It’s summer and without a doubt, I want something delicious, sweet, and cooling. Back in Malaysia, my mom used to buy watermelon for us and it’s the best thing ever. It’s hot in Malaysia and watermelon is so sweet and cooling. I haven’t had a watermelon since I moved to NYC because I don’t drive and I’m definitely not carrying a whole watermelon along with my other groceries and walk home. On top of that, I love ramen. So when I heard that there is such a thing as watermelon and ramen as a dish, wow. Definitely got to try that. It does sound weird, doesn’t it? We’re talking sweet and savory together. It doesn’t appeal to everybody and even I had that ‘are you serious?’ reaction when I first heard about it but still, got to try it.
What is watermelon ramen?
First off, this summer special can be found at mokbar. I had it at Chelsea market. Not too much space there so my pictures are not the best but hey, I’m there for this special dish.
Also known as ‘bibim naengmyeon’ in Korean, it is basically sweet watermelon and savory bulgogi put together. Naengmyeon is cold noodles so this is going to be cold. Bulgogi is usually served hot so… I really don’t know what to expect.
The dish, or should I say, the watermelon consists of:
- cold matcha noodles
- watermelon rines pickled in a olive oil and lemon brine
- watermelon flesh-turn-to-broth
- gochujang sauce and
- bulgogi served on the side
How does it look like?
When you’re sitting at the bar, you get to watch your meal being prepared. From the watermelon brought out of refrigerator, to getting the ingredients and having the matcha noodles prepared, it’s all in front of you. Many of the ingredients were ready made so it didn’t take long for this dish to be prepared and served.
The presentation of this dish makes me so excited to try it, especially after seeing the watermelon seeds. I love the creativity of this dish and how every part of this 10 pounds watermelon is used to bring out the flavor.
Most importantly, how does it taste?
When you think watermelon, you think cooling. Since it’s a special summer dish, it’s definitely meant for us to enjoy a nice cold dish in this blazing hot weather. I took my first bite and the cool, sweet taste hit me and I got so excited to take my second bite. As I’m a broth person, I enjoyed how refreshing the watermelon broth was. However, my excitement died down a little when my taste buds got a little confused after I had the bulgogi.
The mixture of sweet and savory all at once was too much for me to handle. The watermelon ramen on its own was delicious and I do love bulgogi but for me, putting them both together was a little hard for my brain, taste buds, and stomach to digest. I don’t know why I continued putting the meat and cold noodles together in my stomach, wasn’t the best idea but as I continued eating, the clash in taste started to make me feel sick. The shrimp was the only ingredient that kept me going but there were only two so the motivation died after I ate them both..
Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish this on my own and needed some help from my boyfriend – he hates putting sweet and savory together so it’s a big sacrifice for him to help me finish my meal. Looking on the bright side, this $25 watermelon serves as both a main and a dessert. Just scrape off the watermelon on the side and there you go, fruit for dessert!
Is bibim naengmyeon worth trying?
Yes. Unless you really can’t put sweet and savory together in your mouth, you’re excused. You may cringe upon hearing the name of the dish and I agree it’s hard to imagine what your taste buds need to go through.
Would I have it again?
I don’t love this dish but I don’t hate it either but I don’t think it’s worth putting my taste buds through this $25 watermelon meal. It’s something so different that I had to try but you know, once is enough. Been there, done that. Furthermore, I’ve had enough watermelon for the summer (mind you, this is the only watermelon I had this summer).
Have you tried/will you try the watermelon ramen?Tags: chelsea market, korean, new york city, ramen, savory, summer, sweet, watermelon