September 9, 2019

My Favorite Noodles

Jjajangmyeon: a popular Chinese/Korean noodle dish served with thick, hand cut noodles and a thick, black bean, pork and veggie-filled sauce. It's a favorite amongst most Koreans but its origins are in China (it's a variation of the Northern Chinese zhajiangmian noodle dish).

It's usually served at Chinese restaurants that serve Chinese-Korean cuisine. However, it's hard not knowing which restaurants serve Chinese-Korean cuisine since not-your-average Chinese restaurants will serve these dishes (according to Wikipedia, they say Mandarin-Chinese restaurants may serve jjajangmyeon). My parents know all the good spots in the greater Chicagoland area but without insider's knowledge, it's tricky to find jjangmyeon in smaller cities throughout the U.S., which doesn't help me if I'm craving it. I've tried to make it in the past to very poor results.
It's been six years since I last tried to cook jjajangmyeon but after seeing this recipe calling for roasted black bean paste, I thought maybe that was the missing ingredient in my failed/disastrous attempts. But after this most recent attempt, I've realized that it's also very important to use pork belly (something I'm sure I've omitted in the past since I didn't know where to purchase it) and tons of onions.
This recent batch of jjangmyeon is the closest I've been to getting the flavors I crave when I'm missing this dish. Pork belly and lots of onions are a must and the roasted black bean paste did aid in the improved flavor. I'll call this my first attempt and look forward to trying other variations in the future to see which is the best.

The Recipe: Maangchi's Jjajangmyeon. I omitted daikon and potatoes and used peas instead of cucumber but would be curious to try daikon next time to see if it adds more flavor as she suggests.

Also the sauce is wonderful with rice instead of noodles.

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