July 16, 2014
So the other day I was making Jajangmyeon and went into my blog archives for the recipe that I posted almost a year ago. To my horror, the instructions were TERRIBLE! I mean so bad that I was embarrassed to keep the recipe up. The image was broken, and the original photo was terrible. I wouldn’t think so much improvement with my posts would happen in such a short amount of time. But Jajangmyeon is one of my favorite dishes, and I just had to keep the world in the loop of this yummy dish. I originally grew up eating this because of my Aunt Hannah. She is Korean immigrant who married into my family. She would bring packages that looked like ramen that she called “Black Spaghetti.” She taught me her special way of cooking them. If I was in an Asian food market I would snatch up as many as I could. When I went to college in Philadelphia I had access to Korean restaurants. I became obsessed with finding one that would serve these black bean noodles. When I finally found one, I became sold on fresh jajangmyeon. They were pricey, so I learned how to make the noodles myself. Since I had it fresh, I found out those dinky ramen packets were pretty terrible. Continue reading
July 22, 2013
I first was exposed to it when I was little. My Aunt Hannah, who is Korean, brought over some “black spaghetti,” as she called it. The black spaghetti looked like packets of ramen, but instead of a soup, it was drained and covered in a sauce. I remember her teaching me the “best” way of cooking it, and going to the local Asian Market snatching them up. Fast forward to 2007. I watched the Korean Drama Coffee Prince. The first episode featured a Jjajangmyeon eat off, and dawned on me what my “black spaghetti” really was.
At the time, there weren’t many online sources for the dish and when checking out local Korean restaurant, none actually had the dish on their menu. The reason is that Jajangmyeon is based on a Chinese dish, Zhaziangmian. The original Zhaziangmian dish uses hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and various bean pastes to get the black sauce. The Korean version uses chunjang, which is a black bean sauce that is much sweeter than it’s Chinese counterpart. There are many differences, but today, you are likely to see Jajangmyeon at a Chinese restaurant in Korea. Think of it a little bit like General Tso in the US, distinctly American in it’s own right but you won’t find it anywhere other than a Chinese food shop.