One of the most popular noodle dishes out here is jajangmyeon (자장면), which is basically noodles covered with a black bean sauce. It actually tastes better than it sounds. You may also have tried this dish during “Black Day’ (April 14th), an amusing concept where singles go out to eat jajangmyeon because they are depressed. Sounds like a great opportunity for some speed dating. In any case, this particular dish is very cheap, typically running around 3-5,000 won at most places. Jajangmyun is available in different styles as well. For any of you interested in authentic Chinese noodles, there’s a pretty good place in Sinchon called Wan Chai so check that out if you’re in the area.
If you pop in any “Chinese restaurant,” you will also run into a dish called (짬뽕) jjambong as well. It’s basically a spicy seafood soup with noodles, and for those of you daring adventurers there’s a well-known place in Korea that is so spicy you’ll probably spend the next day curled up in the fetal position in a dark crevice. Check out where to go with the 7 Spiciest Foods in Seoul.
Tip: If you’re a big eater or you’re extra hungry, a term that may be worthwhile to remember is gobbaegi (곱빼기). This will just about double the portion for a small fee more. However, not all places offer this so keep that in mind. (Usually available for both jajangmyeon and jjamppong.)
Jjolmyeon is the unplanned child of naengmyeon that we all adore. A naengmyeon factory in Incheon made the noodles too big, and instead of throwing them out, they were given to a Korean fast-food joint (분식점, bunsikjeom). Delicious noodles were born, and the unplanned pregnancy of this youngest noodle sibling is one we never regret :). One of the more distinguishing ingredients found in (쫄면) jjolmyeon is the abundance of bean sprouts and sesame seeds for seasoning. Many people also add (고추장) gochujang, which is like Korea’s equivalent of Sriracha sauce (it’s everywhere and can be used with just about anything). This dish can be served cold or hot, but it is preferable to serve it in a cold, just like naengmyun.
Last but certainly not least, we have (라면) ramyeon. I mean Shin (!), this is not the delicious bowl of there). Instead this is instant food goodness that all Koreans have a special place in their stomach for. Shin ramyeon is probably the undisputed king and is an essential staple of many Korean diets. Best of all, a pack of carb packed goodness will set you back less than 1,000 won. Sorry, but those stores that charge 3,500 won are not as good of a deal as you may have thought. It works well as a hangover food (along with these other Korean hangover cures), and if you ever head to the pensions or on an MT chances are the back of the car is filled with this Korean goodie.
What are your favorite Korean-style noodles? Leave a comment and let us know!