Today, I have a simple and refreshing summer recipe to share with you. It’s called memil-guksu, a cold soba dish served with a delicious dipping sauce. This dish is perfect for hot weather as it’s easy to prepare and cools you down. All you need to do is cook the noodles and serve them with a chilled dipping sauce. Simply dip the noodles in the sauce and enjoy!

While this dish originates from Japan, it is very popular among Koreans as well. To make the traditional dipping sauce, you’ll need a few Japanese ingredients that are readily available in Asian markets. The main ingredient is tsuyu sauce, which is made from a blend of soy sauce, mirin, dried kelp, and dried bonito flakes. Some of you might be wondering why I don’t provide a recipe for making the sauce from scratch. Well, in Korea, it’s common for people to buy the sauce rather than making it at home. It’s easily accessible and reasonably priced. However, if you prefer, you can try creating a similar sauce using Korean ingredients. Just keep in mind that tsuyu sauce comes in different concentrations. The one I use is already diluted, but I dilute it even further with water to create a broth-like dipping sauce, resembling a cold noodle soup.

Tsuyu sauce

As for the soba noodles, they are also easy to find in Korean and Japanese brands. These noodles are made from buckwheat and typically contain wheat flour and starch, making them slightly elastic. It’s important to note that they are not entirely gluten-free due to the addition of wheat flour and starch.

soba noodles
Japanese Soba
soba noodles
Korean Soba

Finally, don’t forget the wasabi (known as gochu-naengi in Korean) to add a kick of heat to your dish. You can purchase a large bag of wasabi powder, which will last you for years!

I hope you enjoy the summer and have a wonderful time slurping these delicious noodles!


For 2 servings

  • 3 bundles (about 390 grams) of soba (buckwheat noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi sauce (from a tube of paste or made from wasabi powder)
  • 2 ounces (about 60 grams) peeled daikon or Korean radish
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 sheet of gim (seaweed paper)
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon tsuyu sauce
  • ½ cup icy cold water
  • About ½ cup ice cubes, optional


Prepare wasabi, daikon, gim, and tsuyu sauce

  1. Combine 2 teaspoons wasabi powder and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Mix well and cover. Set aside.
wasabi sauce
  1. Grate the daikon and transfer to a strainer over a bowl. Set aside.
Grated daikon
  1. Toast the both sides of the seaweed paper until it’s very crunchy. Shred thinly with kitchen scissors, and keep it in a plastic bag to keep it from getting soggy. Set aside
shredded seaweed
  1. Combine the tsuyu sauce and the cold water in a small bowl. Stir it to mix well. Set aside.
Tsuyu sauce

Cook the noodles

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Stir them with a wooden spoon to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Soba Noodles cooking
  1. Cover and cook for 6 to 7 minutes over medium high heat. If it boils over, crack the lid a bit or keep it off.
  2. About 6 minutes later, take a sample of the noodles and taste it. If it’s cooked nicely, remove from the heat. If it’s still a little uncooked, cook 1 or 2 minutes longer.
soba cooking
  1. Drain the noodles through a strainer. Rinse them under cold running water, rubbing with both hands until the noodles get cold and not slippery anymore. As a final step, fill a large bowl with cold water with some ice cubes, to make the noodles very cold and chewier.
  2. Drain and make 6 equal size bundles. Place them on a bamboo mat on a large platter.
  3. Sprinkle some chopped green onion over top of each bundle and add some shredded gim, too.
Memil Guksu


  1. Divide the sauce into 2 bowls. Add the grated daikon, green onion, a few ice cubes to each bowl.
  2. Place the noodle platter along with the wasabi sauce in the center of the table. Prepare an individual plate, chopsticks for each person.
Soba Noodles

How to eat

  1. Take a bundle of the noodles with chopsticks and transfer to an individual plate. Take some noodles, dip them into the sauce, and eat. When the bundle on your plate is done, take another. If you find the melting ice has diluted the dipping sauce, you can add some more tsuyu sauce if you want.
  2. Once your noodles are done, you can drink the sauce! Enjoy the cool noodles!

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One Comment:

  1. Toto Bonn, Germany joined 6/10 & has 37 comments

    It reminds me of my very youth, when I started cooking Asian dishes. I was about 12 years old and my parents have always been kind of skeptical, if all the strange dishes would really taste. (Most of them did!)
    I remember, reading a Japanese recipe for soba and they said, many Japanese drink the noodle- cooking water, due to its healthy aspects. So I tried it… and never drank it again, hahaha but the dish itself has always been one of my favourite summer dishes.
    Thank you so much!

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