짜장면 (jjajangmyeon), aka black bean noodles

Jjajangmyeon (photo by moriza, courtesy Wikipedia)

Later in the week you’ll understand why I chose to highlight this food today. But even without another reason jjajangmyeon, or black bean noodles, is a popular dish in Korea. Wikipedia says, “With about 100 years of history, Jajangmyeon is called one of the “national foods” of South Korea. As of 2009 March, six million servings of Jajangmyeon are sold in South Korea per day, and it was chosen as one of the top 100 ‘Korean cultural symbols’ by the South Korean Government in 2006.”

I was first introduced to this dish while watching “Be Strong, Geum-Soon.” At one point, the two main characters are eating this dish at a restaurant and it looked so good, that I had to try it. (Korean dramas have helped me become  more adventurous cook.) So after a trip to the Korean market to buy the right noodles and already prepared jjajang sauce, the experiment commenced.

Well, the results were only so-so and I was sad that we didn’t like this dish more. Then I realized that I’d forgotten to add a tablespoon of sugar at the end, which explains the bitter taste that my dish had. So a couple of months ago, I decided to try jjajangmyeon at our favorite Korean restaurant. My version didn’t compare; their version was yum!

The easiest way to share a recipe for this dish is to refer you to Maangchi’s Web site. The jjajangmyeon recipe can be found here. Not only will you get the recipe but you’ll be able to a video of her preparing the dish.

I wasn’t able to convince my family to try a bite of these yummy noodles at the restaurant. I wonder if they’ll try them again if I make them at home. I think I see another experiment in the future.

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