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At the sort-of-outdoor restaurant where I like to eat samgyeopsal over burning coals, I usually order a dosirak as my siksa (the starchy dish to fill you up, usually rice). I recently noticed on the menu a Naembi Ramyeon, and I ordered it.

This is a cool little thing in Korea. Even something as simple and industrial as Ramyeon (we call it by the Japanese name “Ramen”) has its own special pot. It’s called a Naembi. It literally translates as “casserole.” It’s basically a thin metal pot with two handles. And I think it’s not a proper Naembi unless it looks worn and beat up.

The Korean approach to Ramyeon/Ramen is also unique. It’s usually spicy and sour, similar to many Korean soups. In America, we usually just boil the noodles and add the packet. Yet the Korean (and Japanese) approach is to add fresh ingredients to tart it up. Like BokkeumBap, it’s a good way to clean out your refrigerator.

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So why the Naembi?

Well, why serve cornbread in an iron skillet? Why serve paella in a paella pan? Why serve champagne in a fluted glass?

In my opinion, the Naembi gives a mass produced cheap product like Ramyeon a homey comfortable look and feel. The pan is easy to hold and transfer from stove to table. And the width gives the diner a steam facial as he slurps the noodles.

What do you think? Have you had it this way? Does the pot make a difference?

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