Jjajangmyun (짜장면) is Team SnackFever's only companion on Black Day (April 14), Korea's official single-awareness day.
Needless to say, we consider ourselves experts on jjajangmyun, as we've spent considerable time with it. Here are some tips for eating jjajangmyun as you await the arrival of your limited Black Day Box, which comes with packaged, DIY, and alternative jjajangmyun options!
1. Choose your sauce additions and toppings
Just like a pizza ... kind of. Cook up some chopped onions, carrots, or zucchinis in light oil over a pan, then add them to the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for a bit longer before you pour the delicious concoction all over the awaiting noodles! You can do the same with meat. Chop up pork (or beef or chicken) into small pieces, cook it in light oil over a pan, and add to the simmering sauce. The Black Day Box also includes a can of jjajang tuna, so be sure to try it out with your DIY jjajangmyun or with rice! Cucumber and even an egg (hard-boiled or fried) work well as fresh garnishes atop the steaming bowl of jjajangmyun.
2. Paired with sweet & sour crispy pork or beef, aka tangsuyuk
Tangsuyuk and jjajangmyun are a tale as old as time -- no one knows when the first person paired these two together, but we are very grateful that they did. The dish features deep fried strips of pork or beef, and it comes with a sweet syrup either poured over the meat or on the side.
3. With the right banchan (side dishes)
- Chopped raw onion & sweet bean (chunjang) sauce: Pour a light amount of vinegar over the onion to neutralize some of the sharpness. Then, dip the pieces in the jjajang sauce before you pop them in your mouth!
- Yellow radish, aka danmuji: A sweet, tangy, and refreshing side dish that complements the savory jjajang sauce.
- Kimchi: Obviously.
4. A pinch or two of chili powder
This tip is for those who want a bit of heat with their jjajangmyun! Just mix in the bit of chili powder, and you're good to go.
5. If you're really hungry and can deal with spicy foods, add a bowl of jjamppong.Jjamppong is a spicy seafood noodle dish, usually made with the same noodles that go into jjajangmyun. It's also one of the most popular dishes in Korea right now! If tangsuyuk is like Robin to jjajangmyun's Batman, jjamppong is the spicy Superman. For some Koreans, they have to make a hard decision to choose between the two. For others, why not both?
6. No noodles? Eat it with rice!
If you're more of a rice person, then jajang bap is a great second option!
7. Mixing the sauce and noodles takes practice
We cannot stress this last point enough. Jjajang sauce is thick and dark, and an unskilled individual could very well end up staining their clothing. Take your time getting to know how the sauce and noodles come together. Use a chopstick in each hand if required to slowly churn the noodles inside-out to make sure the sauce and toppings are evenly spread.
8. Don't slurp the noodles -- scoop with your chopsticks!
If you do slurp, be extra careful! The sauce can get everywhere! The safest and cleanest way is to scoop up just enough noodles with your chopsticks into your awaiting mouth. Follow the example below: