Li Ben Jia
With the mercury rising, we were in the mood for Korean cold noodles and ended up in a small Yulin area spot called Li Ben Jia. They have a large menu with descriptions of dishes in Korean and Chinese and photos, but the ordering is done on a check off style sheet.
The rather untraditional banchan were kimchi that was on the soft and sour side, shredded cabbage drowned by a generous glop of mayo, watermelon cube and some unusual toast with Thai sweet chili garlic sauce squirted over it. The same sauce was used to generously season a delicious looking platter of fried chicken being served to the next table. We asked for the spicy mixed cold noodles, bibim nang myun (韩国拌凉面). We also got some rice balls (饭团) which seemed to be on everyone’s table. It was similar to a Japanese onigri but a little on the greasy side. At twelve yuan, no complaints. There is a message at the bottom of the menu that implores diners to have patience, as the dishes are cooked after being ordered, but our noodles came out after a reasonable wait. The springy buckwheat noodles had been cooked to the perfect texture and topped with fresh shredded Asian pear, cucumber and thinly sliced beef. Besides the kochu jiang sweet hot pepper sauce, there were hints of fresh garlic and sesame in the seasoning.
The small space’s two air conditioners were mainly victorious over the heat of the day, the steam from the ramen and rice cake hot pots that most customers were eating, and the smoker at the next table. The hostess made the effort to speak to us in English, inviting us back to try more of their dishes, and we were handed lollipops on the way out. While we didn’t love all of the food, the spot is cosy and hospitable and we expect to eat their nang myun a few more times this summer. We also noted they have spicy rice cake hot pots for one or to share for when the weather cools off. Cost per person is 30-50RMB.