note that the North Korean style Kimchi is very light, not as spicy and has a lot more juice than the more common ones you see today in South Korea. My Blender Kimchi is probably the closest one I have that’s more North Korean style. It is lighter in seasoning overall and less spicy compared to some of the kimchis you see today.
And yes, Kimchimari is also what I named my blog name after – but to be precise, it’s actually the rice version as that one is just called Kimchimari. BTW, the recipe for the rice version is here.
Kimchimari Guksu Variations
So, Kimchimari Guksu can be made with several different broth bases – as long as there’s kimchi juice in it, it works. You can make this dish with Dongchimi liquid or Mul Kimchi liquid, Yeolmu Kimchi liquid, Putbaechu Kimchi liquid along with beef or chicken stock. You can find a recipe for making the beef stock HERE. You can also use a homemade or store-bought Naengmyeon Broth and just add Kimchi juice to it.
In this post, I will share 2 very simple and easy versions. One using a ready-made chicken broth and one using store-bought Dongchimi Naengmyeon soup which is just too simple so don’t miss it!!
BTW, I have bought and tried a few different Dongchimi Naengmyeon soup broths that are sold separately as individual soup packets without noodles. (They are usually in the refrigerated section). These would have been perfect to use but sadly, I couldn’t find any that was good enough to recommend. In fact, I would not recommend the ones below – they are way too sweet and have hardly any Dongchimi flavor. 😢 And I know at least one of them has High Fructose Corn Syrup as their 2nd ingredient..sigh..I couldn’t eat more than a spoonful..
These are too sweet with little flavor
The brands where the soup base is really pretty close to my broth were these two – CJ Foods and Pulmuone. They are my usual go-to brands when buying ready made foods.
How to best enjoy cold Kimchi Noodle Soup
Kimchimari Guksu is wonderful as a stand-alone dish for lunch – especially on warm days. It’s also amazing as a finishing course to a Korean BBQ meal. The tummy clearing cold kimchi soup will totally wipe away any heavy and fatty feel you may have in your mouth after eating BBQ meats like pork belly. YUM! 😋😍 The kimchi soup (especially ones made with Dongchimi liquid) will also help as a hangover soup.
BTW, I have a FREE Korean BBQ Dinner Cookbook that you can get if you subscribe to my emails so do it now if you haven’t already! There’s a sign-up button on the right column.
- Use Ripened Kimchi – for best flavor, use fully ripened or slightly sour kimchi
- Keep everything COLD – this dish is best enjoyed icy cold. You can even partially freeze the soup (about 1 hr in the freezer) and serve it with like a slushy
- Best Noodles – My favorite noodle to use is Sempio’s Rice Noodles (쌀소면 Ssal Somyeon) which are gluten free (right). But you can use any thin Somyeon 소면 noodles like the Ottogi one below (left).
- Make ahead to save time – make the cold soup ahead of time and keep it refrigerated or frozen then you just need like 20 min. to cook the noodles and make the toppings.
- Make Kimchimari Guksu in just minutes! – Just add 3 Tbsp of Kimchi juice to one package of the CJ or Pulmuone soup broth and it will be just as yummy!!
- Other toppings – for some additional protein add some cook beef slices, bulgogi or even some seasoned tofu.
How to make Cold Kimchi Noodle Soup (Kimchimari Guksu)
- Somyeon 소면 or Ssal Somyeon 쌀소면 Noodles
- Cabbage Kimchi
- Roasted Seaweed (Gim) – optional
- Egg – optional
- Soup –
- Chicken Broth
- Kimchi juice (Putbaechu Kimchi or Cabbage Kimchi)
- rice vinegar
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- Boil a pot of water for noodles.
- <Optional> Boil an egg using your favorite method. For hard boiled eggs, I usually just add eggs to a pot with cold water, turn heat to medium and then let it come to boil slowly (so the egg doesn’t crack) and let it cook for 10-12 min. Then transfer eggs to an ice bath and peel after couple minutes. Slice it in half.
- While the water is boiling, julienne cucumbers and set aside.
- Cut kimchi into small thin strips, season it with sugar, sesame seeds and sesame oil.
- To cook the gluten-free Ssal Somyeon 쌀소면 which I used in this recipe, add noodles to boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes, then rinse in ice cold water 2-3 times. Let it drain. If using other regular wheat Somyeon 소면, follow directions on the package.
