K-Recipe: Cold Korean Pasta Before Summer Goes

by Isabel Bang

In the Western palate, some find it weird to have cold dish menus unless it’s a salad bowl. In Korea on the other hand, there are plenty of cold dishes and many of them are cold noodle dishes with the most famous being Naengmyeon. Even with pasta, you can get an amazing cold dish - and I don’t mean our usual boring pasta salad. 


Perilla Pasta would probably be the most “Korean” cold pasta dish you could find, if not the only one. This recipe has been invented by a Korean singer/entertainer Sung Si-kyung a couple of years ago, in a TV show called “Delicious Rendezvous”. In an episode where the panels had to share recipes with perilla leaves, Si-kyung starred as a guest and amazed the crew with his cooking talents.

SBS | Delicious Rendezvous

Already known as a great cook, Sung Si-kyung has often been making appearances in cooking shows. He even has his own YouTube channel filled with his music and cooking videos. This Perilla Pasta recipe was developed on the spot in the show, which added different kicks to the dish to make it so perfect in the end! Honestly, I thought the Perilla Leaf Pesto itself was a mind-blowing idea, but the chilli oil that he made near the end was the grandest finale - watch the video!

MK Health

In case some of you aren’t familiar with perilla leaves, I’ll walk you through. These minty herbs are also called ‘sesame leaves’ and they can grow in most countries, but it’s known that Korea is the only country that uses them in food. Since I’m from a Korean family that enjoys Korean cuisines, I’ve grown up with perilla leaves all my life. Because of its board spade-like shape, it has multiple uses in different dishes such as for K-barbeque wraps, pickled as side dishes, stir-fried, and deep fried as well! It has a grassy and pungent taste to it, with a very slight bitter aftertaste. Because today’s dish has a bunch of perilla leaves thrown in it, the flavours might be very novel for many of you. But cooking with an unknown herb may feel a little nervous but also pretty exciting, right? Since it’s a herb from the mint family, these leaves are super refreshing when you have it fresh - hence why it’s such a good combo with K-BBQ! Using herbs for cold pasta is just the summer dish to freshen up the dinner table under the scorching sun ☀️ 

I’ll warn you here that today’s recipe is not a simple 5-minute one like what we usually have for you. There are simplified versions of this on the internet, but I’d rather tell you the original full recipe from Sung Si-kyung for best results!



 Perilla Pesto
  • Perilla Leaves (10 leaves)
  • Pine Nuts or Almonds (1 handful)
  • Garlic (4 cloves)
  • Olive Oil (½ cup)
  • Parmesan Cheese (1 Tbsp)
  • Anchovy Sauce or Fish Sauce (1 Tbsp)


  • Perilla Leaves (10 leaves)
  • Bacon (1-2 slice)
  • Spaghetti (1 serving)
  • Peperoncino (6) or Red Pepper Flakes (1-2 Tbsp)
  • Chilli Powder (2 Tbsp)
  • Cooking Oil (2 Tbsp) & Olive Oil (2 Tbsp)
  • Perilla Oil or Sesame Oil (1 Tbsp)
  • Salt (a pinch)
  • Egg Yolk (1 yolk)


  1. For the pesto, blend chopped perilla leaves, pine nuts, chopped garlic, and olive oil all together. (Tip: roast the pine nuts on a dry pan for a few minutes before blending for richer flavours.)
  2. On the blended pesto, add the parmesan cheese and anchovy sauce and mix. Leave aside.
  3. Chop the bacon in thin slices and on a pan with the mix of cooking oil & olive oil, fry the bacon until slightly golden. (Tip: we’re using both types of oils to capture both rich oiliness and aroma!)
  4. Just before taking the bacon out, add peperoncino to the pan and cook for a minute with the bacon.
  5. When all cooked, remove the bacon & peperoncino from the pan and turn off the heat. On the leftover heated oil, add the chilli powder and stir to make chilli oil.
  6. Cook pasta in boiling water for 7-8 minutes, and rinse under ice-cold water when cooked.
  7. Add perilla oil & a pinch of salt on the cold pasta and mix well.
  8. Very thinly chop perilla leaves before placing them on the dish with the pasta, bacon, and peperoncino. 
  9. Pour a preferred amount of the perilla pesto, and finish off by placing an egg yolk on the pasta.

It is a bit of work, but the end result will be beautiful for both the eye and the tastebuds! If you like trying new fusion dishes, it’s most definitely worth a try. Watch this recipe video if you need visual guidance, and give this cold pasta a try before the summer goes. You’ll end up sending a thank you DM to Sung Si-kyung for his greatest invention 👏

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