I love Chinese food.
While growing up in Korea, I loved Chinese-Korean food so much that I decided to learn Chinese just so that I could walk into a Chinese restaurant and order in Mandarin.
One of my favorite Korean-Chinese dishes is jajangmyun. This is usually the first thing I always want to eat when I come home.
The basic ingredients are black bean paste, lots of onions, pork, and thick noodles. You also might find potato cubes, shrimp, and sea cucumber depending on the restaurant.
It’s difficult to get good jajangmyun outside of Korea. I’ve tried to make it at home but it never turns out the same and the pre-made ones you can get in Korean grocery stores are too sweet for my liking.
If you want to make it at home, buy black bean paste (not black bean sauce) and heat a couple of table spoons of it with vegetable oil in a skillet until the paste bubbles up. Set the paste aside and saute ground pork (slightly marinated with garlic, ginger, and a bit of beer) with onions. Add other ingredients as you wish (sometimes I add zucchini and peppers) and incorporate the paste and thick udon noodles (boiled and drained) at the end. You can top the noodles with julienned cucumbers or sprouts.
This bowl of jajangmyun is from my favorite Korean-Chinese restaurant in Seoul.
Doesn’t it look yummy? I’ve loved this place since I was six years old!
Maybe the reason why I crave these noodles so much is because it reminds me of my childhood.
I would ALWAYS have it at least once a week with my grandparents. I would eat the noodles enthusiastically, slathering my face with black bean sauce but then instantly felt guilty that a nice pink napkin had to be ruined because of me. The restaurant now has retired their pink napkins but the noodles are still tasty.
I wonder if I take a model of the noodles with me my craving for the real thing will lessen.