- Prepare soup – In a bowl, add chicken broth, water and kimchi liquid. I had some ripened Putbaechu Kimchi on hand which was absolutely perfect for this recipe. Regular Napa Cabbage Kimchi or any good store bought or homemade Kimchi liquid will work just fine too. Just make sure it’s fully ripened or slightly sour. Add vinegar, soy sauce, salt, sugar. Keep it chilled in the fridge until serving time.
- In a bowl, add noodles, cold soup and toppings of cucumber, seasoned kimchi and here, I added extra pieces of Putbaechu Kimchi. If you have Yeolmu (young radish greens) Kimchi, that works great too. FYI, here’s what Putbaechu kimchi looks like.
- Finally, add 1/2 egg per bowl, sprinkle some torn roasted sea laver (gim) piecse for extra nutty flavor.
And that’s it!! Hope this will help you keep cool this summer.
For EXTRA ICY – put soup in freezer for 45 min to 1 hr to make it a slushy consistency. Here’s a close up of how that would look. Doesn’t it look AMAZING??
Cold Kimchi Noodle Soup (Kimchimari Guksu)
- 1/2 package Sempio Ssal Somyeon (Gluten Free Rice Noodles) or other thin Somyeon noodles
seasoned cabbage kimchi
- 1/4 cup Putbaechu (Seoul Green Cabbage) Kimchi optional
- 2 Tbsp roasted sea laver (gim)
- 1 each egg
- Boil a pot of water to cook noodles in.
- Boil an egg using your favorite method. For hard boiled eggs, I usually just add eggs to a pot with cold water, turn heat to medium and then let it come to boil slowly (so the egg doesn’t crack) and let it cook for 10-12 min. Then transfer eggs to an ice bath and peel after couple minutes. Slice it in half. Each bowl should get 1/2 an egg.1 each egg
- While the water is boiling, julienne cucumbers set aside.1/2 each cucumber
- Cut kimchi into small thin strips, season it with sugar, sesame seeds and optionally sesame oil.3/4 cup cabbage kimchi, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- To cook the gluten-free Ssalmyeon 쌀면 which i used in this recipe, you just need to cook the noodles for 4-5 minutes, then rinse in cold water 2-3 times. Let it drain. If using other Somyeon 소면, follow directions on the package.1/2 package Sempio Ssal Somyeon (Gluten Free Rice Noodles)
- Prepare soup – In a bowl, add chicken broth, water and kimchi liquid. I had ripened Putbaechu Kimchi which was perfect for this recipe. Regular Napa Cabbage Kimchi liquid will work just fine too. Just make sure it’s fully ripened or slightly sour. Add vinegar, soy sauce, salt, sugar and taste. You may want more vinegar or sugar. Keep it chilled in the fridge until serving time. To make it EXTRA ICY – put in freezer for 1 hr or so to make it a slushy consistency.1 cup chicken broth, 10 Tbsp water, 1/4 cup kimchi juice, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2.5 tsp sugar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1/8 tsp sea salt
- In a bowl, add noodles, the cold soup and the toppings of cucumber, seasoned kimchi and in my case I added extra pieces of Putbaechu Kimchi. If you have Yeolmu (young radish greens) Kimchi, you can add some of that instead.1/4 cup Putbaechu (Seoul Green Cabbage) Kimchi
- Finally, add 1/2 egg per bowl, sprinkle some crushed or torn roasted sea laver (gim) for extra flavor.2 Tbsp roasted sea laver (gim)
Tips & Notes:
- EXTRA EASY SOUP RECIPE – just buy pre-made Dongchimi Naengmyeon noodles and use the broth package from that. I like Pulmuone and CJ as brands. Just add 3 Tbsp of Kimchi juice to one package of soup and that’s it!! Because these soups are already well flavored, you just need some Kimchi juice to flavor the soup, then make the toppings as above and enjoy!!
- If you don’t want to throw away the noodles from the packages, you could even just use Naengmyeon noodles instead of Somyeon. In which case, I guess it will be Kimchimari Naengmyeon?
- Inaccurate Nutritional Facts – the nutrition facts in this recipe is missing the nutrition for Kimchi juice so most likely the sodium level will be a bit higher. But then you don’t normally drink all the soup broth so it may be a little less.