Little pork morsels hiding in an oeeewy, gooey pitch-black sauce sitting on top of a bed of hand-pulled chewy noodles. Nope, it is not (overpriced) squid ink pasta, but something a whole lot better. Something sweeter, and rich in flavor. Imagine a thick ragu sauce filled with veggies and thick chunks of fatty pork, great on rice or noodles. It’s a mystery when you grab each morsel of goodness because each bite size piece is covered in the rich black sauce. Yes, I am talking about the Jajangmyeon, aka Korean black bean noodles!!!!
This summer, I had the opportunity to try Jajengmyeon for the first time. I have been anticipating to try these noodles for a VERY, VERY, VERY long time. After I watched a random Youtube video two years ago, I have been waiting for an opportunity to get the chance to try my own bowl of Jajengmyeon. The problem was there were virtually no Korean restaurants that served Jajangmyeon noodles. I read dozens of Jajangmyeon recipes and it was to the point that I could almost imagine how it was going to taste.
When I finally tried the big bowl noodles at a random food court of a Korean Supermarket, it was exactly how I imagined it would taste. Just the way the sauce coated the sturdy noodle. It was a perfect marriage of combining carb & pork together. This is actually one of my favorite foods currently, which is ironic because it is made of black beans. Growing up, I hated black bean sauce in any Chinese food. It was too strong for my palate, and I hated the texture of the beans in my food. However, Jajangmyeon sauce is made with a smooth paste which solves my disdain for large black beans in my food.
So you can imagine how excited I was when I found a small Korean store inside a two-story Chinese Supermarket. It is only about two blocks away from my apartment. I have been walking pass this Supermarket every day for a month and a half now and until last week I realized it’s existence. The supermarket entrance looks like a pathway into a sketchy warehouse. It was only until last week, I saw a few ladies walking out, each lady carrying loads of grocery bags when I finally made the connection.
A few days ago, I went to the store to pick up some ingredients to make a simple stir fry. On my way out, I just had this inclination to check the Korean store and I found a box of black bean paste. It was kind of a gamble, considering that most sauces in a box are kind of terrible, but the benefits of having Jajangmyeon outweigh any bad outcome. Plus, I was able to purchase fresh hand-pulled noodles from a noodle vendor stall from the same market. Purchasing the box of black bean paste literally changed the course of my day as I made Jajangmeyon during the afternoon and took awesome photos for this blog post.
Recipe for Jajangmyeon
- 1/2 Big zucchini or 2 small ones
- 1 medium sized peeled potato
- 1/2 carrot
- 1/2 onion
- 1 C of pork (traditionally it is the pork belly)
- 2T vinegar
- 3T Brown sugar
- 3T oil
- 1/3 cup of black bean sauce
- sesame seeds (optional)
- Chinese hand pulled noodles
This blog should spark your Jajangmyeon interest at least a little. It may not look like the most appetizing entree, but trust me, looks can be deceiving. It’s kind like walking into the sketchy warehouse market or buying the box sauce. It was a risk, but the risk definitely paid off.
I will be posting an update about what I have been up to soon. Stay tuned, and eat good my friends!!!