Spicy whelks with noodles

Golbaengi-muchim 골뱅이무침

A few years ago, when I taught a cooking class at Whole Foods in New York, golbaengi-muchim  was one of the recipes on the menu. After finishing the class, I asked them which dish was the most delicious and the one they wanted to make as soon as they went home. Golbaengi-muchim came in second on next to Korean grilled beef ribs (LA galbi). I didn’t expect this dish to be so popular with my students, but it always is.

You can get a can of golbaengi (whelks) at a Korean grocery store, but if it’s not available in your area, you can replace it with any of your favorite seafoods: clams, mussels, scallops, or shrimps. You can serve this as a side dish to rice or noodles, and it’s also good party food. Make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. When your guests come, cook the noodles. When you’re ready to eat, place the noodles on a large plate and add golbaengi-muchim over top and sprinkle some sesame seeds. They’ll love it.


Are you going to a potluck party and you’re thinking about making this dish? Yes, that’s a great idea because it will be the most popular dish there! I once brought this to a potluck party in a park. I made sure my golbaengi-muchim, cooked noodles, disposable plastic gloves, sesame seeds, and a large plate were all kept separate. Carrying these 5 things separately is very important, because it keeps them fresh and delicious, and you’ll get lots of attention from the people at the party when you prepare it! When everybody was ready to eat, I put the plate on the table and added the noodles and golbaengi-muchim on top, and sprinkled sesame seeds.

I’m looking forward to hearing your golbaengi-muchim story! : )


Whelk (sea snail), cucumber, carrot, onion, green onions, garlic, green chili pepper, red chili pepper, salt, hot pepper flakes, hot pepper paste, honey, sugar, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, noodles.

Directions (for 4 servings)

Cooking time: 30 mins

Prepare ingredients:

  1. Rinse a can of whelks (golbaengi) in cold water, drain, and cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Put these vegetables into a bowl mixed with 1 ts salt and set aside:
    • Slice 1 Kirby cucumber into thin strips (1½ cup worth)
    • Slice ½ cup worth of carrot into thin strips
    • Slice ½ cup worth of onion thinly


Let’s make sweet sour spicy sauce in a bowl:

  1. Mix ¼ cup hot pepper paste, 2 tbs hot pepper flakes, 2 tbs vinegar, 1 tbs honey, 1 ts sugar, 1 tbs sesame oil, and 2 cloves minced garlic.
  2. Add 1 chopped green, 1 red chili pepper, and 2 stalks of chopped green onion to the sauce.
    *tip: Adjust the amount of hot pepper flakes or hot pepper paste to your taste. If you don’t like spicy food, skip them both and use soy sauce
  3. Boil water in a large pot for the noodles.
  4. Squeeze the excess water out of the vegetables and add to the sauce in the bowl.
  5. Add the whelks to the bowl and mix well with a spoon.

Cook noodles:

  1. Spread out about 3 oz (84 grams) noodles in the pot of boiling water. Stir them with a spoon to prevent them from sticking together. Close the lid.
  2. A few minutes later, they’ll start boiling over. Open the lid and stir the noodles. Cook a few minutes more with the lid open until they are cooked well.
    *tip: You can tell if they are cooked enough by taking a sample. The noodles are very hot, so add a few noodles to a small bowl filled with cold water to let them cool down before tasting. The noodles should be chewy and soft when you chew them.
  3. When the noodles are cooked, rinse them in cold water couple of times,strain them, and set aside. The noodles will expand and lose their chewiness as time passes, so the last step of preparing this dish is always cooking the noodles.

Let’s serve!

  1. Place the cooked noodles on a large plate and then ladle the spicy whelk over the noodles.
  2. Sprinkle 1 tbs roasted sesame seeds on top and serve.

golbaengi muchim


Spicy whelks with noodles



  1. piperjohn3 NYC joined 12/11
    Posted January 4th, 2012 at 9:53 pm | # |

    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.


    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 11th, 2012 at 1:26 am | # |

      Thank you for sharing your cooking experience! Happy cooking!

    • jsp73 joined 3/15
      Posted February 18th, 2017 at 9:07 pm | # |

      Mandoline… I considered that. Would make it so much easier. Would you make it that way again? I’m curious. I might try it that way. I’ve always followed the directions here to the letter.

  2. sarahjeon joined 11/15
    Posted November 17th, 2015 at 8:34 am | # |

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

  3. mionchia Singapore joined 2/14
    Posted February 21st, 2014 at 1:06 am | # |

    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 !

