Safe bets include soondae, doenjang jjigae (normally, anyways), and jjajangmyeon - all of which can be found year-round. Offered seasonally would be cold noodles (ie. 물냉면/mul naengmyeon) - a heat-relieving favourite for scorching summers.
Owing to above-seasonal temperatures, it was still very much a fan favourite when I finally got around to visiting in 40-degree weather.
Within fifteen minutes of opening, Cho Sun Ok was found to host coiling lineups around its exterior. In spite of the heat, enthusiastic diners camped outside in the shade for their turn. Miss Rushka arrived first and joined the waiting list; approximately twenty minutes passed before our number was called - not bad considering the chaos that was taking place before our eyes.
The request for mildness was perhaps the more informed choice of the two, since I was later informed that the sauce dissipated into the broth at a rate that was startling even for a regular intaker of spice.
Most tables received at least four to five banchan (side dishes), ranging from the standard kimchi to seaweed salad and creamy potato salad. We were merely offered two: a small snippet of fiery kimchi and a handful of radish slivers coated with red pepper flakes. The former had my mouth up in flames and immediately running for the Thai Iced Tea I secured prior; the latter was crunchy, pickled, and inflicted much less of a reaction.
Sweat beads that had formed along our foreheads vanished within minutes of slurping up the noodles. The contents of the bowl were satisfactory in both depth of flavour and portion size. Neither of us were able to finish them in entirety.
I received an odd glance at a request for a takeout container, and for good reason too. The noodles had eventually soaked up the remainder of the broth when I unveiled the sour-smelling contents at home several hours later.
Instead of heading for injeolmi-topped flakes, several hours were spent at One Ten with a tall cup of Kyoho Cold Brew in hand.
Not only do I owe her an enormous favour for assisting and supporting me throughout this battle, but a giant dose of appreciation for making last-minute alterations to our catch-up plans.
Energy depleted, I snapped up a portion of Oreo Egg Waffles before packing up. One Ten had gained Instagram fame from their Maca-Matcha, a matcha latte topped with pink macarons, so I had wondered whether the quality of their snacks would live up to this standard.
Original Egg Waffles were a mere three dollars, while specialty variations such as Matcha and Ferrero Rocher raked in at four and five dollars respectively. This was a fair price, especially considering the gradual inflation at Pacific Mall.