Whip up a refreshing bowl of Kimchi Bibim Guksu, spicy Korean cold noodles that'll fuel you up while beating the heat in just 15-minutes! This last-minute Korean dish is tangy, healthy, and so simple to put together that any beginner will feel like a pro in the kitchen!
Many noodles dishes can leave you feeling heavy and sluggish, but this dish is the exception to the rule! Kimchi Bibim Guksu noodles are so refreshing, spicy, and tangy… It’s the perfect summer dish when you want something light but still need noodles in your life.
What is Bibim Guksu Made of?
Bibim Guksu is made of thin chewy wheat noodles tossed in a quick, light, and tangy sauce that ties everything together. Here's what you'll need:
- Soy Sauce: Adds saltiness along with the depth of flavor. You can use low-sodium or regular soy sauce.
- Gochujang: You can buy it in various spice levels depending on how spicy you like your food. Keep in mind that you can always make it spicier with chili flakes, but if it's too spicy, you may need to add more honey to dilute the heat.
- Gochugaru: These Korean chili flakes are mild and help thicken your sauce, along with the gochujang.
- Honey: The gochujang adds some sweetness already, so I add just a touch of honey since I don't have much of a sweet tooth, however, adjust the sauce to your liking! If you prefer your sauce sweeter, add more honey.
- Sesame Oil: A little goes a long way here for a subtle nutty depth of flavor.
- Rice Vinegar: Just a splash helps balance the sweetness of the honey and gochujang.
- Kimchi & Kimchi Brine: Kimchi and its brine add a burst of freshness throughout the Bibim Guksu. If you could use aged kimchi, you'll have a more flavorful sauce.
Typically, kimchi Bibim Guksu is made with thin wheat noodles, such as somyeon or somen noodles, which could be found at local Asian markets. They're thin, cook quickly, and pair so well with the refreshing sauce.
If you have trouble finding them, you can use buckwheat or soba noodles instead. Just keep in mind - the thinner the noodles, the more attention they'll need while cooking to avoid overcooking.
No one likes mushy noodles!
How to Make It
Step 1: Make the Sauce
In a mixing bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients until smooth, then set aside
Step 2: Cook Noodles
Boil a pot of water and boil noodles according to the package instructions. Typically, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes but be sure to keep an eye on them, especially if they're very thin because they'll cook quickly.
Once they're done, drain the noodles and either rinse or submerge them under cold water. This stops the cooking process and makes them cold for the dish.
Step: 3 Toss Together
Combine the noodles and sauce until fully coated.
Optional, if you have the extra time, you can add on toppings to make it an even more robust meal! See the "Variations & Substitutions" section below for more ideas.
Variations & Substitutions
Keep your Kimchi Bibim Guksu as simple or veggie-packed as you'd like! When I'm in a rush, I'll typically enjoy the noodles and sauce as is and it's delicious.
If I have the extra time though, I'll toss in more veggies and protein for exciting colors and textures! Here are a few ideas:
- Seared meat
- Soft boiled eggs
- Sliced cucumbers
- Nori (seaweed) sheets
- Green onions
- Shredded lettuce
- Shredded cabbage
- Salad greens
- Thinly cut bell peppers
- Shredded carrots
- Toasted sesame seeds
- More kimchi!
What to Serve with Bibim Guksu
These spicy Korean cold noodles are SO good on their own as a filling meal or even as a refreshing side dish. Here are a few other entrees that pair well with these popular Korean noodles:
Let's Get Cooking!
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Kimchi Bibim Guksu (Spicy Korean Cold Noodles)
- 4 oz thin wheat noodles
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- ⅛ cup cabbage kimchi roughly chopped
- ¼ small cucumber julienned, optional for serving
- In a serving bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil then cook noodles according to packages’ instructions. Drain and rinse the or submerge the noodles in cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Toss noodles in sauce and top with sesame seeds, kimchi, and cucumber, if desired. Enjoy!
- Noodles: For quick recipes like this, I highly recommend using fresh noodles because they cook much faster than dry noodles! I use fresh wheat noodles for this recipe but feel free to swap it out with any fresh noodles you'd like. I get mine from my local Asian market in the refrigerated section.
- Gochujang: You can find it at local Asian and Korean markets and comes in various spice levels. It's becoming so popular that sometimes it's even in the Asian section of local grocery stores.
- Honey: I like adding just a touch of honey since I don't have much of a sweet tooth and the gochujang also has sweetness, however, taste the sauce and add more honey if you like your sauce sweeter.
- Toppings: Bulster your meal with additional vegetables and protein for even more nutrients, such as kimchi, thinly sliced cucumber, or boiled eggs. See the "Substitutions & Variations" section above for more topping ideas!
Exact calculations may vary. For the most accurate nutritional information, use your preferred nutrition calculator, actual ingredients, and quantities used for the recipe. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if more precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.