Today’s recipe is golbaengi-muchim, one of the most popular side dishes for drinking alcohol (anju) in Korea. Golbaengi-muchim is a sweet, sour, and spicy whelk salad that is enjoyed by many. Whelks are a type of edible sea snails that are high in protein and low in fat. Koreans typically use canned whelks (golbaengi) because they are pre-cooked and soaked in a sweet and savory brine, making them very convenient to use. The chewy texture of the whelks, when mixed with sweet, sour, and spicy seasonings and vegetables, creates a delicious flavor that is really amazing!

Canned golbaengi is widely available in Korean grocery stores worldwide, indicating its popularity among Koreans. However, many non-Koreans also enjoy this dish. Recently, I met a non-Korean American man who told me that golbaengi-muchim was his favorite dish at Korean bars. He was crazy about it!

I posted this recipe years ago, but this is a newly updated version. I’ve reduced the sweetness and added some of the brine from the can to the seasoning sauce. I used to discard the brine, but I found that it enhances the flavor of the dish.

Enjoy the recipe and let me know how yours turns out!

spicy whelks


Directions (for 2 servings)

Prepare the ingredients

  1. Combine green onion and onion in a bowl. Soak in cold water for 10-30 minutes to reduce the onion slices
  2. Rinse the green onion and onion under cold water until it’s curly and crisp. Drain well.
  3. Combine garlic, ginger, gochu-garu, gochujang, vinegar, rice syrup, salt, and soy sauce in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.golbaengi-muchim seasoning sauce
  4. Open the can of golbaengi and drain well, reserving ⅓ cup of the brine.
  5. Cut golbaengi into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.canned whelks

Cook the noodles

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over medium high heat and add the noodles. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  2. The noodles will float to the surface in 2 minutes. Stir them gently with a wooden spoon and cook for another minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and strain the noodles in a colander. Rinse them in cold running water, rubbing them with your hands to remove the starch. Drain well.
  4. Divide the noodles into 4 roughly equal portions. Roll each portion into a nice ball and place them together on a large plate.somyeon noodles

Put it all together

  1. Add the golbaengi, cucumber, green chili pepper, sliced onion and green onion to the seasoning sauce in the large bowl. Keep some shredded green onion behind to use as a garnish later. Add the sesame oil and mix well. spicy whelk seasoning
  2. Pour everything over top of the noodles on the plate.
  3. Add the pear over top and then the shredded green onion on top of the pear. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over top and serve right away.

Let’s serve!

  1. Everyone should get their own plate. Add some of the noodles, sauce, and golbaengi to their plates, toss with chopsticks, and enjoy!

golbaengi-muchim with noodles

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  1. Hi Maangchi! :) How long can you store golbaengimuchim until it goes bad?

  2. mionchia Singapore joined 2/14 & has 2 comments

    hello Maangchi !
    im a huge fan of ur korean cooking! Love how you make everything look so simple and easy to follow. Recently i managed to get my hands on the golbaengi and i want to make this recipe for my family but my family is small with only 3 people so i m wondering how long can this keep in the fridge if we cant finish it?

    Thanks alot !

  3. Renren Sydney joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    This is seriously good!!!!!!!!!deliciouoooooos!!! Thank u so much for the recipe!!!

  4. phyllis Pittsburgh joined 7/13 & has 1 comment

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s not anything we made at home growing up so my dad was so pleasantly surprised when I made it for lunch today!

  5. Nabi972 Dallas, TX joined 6/13 & has 2 comments

    My parents loved your recipe! They were delightfully surprised when I made this. Thank you, Maangchi!

  6. Maxxang Australian joined 10/12 & has 1 comment

    hi there Maangchi i like dish just wander what kind of vinegar use? cause my kinder bitter after i put vinegar in…

  7. This is one of my favorite dishes! YUM!

  8. Minji North Carolina joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

    Can you put beef or chicken instead of the welks??

  9. mikekim1219 China joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    Mangchi, I made whelks other day using your recipe and invited friend to share. It was great~! Since I retired I don’t eat out as often. I found you on youtube and now I do all my cooking using your recipe. Thanks a lot~!!

  10. jcsg Singapore joined 3/11 & has 6 comments

    I loved this when you prepared it in Singapore;P Hope to see you again soon!!

  11. angelitacarmelita Ashburn, Virginia joined 1/11 & has 1 comment


    This looks so good! I am lucky enough to be able to get fresh whelks at a Korean market near my home. How would I go about cooking them fresh before proceeding w/this recipe? (I’ve always wanted to know what to do w/them!). Thanks!

  12. piperjohn3 NYC joined 12/11 & has 10 comments

    Wow, Maangchi, another home run. I too think this is one of your best banchan.

    It’s got everything a spicy Asian food fan could ask for: hot, sweet, sour, crunchy, chewy, complexity of flavor. Just excellent.

    This recipe was the perfect opportunity to dust off my fancy French mandoline vegetable slicer. I used it to slice the cucumbers really thin and then julienned the carrots same width so they would be almost as thin as the buckwheat noodles. Then the onions same thin. Came out great, and I still have my fingertips!

    Interesting how pepper flakes are more flavoring than heat, but hot pepper paste is really spicy.

    Think using mandoline made it feel less homemade and from the heart, but this recipe is something I will treasure.


  13. Charmaine Singapore joined 6/11 & has 18 comments

    Hi maangchi! Can I just left out the hot pepper flakes ?

  14. sarielle Seattle, WA joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I made this for my mom for lunch, and it turned out perfect. It made her so very happy. Thank you from my mom and me!

  15. Preesi Philly, Pa joined 11/08 & has 10 comments

    This was so yummy but I could only eat 3 bites and then i had t stop…it was too spicy.I made it again today and used sweet peppers and half ketchup/half hot pepper paste instead of 1/4 cup hot pepper paste…
    It was a great lunch!

  16. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 51 comments

    Are those rice noodles? What are they called? This sauce is similar to the taste of Bibim naengmyon I think. Can I use buckwheat noodles too?

  17. chirp joined 9/09 & has 1 comment

    FYI, The majority of Canned Whelks from Korea actually come from Newfoundland, Ireland, Britain!

    Whelks seems to have gone under the radar or out of fashion over there, but they are as good as abalone(similar texture, more bolder in taste).

    So, if you live over there near the sea, just go to the docks and see if any fisherman has caught some of those tasty mollusks,

    watch this preparation video from the UK,

    and go for Maangchi’s Recipe.

    It’s gonna be a smashing. Even better than the canned ones.
    I do like the canned whelks but…….. they just don’t give justice to the taste of fresh whelk.

  18. tumtum88 UK joined 11/11 & has 2 comments

    i love whelks! this is an amazing dish – can’t wait to try it out~

  19. gmp73 joined 1/10 & has 6 comments

    Maangchi, that looks SOO delicioius!!

  20. MariskaLim Jakarta, Indonesia joined 2/11 & has 55 comments

    ah! new recipe! I’m drooling right now.. :9~~~

    Can I replace the whelk with clams or mussles?

  21. vb38 joined 7/10 & has 36 comments

    Korean canned whelk is simply so so delicious!!!! I was salivating all over my computer while watching the video!!!! Sometimes i just buy the spicy whelk and eat it out of the can!!!!!

  22. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    Oh this looks so good!!! I am definitely buying whelks so I can make this – knowing how much I love your other similar recipes this is going to be a huge hit. And a cold noodle dish is perfect for summer (which it nearly is here!) Thanks Maangchi :)

  23. soko2usa Minnesota joined 4/09 & has 55 comments

    Woo! New video! Maangchi – do you buy cooked canned whelks or raw canned whelks?

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