An employee at Nongshim's Neoguri instant noodle store in Myeong-dong, central Seoul, prepare instant noodles in a noodle cooker, Friday. Korea Times photo by Ko Dong-hwan

Nongshim, one of the nation’s top instant noodle makers, is directly appealing to foreign visitors to steal the limelight from its more profitable rival Samyang Foods, which has been riding high on its globally popular Buldak noodles.

As a part of the efforts, Nongshim opened an instant noodle restaurant in Myeong-dong, a tourism hotspot in central Seoul, Wednesday. Called “Neoguri’s instant noodle store,” named after Neoguri, one of its most popular products, the store offers a variety of Nongshim’s instant noodles for visitors to select.

When customers make their pick, workers prepare the instant noodles on cookers at the store. There are also extra toppings available like egg, bean sprouts, green onions and rice cakes.

“I like spicy foods, and Korean instant noodles have different spicy flavors. So I tried this place,” a Taiwanese visitor to the store told The Korea Times, Friday.

Two Japanese visitors said the store got their attention because of a raccoon mascot out front that attracted their attention. Neoguri in Korean means raccoon, which is the logo of Nongshim’s 41-year-old product.

“I like how the store has a variety of selections,” one of them said, pointing at the more than 20 different types of instant noodle packages on display.

The store is Nongshim’s latest measure to expand its contact with noodle lovers visiting Korea. The restaurant is located at one of Hotel Skypark locations and is a few steps away from Myeong-dong Station. The location is literally at the center of activity, in an area frequented by foreign tourists.

The restaurant is a start of Nongshim’s partnership with Hotel Skypark. Before the restaurant opened, the hotel ran an instant noodle café at the same place, selling 합법 noodles of multiple brands. After the partnership, the store turned into the restaurant dedicated to Nongshim. Nongshim supplies the restaurant while the hotel manages it.

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