Dishes (Santa Clara, CA)

7:30:00 AM

Dish(es) and Dash: Time to Spring Forward with Watermelon Naengmyeon

Now that the holidays (Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year) are over, lets get back to the fun stuff.


It’s the middle of August. It’s blistering hot outside and the California sun just won’t stop the heat. I was still working at my previous company during this time and the intern and I decided to grab a bite for lunch one day.

She wanted Korean food. So I took her to an old favorite: Lawrence Food Plaza.

Located in a Korean strip mall, it’s the best place to introduce someone new to Korean cuisine. Much like the food court you find at the mall, this place has a similar layout, but with all Korean food.

It gets really busy during lunch and dinner because the Galleria Supermarket, Paris Baguette and Jang Su Jang is also in the area, but parking shouldn’t be a problem as long as you don’t mind walking. Also, I try not to park in the closer rows simply because the spots are tight and people don’t watch where they’re walking.

When you enter the food court, Dishes is the shop on the far left corner with the bright orange walls. Their names, decor and menu screams “hip” and “young,” compared to the more subdued names and background of the other shops.

Though after eating at Seoul Jung so many times, I figured it’s time to give Dishes a try. The intern ordered the omurice and I ordered the naengmyeon.

Naengmyeon: (“cold noodles”) Buckwheat noodles in an icy cold broth. Usually served with some julienned cucumbers, hard boiled egg, slices of beef, pickled daikon and sesame seeds. It’s also served with a side of spicy mustard sauce.  On occasion, the broth could be so cold that there’s still icy chunks floating in the stainless-steel bowl.

They give you a buzzer and you go find a seat in the sea of tables. When the buzzer goes off, you go pick up your food. Water is self-served and located at the side of the stand. So when that buzzer went off, I was surprised-- or rather taken back by what I saw?

Huge chunks of floating watermelon
My naengmyeon had watermelon in it. Say what?!

I’ve read on Wikipedia before that sometimes they put Korean pear into the broth, but watermelon… that’s a first. But hey, this is California. We have an abundance of watermelon during the summer. It has an extremely high water content. So why not?

Taste wise, the watermelon didn’t leave a strong impression on the dish itself. But I ate the noodles and watermelon separately rather them combining them all in my mouth. Maybe that would’ve been the deciding factor, but it just made more sense to eat them separately.

The noodles have a good chew. Buckwheat noodles is definitely high on the list of “foods-that-can-kill-you” because you can-- and you probably will at one point choke on these noodles. Which is why they usually give you scissors to snip them into smaller lengths.

The soup is tangy, while the julienned cucumber, beef and pickled daikon give the noodles some texture. Overall, it was a fantastic dish. I would definitely recommend getting this when the weather warms up (not that it was ever cold this winter in the Silicon Valley) and see for yourself whether watermelon is a good addition to your naengmyeon.

This was my first time having watermelon in my naengmyeon. Anybody else ever had this experience? Fruit in noodle soup? Or was Dishes being creative that day?

3561 El Camino Real
Ste 15
Santa Clara, CA 95051

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