Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Jjajangmyeon / Black Sauce Noodles

Korean Chinese food is similar to American Chinese food in the fact that neither are Chinese food. They are booth abstract interpretations on a theme. There is nothing traditionally "authentic" about either style, but both are beautiful creations if you just let them be who they are and don't try to understand them as Chinese food.

One of the most popular Korean Chinese dishes is called jjajangmyeon (짜장면) and it's like the hamburger in the US - it's essentially fast food, it's everywhere and comes in varying levels of quality. Personally, I don't often eat this dish because - when made poorly - it gives me a stomach ache. However, when it's done right it darn taste. Once again, it mirrors the hamburger.

Recently, by sheer luck, I found - arguably - the best jjajangmyeon (짜장면) joint in town. Not just because the black sauce noodles are top-notch, but because the dumplings and shrimp friend rice are addictive as well. For weeks now I've been craving this place and fighting the urge to stop everyday on the way home from work. The only thing that has kept me away is that I already had plans or my fridge was full of food.

The jjajang was smooth, not bitter and not sweet. They also didn't go too crazy with the onions and cut up the other vegetables perfectly. Often the way the vegetables are cut is one of my biggest complaints, but here it's done right. They also treat the noodles very well: cooked perfectly, not too oily, and no clumping.

However, if you don't want noodles - the item we most highly recommend is the shrimp fried rice (새우볶음밤)which comes with a side of jjajang sauce. It's the best of all worlds. This fried rice isn't oily, the shrimp is cooked like a dream, and it tastes bright.

Also, if you go hungry you can get some of the best homemade dumplings in the area. Since most jjajang joints are focused on the fast food nature of the business, their dumplings are straight from the freezer. Great for the bottom line but not particularly delicious. These dumplings are handmade and filled with flavor.

Despite the fact this place isn't particularly beautiful and it's located in a factory that's awkward to get to - it's still totally worth it.

You can find this restaurant in the South of Seoul App.

(We chose to keep the address information and WAZE information in the app. This is done in order to make sure that information is current and only needs updated in one place when it changes. The South of Seoul App can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple App Store. We do not do this to be annoying. We do this for accuracy.)

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