Are you team black or team red? Jajangmyeon vs Jjampong!
One of the number one cuisines in Korea is Korean-Chinese food, and two signature dishes are jajangmyeon (자장면 or also spelled 짜장면), and jjampong (짬뽕)! Asking which you prefer, whether you are a jajangmyeon or jjampong fan is probably one of the most common questions you would get, along with, do you want to order your fried chicken plain or with sauce?
Jajangmyeon is eaten in many dramas and Korean movies, and they also make it look so delicious! A noodle dish topped with thick black sauce, diced park and sometimes seafood, it is a distant cousin to “zhajiangmian”, a Chinese noodle dish that was adopted in Korea to fit the Korean taste. Although the pronounciation of the name is nearly identical, the Korean counterpart uses Korean blackbean sauce and also includes caramel and onions to provide a sweeter flavor.
There are also many subtle variables of a jajangmyeon dish you should be aware of!
Have you noticed sometimes they serve jajangmyeon with the sauce on top of the noodles, and sometimes separate? That is because it is actually a different dish!
Called Gan-jajangmyeon (간자장면) the jajang sauce does not contain any starch and it is served separately. Additionally there is also Samseon Jajangmyeon (삼선, don’t get it confused with 삼성 for Samsung!) which also uses seafood inside their sauce.
Team Red: Jjampong!
Jjampong is the other side of the coin! Although it is a Korean-Chinese dish, the name actually comes from a Japanese word for “mix”, and the dish is rumored to actually have been created in Nagasaki, Japan by Chinese immigrants. (Which is why you may have head of “Nagasaki Jjampong”, which tastes different to our delicious Jjampong!)
A addictive and delicious mix of noodles, seafood, vegetables in a spicy soup, in some places they even have Jjampong in a clear white broth- which is still spicy, so be careful!
What about Team “Jjam-Jja?!”
If you are like me and you cannot make up your mind, or think they taste even more amazing TOGETHER, most Korean-Chinese restaurants have come up with an ingenious solution- Jjam-Jja-myeon! Combining the characters of the two words, you get one bowl with both dishes!
(Although why is Jjam first?)
So are you team black? Or team red? Or do you prefer being a peacekeeper (ie: glutton) and enjoying both, like us?
Not hungry? Or can’t make up your mind? Check out this amazing clip from a Korean drama where they make Jjajangmyeon look so tasty!
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