  4. Renren Sydney joined 8/13
    Posted August 30th, 2013 at 4:31 am | # |

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

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 30th, 2013 at 9:36 am | # |

      You made this dish, yes, it’s so delicious!

  5. phyllis Pittsburgh joined 7/13
    Posted July 29th, 2013 at 1:44 pm | # |

    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!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 31st, 2013 at 10:16 am | # |

      It must have been very delicious! Congratulations!

  6. Nabi972 Dallas, TX joined 6/13
    Posted June 21st, 2013 at 12:21 am | # |

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

  7. Maxxang Australian joined 10/12
    Posted October 15th, 2012 at 10:46 am | # |

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

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 22nd, 2013 at 1:09 pm | # |

      I like to use apple vinegar but sometimes use white vinegar, too.

  8. Dinaripper joined 5/09
    Posted September 20th, 2012 at 1:14 pm | # |

    This is one of my favorite dishes! YUM!

  9. Minji North Carolina joined 5/12
    Posted May 27th, 2012 at 10:58 am | # |

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

  10. mikekim1219 China joined 3/12
    Posted March 13th, 2012 at 3:56 am | # |

    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~!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 14th, 2012 at 9:52 am | # |

      awesome! This is a great dish for a party.

  11. jcsg Singapore joined 3/11
    Posted January 14th, 2012 at 1:32 am | # |

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

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 14th, 2012 at 9:54 am | # |

      oh~ you were there. : ) Yes, I hope we meet again someday, too!

  12. angelitacarmelita Ashburn, Virginia joined 1/11
    Posted January 10th, 2012 at 2:06 pm | # |


    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!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 11th, 2012 at 1:25 am | # |

      Cook it first and cut into bite sized pieces before using.

  13. Charmaine Singapore joined 6/11
    Posted January 1st, 2012 at 11:26 am | # |

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

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 11th, 2012 at 1:27 am | # |

      You can skip it but it will be more delicious with hot pepper flakes.

  14. sarielle Seattle, WA joined 12/11
    Posted December 6th, 2011 at 5:01 pm | # |

    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!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 6th, 2011 at 6:26 pm | # |

      Adorable! I’m so happy to hear that you and your mom enjoyed this recipe!

  15. Preesi Philly, Pa joined 11/08
    Posted December 5th, 2011 at 12:48 pm | # |

    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!


    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 6th, 2011 at 1:16 am | # |

      It looks very tasty! Yummy!

  16. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09
    Posted December 3rd, 2011 at 1:37 pm | # |

    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
    Posted December 2nd, 2011 at 4:13 pm | # |

    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, http://youtu.be/o2By8AJ9U94

    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.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 6th, 2011 at 1:31 am | # |

      Thank you for sharing the tip buy for some reason, golbaengi muchim dish is usually made with canned golbaengi.

  18. tumtum88 UK joined 11/11
    Posted November 30th, 2011 at 6:28 am | # |

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

  19. gmp73 joined 1/10
    Posted November 29th, 2011 at 1:05 pm | # |

    Maangchi, that looks SOO delicioius!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 30th, 2011 at 10:01 pm | # |

      I made this dish for my Singapore meetup. Everybody loved it. Delicious!

  20. MariskaLim Jakarta, Indonesia joined 2/11
    Posted November 29th, 2011 at 9:25 am | # |

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

    Can I replace the whelk with clams or mussles?

    • Mikura New Haven, CT joined 6/09
      Posted November 29th, 2011 at 2:47 pm | # |

      I’ve seen this with octopus or squid served as banchan in Korean restaurants….its one of my favorites!

      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
        Posted November 30th, 2011 at 10:01 pm | # |

        yeah, you are right! You can replace whelks with octopus, squid, or clams. yum!

  21. vb38 joined 7/10
    Posted November 29th, 2011 at 8:46 am | # |

    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!!!!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 30th, 2011 at 10:00 pm | # |

      oh it sounds like you have already tasted this dish before! : ) I’m excited to see the photo of your golbaengi muchim!

  22. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11
    Posted November 28th, 2011 at 10:39 pm | # |

    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 :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 30th, 2011 at 9:59 pm | # |

      Let me know how it turns out. Happy cooking!

  23. soko2usa Minnesota joined 4/09
    Posted November 28th, 2011 at 9:12 am | # |

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


Leave a Reply