The ideal meal on a hot summer day:
* Arirang: This lovely upscale Korean barbecue restaurant, converted from a huge Pasadena warehouse, serves buckwheat noodles in a chilled soup (naeng myun) or on a plate in a spicy chile dressing (bibim naeng myun). (Cold noodle soup, $9.95; spicy cold noodle, $8.95.) Arirang Korean Restaurant, 114 W. Union St., Pasadena, (818) 577-8885.
* Taiko: At this stylish Japanese cafe in Brentwood Gardens, delicious cold soba noodles with a dipping sauce are served on particularly pretty tableware. (Basic cold soba noodles, $4.50.) Taiko, Brentwood Gardens, 11656 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 207-7782.
* Mishima: The lengthy menu at this bustling noodle house can be confusing at first, but it's basically simple: soba and udon noodles, hot or cold, with accompanying meats and vegetables in every possible combination. Try soba oroshi, with grated radish, dipping sauce and a small knob of wasabi. (Cold soba noodles, $4.50; combinations up to $8.50.) Mishima, 11301 Olympic Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 473-5297; 8474 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (213) 782-0181; 21605 S. Western Ave., Torrance, (310) 320-2089.
* The Rice and Noodle Shop: Stop in this small adjunct to the famous Mandarin for cold Shanghai noodles with sliced chicken, cucumbers and a rich peanut sauce. (Cold noodle, $6.35.) The Rice and Noodle Shop at the Mandarin, 430 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 859-0926.
* Seoul Jung: This lavish Korean restaurant, located in the Omni Hotel, is one of the prettiest downtown dining spots. Choose from two a la carte cold noodles: buckwheat noodles in a mild, chilled beef soup (naeng myun) and chilled buckwheat noodles in a hot and spicy sauce (bibim naeng myun). (Cold noodle soup, $10.50; spicy cold noodle, $10.75.) Seoul Jung, Omni Hotel, 930 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 688-7880.
* Chu's Mandarin: This upstairs restaurant at "The Great Mall of China" in San Gabriel makes supple, pleasantly resilient noodles with a lot of personality and taste. These excellent noodles are especially delicious cold, with shredded chicken, a special peanut sauce, bean sprouts and sesame seeds. (Cold noodles, $4.95.) Chu's Mandarin, 1140 W. Valley Blvd., #207, San Gabriel, (626) 572-6574.
* Kotohira: Some say Kotohira's delicate buckwheat soba noodles are the best to be had in the city--hot or cold. (Cold soba, $4.50.) Kotohira, 1747 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena, (310) 323-3966.