What I love about jajangmyun is rich black sauce, fully fried onions and other vegetables, and chewy noodles. Simply that’s everything that jajangmyun is about. I remember being quietly crazy about jajangmyun when I was a kid. My uncle actually ran a Korean style Chinese restaurant, junggukjip, in my hometown Kumi, S. Korea where their main dishes are jjajangmyeon and jjamppong. He himself made noodles from scratch and to me, they were the best noodles.
My family never abused the fact that we could have jajangmyun for free any time we wanted and luckily never had too much jajangmyun there. Jajangmyeon is one of the dishes that I never want to get tired of, so I’m grateful that I started to enjoy it early but never had too much at my uncle’s.
- Some Koreans add red Korean pepper powder on Jjajangmyun.
Jajangmyun (짜장면, also spelled Jajangmyeon, jjajangmyeon or jjajangmyun) is a Korean noodle dish topped with thick black sauce made of black soybean paste, chunjang. It’s believed that the dish, derived from Chinese dish zhajiang mian, was first introduced to Koreans in the late 19th century in Incheon, one of the main port cities of S. Korea. It became very popular among Koreans especially after the Korean War because it’s very easy to make and yet it’s tasty - it was people’s food. Even though jajangmyun originated from a Chinese dish, it took on its own identity, developing its own taste, especially in the sauce. Oh, it’s slightly less greasy, at least, to me.
After 50-minute jogging, I had instant jjajangmyun for dinner last night. As much as I love to have it in an authentic Korean style Chinese restaurant, I just don’t have a lot of opportunities. It’s mainly because I haven’t found a great restaurant, junggukjip in Koreatown, Los Angeles yet.
I usually satisfy my urge with semi-instant jajangmyeon, jjapageti or jjajjaroni. Instant jajangmyeon is less healthy and less tasty, but if you want quick and easy-to-make one, these are the ones that you want to try. Out of those two, jjapageti is generally preferred.
There is a couple of - kind of major - drawbacks about instant jajangmyeon. One, this small jajangmyeon package has about 500 calories, and two, even with such high calories, it doesn’t have a lot of nutrients. To me, it’s almost categorized as a comfort food.
When I have this instant jajangmyun, I do one of these two things not to feel guilty about it. Either I run or jog at least 30 minutes before I eat this, or I have lots of vegetables before having jjajangmyeon. Of course, all these rules are not followed when I have real jjagjangmyun in a good Chinese restaurant.