Jjajangmyeon (짜장면) (Black Bean Noodles) is a Chinese cuisine that has been modified to fit the Korean style of cooking and is now available in most Chinese restaurants across South Korea. It has become a popular dish among Koreans. In South Korea, it is estimated that approximately 7 million bowls of JJajangmyeon are sold every day.
Jjajangmyeon in detail
Jjajangmyeon is a non-spicy meal consisting of thick noodles (made from white wheat flour) served with a thick dark brown sweet sauce prepared from chunjang (춘장) paste, a salty black bean soybean paste stir-fried with chopped onions, minced pork/beef, and occasionally with other vegetables.
Before eating, the sauce is usually put on top of the noodles, and individuals use chopsticks to mix the noodles with the sauce. The art of mixing the noodles is something that is fascinating. Danmuji (단무지– pickled radish) is a bright and sweet side dish that is frequently served with this meal. The danmuji helps to keep the meal from becoming too greasy.
History of Jjajangmyeon
Chinese immigrants began arriving in Incheon, a port city west of Seoul that is now known as Incheon, around the end of the 19th century. Incheon began to see an influx of Chinese restaurants.
According to folklore, in 1905, a Chinese restaurant in Incheon Chinatown named Gonghwachun began serving Jjajangmyeonn, which was based on the Chinese zhajiangmian (炸醬麵 – fried sauce noodles) from the Shandong area of China. Not long after, the restaurant started adding caramel to the Jjajangmyeon sauce to make it sweeter in order to appeal to Korean tastes. They were right in making that decision as now Jjajangmyeon has become an extremely famous Koreanized Chinese dish.
In the 1950s and 1960s. people used wheat purchased from the United States to make noodles , following the Korean War, and jajangmyeon expanded to other regions of South Korea at the time.
A bowl of Jjajangmyeon cost 15 won in the 1960s, when South Korea was still a poor country, and was considered costly at the time. This is why Korean only used to eat the meal on special occasions. Although Jjajangmyeon has gotten more affordable in recent times, many Korean families continue to follow this practise. As a result, eating Jjajangmyeon not only fills one’s stomach but also brings back memories for many Koreans.
Fun fact, In South Korea, you can order Jjajangmyeon by phone and the dish will be delivered to your home, office, hotel, other restaurants and even parks where you are located. This easy and quick service makes these people more famous than they already were.